The Jeff Lawrence Innovation Fund supports a set of activities designed to spur technology development and commercialization across New York State. The Fund, one of the grants for manufacturing competitiveness, was launched in December 2016 and is named for Jeff Lawrence, a champion of the New York manufacturing and entrepreneurial communities. The Innovation Fund comprises three program tracks: Manufacturing Grants; Commercialization Competition; and when funding permits, an Innovation Challenge.
The Innovation Fund provides over $1M annual allocation of direct assistance to the manufacturing, research and development, technology and entrepreneurial ecosystems.
To date, the Fund has awarded $7.7 million in funding to support collaborative projects throughout manufacturing.
Recent grant updates
- The 2023 Commercialization Competition application period is now closed. Finalists will be notified in early October.
- 2023 Manufacturing Grants Round 2 is now closed. Watch the video announcement of awardees here.
Impact on the NYS Economy
The Commercialization Competition is held yearly, and the program provides awards of up to $150,000. The Competition is intended to help startup manufacturing and technology companies further develop their prototype, and bring their new product or production method to the marketplace. Both applicants and awardees report increased investments, new customers, and a stronger “go-to-market” strategy as a consequence of taking part in the Competition.
The Manufacturing Grants are designed to encourage collaboration between not-for-profit organizations and small to medium-sized manufacturing companies in New York State. The grants help companies achieve success from early stage, proof of concept through maturity. The partnership with the not-for-profit organization serves as a pathway to technology transfer, adoption and implementation of new manufacturing processes, and enhanced products and services.
The Innovation Challenge goal is to support technology development and deployment in specific manufacturing industries, based on current market needs at the time of the challenge. The Challenge is an intermittent track, and opportunities are typically developed and launched quickly. Award amounts and number of awardees per round may vary, as well as the requirement to work with a not-for-profit organization or not.
Jeff Lawrence Innovation Fund History
The Fund was launched in December 2016 and is named for Jeff Lawrence, a champion of the New York manufacturing and entrepreneurial communities, who passed away in 2015.
During his more than 20 years at the Center for Economic Growth, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership affiliate in the Capital Region where he served as executive vice president, Jeff 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.