Grow-NY to accept applications for 2021 contest
The application window for the 2021 Grow-NY business competition is now open and is accepting submissions, Empire State Development officials say.
Grow-NY focuses on enhancing the emerging food and agriculture innovation cluster currently present in Central New York, the Finger Lakes and the Southern Tier regions of New York state. The transformative competition attracts high-growth food and agriculture startups from around the world and across the state where they will compete for a combined total of $3 million in prize money.
Applications will be accepted through July 15, 2021. From the applications submitted, up to 20 finalists will be selected. ESD is funding the competition through Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Upstate Revitalization Initiative connected with the three regions— CNY Rising, Finger Lakes Forward and Southern Tier Soaring. The competition is administered by Cornell University through its Center for Regional Economic Advancement.
The startup competition begins its third year with momentum, having garnered more than 460 applications from businesses originating in 32 unique states and 37 other countries over the last two years. In all, 37 finalists have been selected to date, with 14 winners sharing in $6 million in start-up funding as well as the invaluable mentorship and networking benefits which Grow-NY delivers to finalists across its 22-county area.
“This third round of Grow-NY will build on the success of prior competition winners whose entrepreneurial spirit is fueling economic growth,” said Eric Gertler, acting commissioner and president and CEO of ESD. “These innovative companies have attracted significant investment, including $11 million in follow-on funding from successful Series A rounds and National Science Foundation grants, that in turn is helping to lay a foundation for even more opportunities throughout the Grow-NY region and around the world.”
Winners are required to contribute to a thriving Upstate economy in the Grow-NY region through innovation, job creation and industry ecosystem development and commit to operating in at least one of the 22 Grow-NY counties for at least 12 months. One finalist will receive a top prize of $1 million; two others will be awarded $500,000 prizes, and four more will be given $250,000 prizes. Winners will also receive tax incentives and publicity support to announce their achievements across the Grow-NY region and in their home regions.
In September, up to 20 finalists will be assigned mentors and enter the business development phase. All finalists will receive bespoke entrepreneurial support and valuable regional introductions, additional training to hone their live pitches, and barring travel restrictions, will join an expenses-paid, three-day business development trip to the region for up to two team members. The finalists will then present their business plans during the Grow-NY Summit, Nov. 16- 17, which will be a hybrid (in-person and virtual) event broadcast live from Syracuse.