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Resources for New York State Manufacturing & Technology Start-Ups

New York provides a rich environment for manufacturing and technology start-ups to develop new products, bring them to market, and scale their operations. From competitions and grants to incubators, accelerators, and investment opportunities, organizations across the state support technology entrepreneurs on their path to success.

This is an abbreviated list of resources for New York State manufacturing and technology entrepreneurs that FuzeHub has found to be valuable.

Where to Begin

Through the Entrepreneurship Navigator, Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology & Innovation provides customized services and streamlined access to programs to help incubate entrepreneurs, with an emphasis on minority and women founders.

The Navigator, with its dedicated staff, helps curate growth plans for startups, connect founders to available resources, and organize pitch events. Furthermore, each entrepreneur has access to a helpdesk that will provide a concierge level of day-to-day support. Sessions are held for startups/entrepreneurs to work closely (virtually or in person) with representatives from Empire State Development Division of Science, Technology & Innovation (NYSTAR) and/or other appropriate New York State-based innovation assets. Participating entrepreneurs gain streamlined access to a network of over 70 centers that support businesses in a variety of ways, including business planning, incubation, prototyping and design support, manufacturing assistance, validation, and research and development. Services support companies at any stage of development from concept through maturity.

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For manufacturers seeking solutions to particular challenges, FuzeHub can help you navigate the complex network of resources and funding opportunities. Please submit a request to discuss your needs with one of our manufacturing experts.

Venture Competitions and Accelerators

New York provides a rich environment for manufacturing and technology start-ups to develop new products, bring them to market, and scale their operations. From competitions and grants to incubators, accelerators, and investment opportunities, organizations across the state support technology entrepreneurs on their path to success.

This is an abbreviated list of resources for New York State manufacturing and technology entrepreneurs that FuzeHub has found to be valuable.

As part of the Jeff Lawrence Innovation Fund, FuzeHub holds an annual Commercialization Competition. Companies throughout New York State compete to demonstrate the commercialization potential of their technology or product, with an opportunity to win up to $50,000.

The FuzeHub commercialization competition is intended to help small and medium (SME) size manufacturing and technology companies further develop their prototype in an effort to pursue additional investment and customers as well as strengthen their “go-to-market” strategies, as they move from new product/production method to marketplace. The Commercialization Competition is supported by Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR).

The Navigator, with its dedicated staff, helps curate growth plans for startups, connect founders to available resources, and organize pitch events. Furthermore, each entrepreneur has access to a helpdesk that will provide a concierge level of day-to-day support. Sessions are held for startups/entrepreneurs to work closely (virtually or in person) with representatives from Empire State Development Division of Science, Technology & Innovation (NYSTAR) and/or other appropriate New York State-based innovation assets. Participating entrepreneurs gain streamlined access to a network of over 70 centers that support businesses in a variety of ways, including business planning, incubation, prototyping and design support, manufacturing assistance, validation, and research and development. Services support companies at any stage of development from concept through maturity.

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GENIUS NY is the world’s largest business accelerator competition for uncrewed systems, IoT and robotics start-ups. Five winners are selected for the GENIUS NY accelerator each year. Winners receive a large investment; one grand prize winner receives $1 million, followed by four $500,000 investments to the remaining teams. ​Winners also receive funding in the form of a monthly stipend in Phase I, free office space and amenities, workshops and events, business training, a dedicated group of executive advisors, industry mentors, and recruiting, marketing, and fundraising support.

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Luminate, a program of Rochester-based NextCorps, is the world’s largest business accelerator for optics, photonics, and imaging (OPI) start-ups. Luminate awards $3M annually to 10 companies from around the world that are developing emerging solutions in almost every industry. Companies receive a $100,000 investment upon acceptance, with an additional $2,000,000 available to the best companies per cohort. Luminate provides access to its extensive network of domain experts, corporate sponsors, and investors, as well as advice, coaching, and mentoring from industry leaders and the Luminate staff.

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43North is an accelerator that hosts an annual start-up competition, investing $5M per year to attract and retain high-growth companies in Buffalo. Each year, 43North invests $5 million into eight start-ups, offering founders a chance to secure up to $1 million in funding, and gain access to a host of support services – from mentorship to connections to investors, and inroads to customers.

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76West is an unparalleled competition focused on growing entrepreneurs and attracting resources from the U.S. and around the world to build clean energy businesses and jobs in New York State’s Southern Tier region. The Competition supports technological and other innovation initiatives to meet New York State’s climate and decarbonization goals. 76West is designed to help clean energy technology start-ups develop in the region, secure early users for their technologies, as well as further develop the community of clean tech innovators, industry experts, educators, and investors.

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The HUSTLE Defense Accelerator, a program of the Griffiss Institute, is an elite and immersive accelerator for seed stage tech start-ups pushing artificial intelligence, machine learning, cyber, quantum, and UAS solutions with dual-use potential and the drive to elevate the United States’ national security and economic competitiveness. Applicants compete for $300,000 in seed funding to grow their companies in the Mohawk Valley. HUSTLE cohorts are provided a unique opportunity to learn knowledge and skills to develop, market and grow their businesses and a special track focused on how to successfully work with the Department of Defense (DoD) and other government agencies. The program is held at the Innovare Advancement Center in Rome, NY.

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Grow-NY is a business competition focused on growing an enduring food and agriculture innovation cluster Central New York, the Finger Lakes, and the Southern Tier. The competition attracts innovative, high-growth food and agriculture start-ups from across the globe and engages them in the region’s rapidly-growing start-up ecosystem. Up to 20 finalists are matched with experienced mentors and receive customized business development trips to the region. $3 million is awarded each year to seven start-ups, with the top prize being $1 million. Winning companies are required to execute bold plans to grow jobs, connect with local industry partners, and contribute to a thriving Upstate economy.

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The NYBPC is New York’s intercollegiate entrepreneurship competition that, since 2010, has provided a platform for training New York’s next generation of entrepreneurs and launched new ventures, commercializing innovations developed on college campuses across New York. Teams from colleges and universities across New York State participate in a pitch competition to win cash prizes.

The regional semifinals are hosted by local partner colleges and universities generally in March. The top two teams from six different industry/vertical tracks in each region are invited to compete in the statewide competition. The winners at all levels of the competition are selected by esteemed judges, including venture capitalists, angel investors, investment bankers, experienced entrepreneurs, and leaders from the business community.

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Supported by NYSERDA and administered by NextCorps (Upstate) and SecondMuse (Downstate), Venture for ClimateTech is a venture studio and accelerator program offers hands-on support until start-ups are ready for first customers, pilot runs, and investment. The annual cohort-based virtual program includes an opportunity for up to $100,000 in non-dilutive funding.

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A NYSERDA-funded first-of-its-kind battery accelerator program at Binghamton University, empowerST provides salary and R&D funding alongside entrepreneurship training, startup company support, and access to the fast-growing regional battery cluster for nascent entrepreneurs wanting to commercialize novel battery technologies. Fellows work as part of the NorthEast Center for Chemical Energy Storage and receive strategic commercialization support from the Southern Tier Clean Energy Incubator program to maximize the business potential of their technologies.

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High-Tech Incubators

Empire State Development has designated 10 Innovation Hot Spots and 20 Certified Business Incubators that provide a network of support across the state for manufacturing start-ups and beyond. They offer resources including physical space, shared administrative staff, access to capital, coaching and mentoring, networking, and assistance with product development. Companies associated with an Innovation Hot Spot can receive certain tax benefits.

Click here to learn more about these incubators and their services.

Additionally, NYSERDA administers six clean energy business incubators across the state. And the Business Incubator Association of New York State’s (BIANYS) membership includes additional incubators.

JLABS @ NYC was launched as an initiative between Johnson & Johnson Innovation LLC, New York State, and the New York Genome Center (NYGC). The 30,000-square foot facility lays the groundwork for early-stage companies by enabling and empowering the best innovators in life science and biotech with a no-strings-attached business model.

This is an abbreviated list of resources for New York State manufacturing and technology entrepreneurs that FuzeHub has found to be valuable.

Grants

As part of the Jeff Lawrence Innovation Fund, FuzeHub offers Manufacturing Grants to facilitate research and development, industrial innovations, and creative solutions for New York State manufacturers. Manufactures have the opportunity to collaborate on grant proposals with universities, colleges, economic development organizations, and other not-for-profits such as Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers.

Project categories cover adoption of new technology to enhance a process and/or product, prototype development, design for manufacturing, proof-of-concept manufacturing, certain equipment purchases, manufacturing scale-up, and other projects to advance manufacturing capabilities. The not-for-profit partner serves as the applicant, with awards of up to $50,000. Applications are accepted on a bi-annual basis, with additional competitions sometimes offered throughout the year.

The FuzeHub commercialization competition is intended to help small and medium (SME) size manufacturing and technology companies further develop their prototype in an effort to pursue additional investment and customers as well as strengthen their “go-to-market” strategies, as they move from new product/production method to marketplace. The Commercialization Competition is supported by Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR).

The Navigator, with its dedicated staff, helps curate growth plans for startups, connect founders to available resources, and organize pitch events. Furthermore, each entrepreneur has access to a helpdesk that will provide a concierge level of day-to-day support. Sessions are held for startups/entrepreneurs to work closely (virtually or in person) with representatives from Empire State Development Division of Science, Technology & Innovation (NYSTAR) and/or other appropriate New York State-based innovation assets. Participating entrepreneurs gain streamlined access to a network of over 70 centers that support businesses in a variety of ways, including business planning, incubation, prototyping and design support, manufacturing assistance, validation, and research and development. Services support companies at any stage of development from concept through maturity.

Learn more >>

Through collaborations with Cornell experts and with matching funds from New York State, the JumpStart program helps New York State small businesses solve identifiable problems related to materials. The award program provides: a semester-long project that utilizes Cornell University resources; up to $5,000 in matching NYSTAR funding; and an opportunity to build a relationship with university faculty and staff.

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NYSP2I is a statewide research and technology transfer center funded by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), which is partnered with and located at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Its work with start-ups is primarily in research and development projects that promote sustainability through assessments of product designs; evaluation of alternative materials and process engineering; optimization of existing environmental technologies; and development of new green chemistry products and technologies. NYSP2I uses New York State grant funding to substantially cover the costs of many services for manufacturers.

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CenterState CEO and the affiliated Tech Garden offer a variety of grants and initiatives supporting start-ups in the Central New York region, including the Grants for Growth program.

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Seed & Venture Funding

New York Ventures partners with diverse teams that are using technology to solve important challenges in areas of strategic interest and importance. NY Ventures actively deploys capital from a $100 million direct investment fund, primarily to seed and Series A rounds, investing alongside a lead institutional or strategic investor. Initial investments typically range from $500k to $1.5 million, and require a 2:1 match.

ESD also manages three fully deployed legacy funds, including nine partner funds, that invested in seed and early-stage companies across the state.

The FuzeHub commercialization competition is intended to help small and medium (SME) size manufacturing and technology companies further develop their prototype in an effort to pursue additional investment and customers as well as strengthen their “go-to-market” strategies, as they move from new product/production method to marketplace. The Commercialization Competition is supported by Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR).

The Navigator, with its dedicated staff, helps curate growth plans for startups, connect founders to available resources, and organize pitch events. Furthermore, each entrepreneur has access to a helpdesk that will provide a concierge level of day-to-day support. Sessions are held for startups/entrepreneurs to work closely (virtually or in person) with representatives from Empire State Development Division of Science, Technology & Innovation (NYSTAR) and/or other appropriate New York State-based innovation assets. Participating entrepreneurs gain streamlined access to a network of over 70 centers that support businesses in a variety of ways, including business planning, incubation, prototyping and design support, manufacturing assistance, validation, and research and development. Services support companies at any stage of development from concept through maturity.

Learn more >>

The Innovation Technology Commercialization Fund is an $8 million pool of capital focused on pre-seed stage companies across New York State. The Innovation TC Fund operates through a fund-of-funds structure to provide critical pre-seed funding to incentivize commercialization and new business formation, facilitating the transition of ideas and research into marketable products. Four investment entities were competitively selected to manage the fund’s activities. The Innovation TC Fund investment entities will make investments of up to $100,000 per eligible company, and all require at least a 1:1 match from private sector funding sources at the time of investment.

The investment entities and their respective targeted regions are listed below.

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The NY Green Bank invests in a wide range of climate change-mitigating solutions, from building efficiency to grid-scale energy storage to clean transportation. It works with private sector project developers, financiers, energy service companies, and others to advance clean energy projects across the state. They offer structured wholesale financial products and solutions, and focus on investments using the same technologies that drive carbon reduction and other public benefits contemplated under New York State clean energy policies.

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Launch New York, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) venture development organization that operates in the 27 westernmost counties of Upstate New York. It provides mentoring and funding for Upstate New York start-ups, equipping them with vital guidance, connections to expert resources, and the funding needed to demonstrate proof of concept of the products and processes. The Launch NY Seed Fund provides $25,000 to $100,000 to support proof-of-concept activities that help start-ups become ready for investment capital from Launch NY and others. 

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Upstate Capital facilitates connections between capital providers, companies and transaction professionals across the state. Its programs and services connect start-ups to the private equity and M&A deal-making community and serves as a gateway to the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

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UVC has collaborated with entrepreneur leaders to grow a super-regional network of high growth founders and community supporters across Upstate NY. This network is led by UNY50 Leaders who give first by helping the next generation of founders. UVC’s annual Upstate Unleashed Conference showcases the most promising founders and recognizes those building the UNY startup ecosystem.

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The Tech Garden, part of CenterState CEO, offers Central New York-based start-ups with seed and pre-seed funding.

The regional semifinals are hosted by local partner colleges and universities generally in March. The top two teams from six different industry/vertical tracks in each region are invited to compete in the statewide competition. The winners at all levels of the competition are selected by esteemed judges, including venture capitalists, angel investors, investment bankers, experienced entrepreneurs, and leaders from the business community.

Learn more >>

A variety of local and regional venture funds invest in technology-based start-ups throughout the state. Upstate companies should explore these networks by engaging with the Upstate Capital Association of New York or Upstate Venture Connect.

Other Targeted NYS Resources

This NYSTAR-supported center at Syracuse University College of Law is dedicated to providing legal research, education, and information to help commercialize new technologies from lab to market. NYSSTLC’s diverse, experienced, and highly educated team of faculty, students, and staff focus on intellectual property assessment, patent protection, market landscaping, and other commercialization matters for companies of all types and industries.

The FuzeHub commercialization competition is intended to help small and medium (SME) size manufacturing and technology companies further develop their prototype in an effort to pursue additional investment and customers as well as strengthen their “go-to-market” strategies, as they move from new product/production method to marketplace. The Commercialization Competition is supported by Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR).

The Navigator, with its dedicated staff, helps curate growth plans for startups, connect founders to available resources, and organize pitch events. Furthermore, each entrepreneur has access to a helpdesk that will provide a concierge level of day-to-day support. Sessions are held for startups/entrepreneurs to work closely (virtually or in person) with representatives from Empire State Development Division of Science, Technology & Innovation (NYSTAR) and/or other appropriate New York State-based innovation assets. Participating entrepreneurs gain streamlined access to a network of over 70 centers that support businesses in a variety of ways, including business planning, incubation, prototyping and design support, manufacturing assistance, validation, and research and development. Services support companies at any stage of development from concept through maturity.

Learn more >>

The New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NY MEP) is a network of organizations that provide growth and innovation services to small and mid-sized manufacturers in every corner of the state to help them create and retain jobs, increase profits, and save time and money. NY MEP is administered by Empire State Development, New York’s economic development agency, and is part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

NY MEP provides a variety of services geared toward start-ups, including assistance with product development, prototyping, supplier identification, manufacturing scale-up, and various entrepreneurial support.

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Formerly known as the M-Corps program, Scale for ClimateTech is supported by NYSERDA and administered by NextCorps (Upstate) and SecondMuse (Downstate). The program offers project funding to climate tech hardware innovators who are ready to manufacture and are looking to make an impact in New York State. Scale for ClimateTech provides technical support throughout the manufacturing process so that founders have confidence in their path to market, make fewer mistakes, and are able to scale up production to meet demand. From early design for manufacturing (DFM) and prototype refinement, to negotiating partner and supplier agreements and managing logistics, Scale For ClimateTech is dedicated to helping start-ups navigate time-sensitive, critical decisions throughout the full manufacturing process.

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The New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) administers a variety of funding programs designed to advance clean energy goals across the state, through Program Opportunity Notices (PONs), Requests for Proposals (RFP)s, and other mechanisms. Programs described at the link above include funding opportunities for the development of innovation transportation technologies, smart building technologies, environmental monitoring tools, microgrid solutions, and other areas of focus.

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Many NYSTAR-supported Centers for Advanced Technology, Centers of Excellence, Manufacturing Extension Partnership Centers, Innovation Hot Spots, and Certified Business Incubators offer programs, initiatives, and funding opportunities specific to manufacturing and technology start-up companies. Find links to individual centers here.

Federal Programs

The National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps™) program uses experiential education to help researchers gain valuable insight into entrepreneurship, starting a business or industry requirements and challenges. The curriculum integrates scientific inquiry and industrial discovery in an inclusive, data-driven culture driven by rigor, relevance, and evidence. Through I-Corps training, researchers can reduce the time to translate a promising idea from the laboratory to the marketplace.

Participation in I-Corps is increasingly a requirement of federal agencies awarding Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards, and a proven process for effective customer discovery. The training program is available at multiple universities across the state, including the CUNY I-Corps Site at the New York City Regional Innovation Node.

The FuzeHub commercialization competition is intended to help small and medium (SME) size manufacturing and technology companies further develop their prototype in an effort to pursue additional investment and customers as well as strengthen their “go-to-market” strategies, as they move from new product/production method to marketplace. The Commercialization Competition is supported by Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR).

The Navigator, with its dedicated staff, helps curate growth plans for startups, connect founders to available resources, and organize pitch events. Furthermore, each entrepreneur has access to a helpdesk that will provide a concierge level of day-to-day support. Sessions are held for startups/entrepreneurs to work closely (virtually or in person) with representatives from Empire State Development Division of Science, Technology & Innovation (NYSTAR) and/or other appropriate New York State-based innovation assets. Participating entrepreneurs gain streamlined access to a network of over 70 centers that support businesses in a variety of ways, including business planning, incubation, prototyping and design support, manufacturing assistance, validation, and research and development. Services support companies at any stage of development from concept through maturity.

The U.S. government is one of the largest sources of early-stage technology financing. Congress requires federal agencies with large research budgets to allocate about $2.5 billion annually in grants to small companies to undertake R&D for products and services that have the potential for commercialization. This is known as the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, along with its sister Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. 

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The National Security Innovation Network (NSIN) brings together defense, academic, and entrepreneurial innovators to solve national security problems in new ways. Start-ups with defense-focused innovations have opportunities to collaboratively develop solutions to Department of Defense challenges or to join one of NSIN’s accelerator programs (the Propel accelerator is in New York State). NSIN’s Mid-Atlantic regional office is in New York City.

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Challenge.gov is the clearinghouse for “challenges” in which entrepreneurs can participate to help solve U.S. government challenges. A variety of federal agencies use these prize competitions to advance their missions. According to the website, “More recently, challenges have produced concepts for the next ‘lunar loo’ (space toilet), an improved digital wallet user interface, protecting fish from water infrastructure, opioid detection in international mail, and ‘getting out the count’ for the census.”

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The xTech Program manages the Army’s prize competitions to award and accelerate innovative technology solutions that can help solve Army challenges. And the xTechSearch competition engages the non-defense business sector and start-up technology companies, with the Army Science and Technology ecosystem to leverage cutting edge technologies.

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The SBA maintains a vast array of programs supporting small businesses and start-ups. Its website hosts guides for creating business plans and other essentials, and its network of Small Business Development Centers and Community Navigators can help your company access programs to start and grow your business.

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