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News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. April 13, 2023: Attention Caribbean New Yorkers and Black immigrants! The Empire State Development (ESD) has opened the application window for the fifth round of the Grow-NY food and agriculture competition.

This competition, which is funded through the Upstate Revitalization Initiatives, aims to revitalize communities and grow the economy by connecting innovators and investors in the food, beverage, and agriculture sectors globally.

This is a fantastic opportunity for global food and agriculture startups to win up to $1 million and receive business development support that connects them with the region’s resources. Winners are required to operate in at least one of the 22 Grow-NY counties for at least 12 months and agree to a “pay-it-forward” provision in the form of an equity agreement.

If you’re interested, don’t wait too long to apply – applications must be submitted by 5 p.m. ET on Thursday, June 15, and finalists will be announced in August.

In August, 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 an expenses-paid, three-day business development trip to the region for up to two team members.

The selected finalists will present their business plans during the Grow-NY Summit, Tuesday, November 14 – Wednesday, November 15 in Binghamton, New York, alongside a symposium of panel conversations and keynotes, a showcase of agencies, companies, research groups, and other organizations that serve startups working in food and ag, and a student stage where middle and high school aged New Yorkers will pitch their ag and food tech ideas. New this year, the Summit will also include a Dairy Innovation Showcase featuring participants in the Northeastern Dairy Product Innovation Competition, also currently accepting applications.

Judges will base award decisions on the following five criteria:

  • Viability of Commercialization and Business Model – the potential for the entrant to generate revenue and maintain a cost structure that allows for a competitive and sustainable business, demonstrate technological readiness, or innovate to fulfill its value proposition;
  • Team – demonstration of a level of cohesion, completeness, diversity, and readiness within the team of founders, employees, and advisors; inclusion or plans for inclusion of employees and advisors from communities that have historically been excluded from the innovation economy, such as women and minorities;
  • Customer Value – the degree to which the entrant is providing something for which customers are willing to pay, and addressing a substantial market;
  • Food and Agriculture Innovation – the extent to which the entrant is pushing what’s considered state-of-the-art in the food and agriculture industries, and contributing to Upstate NY’s status as a global leader in innovation in these markets;
  • Growth – ability to generate significant growth, as measured and assessed by employment and revenue growth and the potential for returns and liquidity for equity holders; and
  • Regional Job Creation – the potential for creating high-quality jobs in the Grow-NY footprint and relevance to the existing food and ag ecosystem.

The Grow-NY region, which hosts over 40 percent of New York’s 33,438 farms, includes an abundance of vibrant, fertile lands along with such major urban population centers as Rochester, Syracuse, Ithaca, and Binghamton. It is a 22-county region comprised of the following three areas:

Finger Lakes – Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Orleans, Ontario, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming, and Yates

Central New York – Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga, and Oswego

Southern Tier – Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga, and Tompkins

To learn more about the Grow-NY competition, visit www.grow-ny.com.

To learn more about the Cornell Center for Regional Economic Advancement, visit: http://crea.cornell.edu/.

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