FuzeHub Announces First Round of Manufacturing Grants Awards For 2024

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Round 1 Manufacturing Grants Announcement 2024

Susan Bardack
Phone: (518) 867-7940

Patty Rechberger/FuzeHub

Empire State Development Supported Manufacturing Grants program awards $455,000 in grants to facilitate research and development, technical advancements, and process improvements for New York State manufacturers.


Watch the announcement here.

(Albany, NY – April 22, 2024) — FuzeHub, a not-for-profit organization providing small to medium-sized manufacturers with guided access to an extensive network of industry experts, programs, and resources to solve business growth challenges, recently awarded seven collaborative projects through its Jeff Lawrence Innovation Fund.

The Innovation Fund, consisting of more than $1 million annually, supports a set of activities designed to spur technology development and commercialization across New York State and is made possible through funding and support from Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR) and the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA).

As part of the Fund, FuzeHub offers Manufacturing Grants to New York State not-for-profit organizations, including higher education institutions, that propose innovative projects in partnership with a New York State small to medium-sized manufacturer. 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.

In addition, the Innovation Fund is used to provide assistance to early-stage companies through FuzeHub’s annual Commercialization Competition, which takes place in the fall.

“Startups are at the heart of a strong and resilient economy, and this latest round of grant awardees represents some of the most promising innovative companies in New York State. By funding their projects, we are not only nurturing innovation and entrepreneurship, but also paving the way for sustained growth, job creation and a thriving business landscape for all communities throughout the state.”

– Ben Verschueren, NYSTAR Executive Director

“This round of awardees showcases a sample of the endless innovation coming out of New York State. From artificial intelligence and machine learning, to wellness and the treatment of chronic ailments, there is no limit to the ingenuity of our companies. I take pride in our commitment to support them through essential funding and support services.”

– Elena Garuc, Executive Director at FuzeHub

FuzeHub is pleased to announce the grantees:

Tech Valley Center of Gravity/ Uncaged Innovations Inc.
$65,000 (Capital Region/ Mid-Hudson)

Bringing Leather Production Back to New York with Sustainable Innovation

Uncaged Innovations is a biomaterials company turning grain byproducts into sustainable leather alternatives. By diverting grains fed to cattle directly into leather, they simply skip the cow. Their BioLeather is crafted for fashion, automotive, and interior decor.  With these grant funds, Uncaged is gearing up their material finishing techniques, catering to the diverse aesthetics demanded by designers. Get ready for a journey of innovation and style like never before!


Rochester Institute of Technology, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Kate Gleason College of Engineering/ Layer Metrics Inc.
(Finger Lakes)

Integrating real-time in-situ monitoring and control in metal additive manufacturing

Pushing the boundary of high-quality metal additive manufacturing (AM) systems requires multidisciplinary investigations spanning thermal, mechanical, and optical domains. Challenge lies in acquiring real-time data to investigate the phenomena underlying metal AM processes. The objective of this project is to obtain real-time data of metal AM process and develop AI-based models for in-situ process monitoring and control. Jeff Lawrence Innovation Fund supports the partnership between RIT and Layer Metrics, and shedding light on the entrepreneurial success of a women-owned technology business.


The Research Foundation for SUNY at Binghamton University, Center for Advanced Microelectronics Manufacturing (CAMM)/ Natrion Inc.
(Southern Tier)

Continuous Production Process Scale-Up of LISIC Solid-State Electrolyte Separator for Advanced Rechargeable Batteries       

Natrion Inc., a Binghamton, NY-based battery technology company, is partnering with the Binghamton University Center for Advanced Microelectronics Manufacturing (CAMM) to scale production of Natrion’s LISIC component for rechargeable lithium batteries. LISIC is used in solid-state batteries that possess zero fire safety risks, faster charging, and more energy density. With the help of CAMM facilities and expertise, Natrion is pioneering advanced low-cost, high-yield manufacturing processes with which the company will be able to service the growing mass-market electric vehicle battery sector.


CNYTDO/ Floe Inc.
$65,000 (Central NY/ NYC)

Floe-C Product Development

TDO, a Syracuse-based MEP center, has partnered with Floe Inc., an MIT/Yale startup that has developed the smart, cost-effective, and eco-friendly solution to tackle the $11B US ice dam market. Compared to the unsafe, expensive, and energy-intensive existing solutions, Floe reduces both operating costs and carbon emissions by >40% and >99%, respectively. This project provides critical funding to advance Floe’s development through improving design for manufacturability, adding Wi-Fi compatibility, conducting engineering validation testing, and obtaining key safety certifications.


Wellness Research Agency (ImportantGifts, Inc.)/ Topical BioMedics Inc. (Topricin)/ Old Ways Indigenous Medicinals (Demode Vogue)/ Jayne Street Distillery (Jayne Street Family LLC)
$65,000 (Mid-Hudson)

Wellness Research Agency       

The word “wellness” is now overused, but was coined in the 1950s by a leading public official, Dr. Halbert Dunn, as a holistic, patient-focused way to reorient healthcare to address growing epidemics in chronic, mental, and spiritual ailments. The Wellness Research Agency (WRA) provides better research, information, and expertise on wellness, including holistic, natural, and traditional medicines like homeopathy. WRA has now partnered with FuzeHub and 3 New York manufacturers —Topricin, Old Ways Indigenous Medicinals, and Jayne Street Distillery–to innovate new wellness products.


Cornell University, Praxis Center for Venture Development/ REEgen Inc.
$65,000 (Southern Tier)

Prototyping the final step in clean, climate-smart, biological manufacturing of rare earth elements in Upstate NY      

REEgen Inc. is a start-up spun out of Cornell University that aims to develop a clean, sustainable rare earth manufacturing facility in Upstate NY. The company receives support as a client in the Praxis Center for Venture Development on Cornell’s Ithaca campus. Rare earth elements are critical for sustainable energy infrastructure, but under serious supply chain risk. REEgen’s clean rare earth manufacturing uses natural, bacterial processes engineered for commercial success, and the company promotes circularity by recovering the elements from a variety of waste and end-of-life consumer goods.


Downstate Technology Center, Inc./ ChemFinity Technologies, Inc.
$65,000 (NYC)

Manufacturing design of sorbent beads that produce metals from waste        

Critical metals such as copper and platinum are essential components in many clean energy technologies, including electric vehicles and wind turbines. However, 80% of the U.S. critical metal supply is sourced internationally, originating mainly from mining operations that damage the environment. ChemFinity Technologies, a minority-owned startup in the Downstate Technology Center incubator, is developing new sorbents that efficiently recover critical metals from local wastes. This award will be used to advance the manufacturing readiness and long-term stability of ChemFinity’s sorbent filters.


For more information about the Jeff Lawrence Innovation Fund, visit www.fuzehub.com/innovation-fund or contact Patty Rechberger, innovation fund manager at [email protected].

About Jeff Lawrence

During his more than 20 years at the Center for Economic Growth, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) affiliate in the Capital Region where he served as executive vice president and MEP Center Director, Jeff Lawrence directed programs of direct assistance to manufacturers and technology companies to increase their competitiveness. He is remembered for being an invaluable and generous mentor to many in the area’s business community and a tireless advocate for manufacturing innovation throughout New York.

About FuzeHub

FuzeHub is a not-for-profit organization that connects New York’s small to medium-sized manufacturing companies to the resources, programs, and expertise they need for technology commercialization, innovation, and business growth. Through our custom assessment, matching, and referral platform, we help companies navigate New York’s robust network of industry experts at Manufacturing Extension Partners centers, universities, economic development organizations, and other providers. FuzeHub is the statewide New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program (MEP) center, supported by Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology & Innovation.

For more information on FuzeHub, visit fuzehub.com.

About Empire State Development

Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency. The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing the Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of “I LOVE NY,” the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov.

About U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA)

The U.S. Economic Development Administration’s investment policy is designed to establish a foundation for sustainable job growth and the building of durable regional economies throughout the United States. This foundation builds upon two key economic drivers–innovation and regional collaboration. Innovation is key to global competitiveness, new and better jobs, a resilient economy, and the attainment of national economic goals. Regional collaboration is essential for economic recovery because regions are the centers of competition in the new global economy and those that work together to leverage resources and use their strengths to overcome weaknesses will fare better than those that do not. EDA encourages its partners around the country to develop initiatives that advance new ideas and creative approaches to address rapidly evolving economic conditions. For more information on EDA, visit www.eda.gov.


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