Startups, take note. The next installment of Cornell University and the state of New York’s Grow-NY business competition is set to take place from September to November of this year and currently taking applications, according to a press release from Cornell.
This installment is part of a larger three-year initiative that launched in 2019 with the goal of building up the food and agriculture industries in the Finger Lakes, Central New York, and Southern Tier regions of New York State. That region is already known for its abundant farmland and is home to companies like Dinosaur BBQ, Wegmans supermarkets, and the Empire Brewing Company. Winners of each Grow-NY installment are expected to create more jobs and contribute to the overall economy in the region.
While companies can be from anywhere in the world, the program site clearly states that they must be prepared to “materially locate and maintain a presence on an on-going basis within the Grow-NY Region” for at least one year.
New York’s Empire State Development organization funds Grow-NY, while Cornell’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement executes the details of the program.
The program’s website notes that “high-growth food and agriculture startups from across the globe are encouraged to enter the competition.” Up to 20 finalists will be chosen and will then enter a mentorship and business development phase. A pitch day takes place at the end of that time and the final winners are chosen. One company will receive $1 million, two will receive $500,000 each, and four get $250,000 each.
All of this, of course, depends on what happens with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. New York is currently the epicenter of the world when it comes to the novel coronavirus. Nationwide, states are telling people to stay home and events are being postponed, canceled, or moved online.
Grow-NY organizers haven’t made any mention of how the pandemic could affect the competition. Since the application process is open until mid-summer, it’s too early to say whether any in-person program activities will have to be changed, as has been the case for other startup-focused programs recently. Kathryn J. Boor, Dean of Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, noted in the press release that the Grow-NY program attracts some much-needed food and agriculture innovation to the region, which is “even more vital as we look for ways to recover from the economic effects of COVID-19.”
Applications are open through July 15, 2020.