Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced June 18 a new business accelerator program called Growing ENtrepreneurs & Innovators in UpState NewYork (GENIUS NY). GENIUS NY is an economic development program expected to invest more than $4 million in young technology companies over the next two years, followed by a 15-month competition phase in which competing companies stand to win prizes totaling $2 million.
“This competition uses a proven approach that also builds upon the region's natural strengths to lure technological innovators, and promising start-up ventures from around the world the opportunity to establish their businesses in Central New York,” Cuomo said in a statement. “By providing key investments and resources, we are helping the next generation of entrepreneurs transform their ideas into products and businesses and bringing new jobs and economic opportunity to the region.”
The program, which targets companies in the industries of transit, drones, big data, cybersecurity, environmental sensor networks, analytics, bio-informatics, mobile software development, gaming and simulation, advanced data-driven manufacturing, and open data, is scheduled to end by summer of 2017. At this time, six companies whittled down from an original group of 16 will compete for money prizes and continued investment. Winners will be required to operate their businesses in central New York for at least one year after that.
Economic Development company CenterState CEO, the state’s project partner, has pledged also to attempt to match startup investments by finding corporate sponsorship and angel investors.
“Through this new competition Gov. Cuomo is recognizing the important role that startups play in our regional economy,” said Robert Simpson, president of CenterState CEO. “We are proud to host this competition at The Tech Garden as it will only serve to strengthen the innovation ecosystem we have created through key investments, programs and partnerships with the private business community and regional institutions of higher education.”