By Rick Moriarty Syracuse Media Group, N.Y.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) As Rick Moriarty reports, "The competition is focused on drawing entrepreneurs and businesses with innovative ideas for new food or agricultural technology products to Central New York, the Finger Lakes and the Southern Tier regions."
Grow-NY, a state-funded food innovation and agriculture technology business competition with $3 million in annual prize money, has received applications from 199 entrepreneurs and businesses from 23 states and 16 countries for its first round.
The applicants represent North America, Europe, Central America, Africa and the Middle East, with one applicant from New Zealand, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.
Most of the international applicants are from Canada and Israel. In the U.S., 23 states were represented, with 13 submissions from Massachusetts, eight from California and five from New Jersey.
More than half of all the applications came from within New York. Thirty-two percent of all applicants are women. The deadline for submitting applications was July 15.
The competition is focused on drawing entrepreneurs and businesses with innovative ideas for new food or agricultural technology products to Central New York, the Finger Lakes and the Southern Tier regions.
The regions cover 22 counties in Upstate New York, with a mix of farmlands and major urban centers, including Binghamton, Ithaca, Rochester and Syracuse.
Modeled after other state-supported business competitions such as 43North in Buffalo, Genius NY in Syracuse, Luminate NY in Rochester and 76West in the Southern Tier, Grow-NY will run for three years.
In each round, $3 million in prize money will be awarded to seven winners, payable in stages based on business milestones.
There will be a $1 million top prize, two $500,000 prizes and four $250,000 prizes in each round.
"Internally, we had established a target of 150 applicants to consider this stage a success, so to exceed that figure by nearly one third ... makes us all excited as to the prospects for this initiative and the impact it could have on our region," said Tom Schryver, executive director of Cornell University's Center for Regional Economic Advancement, which is administrating the initiative.
A panel of judges will choose 20 finalists, who will be invited to the region and assigned mentors as they develop their business plans and prepare their business pitches.
Finalists will present their ideas and plans to a panel of judges and a live audience on Nov. 12 and 13 at the Grow-NY Food and Ag Summit at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul announced plans for Grow-NY during a visit to Syracuse in February.
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