ESD Adds Three New Business Incubators to NYSTAR Resources

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June 9, 2022

Newly Certified Business Incubators Address Needs of BIPOC Entrepreneurs, Agribusiness, Medical Technology Startups

Five Innovation Hot Spots, Six Other Business Incubators Earn Redesignation from NYSTAR

Empire State Development today announced the addition of three New York State-Certified Business Incubators to the robust network of innovation resources administered by NYSTAR, ESD’s Division of Science, Technology & Innovation. Each of the Business Incubators will have a different primary area of focus, such as lowering barriers to business entry for BIPOC entrepreneurs, cultivating new AgTech companies and technologies, and turning medical discoveries into commercial solutions.

The new state-certified Business Incubators are Communitas America, the Cornell Agriculture and Food Technology Park and Mount Sinai Innovation Partners. NYSTAR also redesignated five Innovation Hot Spots and six other Business Incubators that were already within its innovation network. Administered and overseen by NYSTAR, the state’s Business Incubator & Innovation Hot Spot Support Program provides operating grants to the centers throughout their five-year designations. The three newly designated centers will receive a total of $1.875 million in operating grants.

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “From the beginning of an idea to the marketplace, New York supports startup innovation and inclusion through its NYSTAR network. As NYSTAR’s newest business incubators, Communitas America, the Cornell Agriculture and Food Technology Park and Mount Sinai Innovation Partners will foster the diversity and growth of BIPOC entrepreneurs, agribusiness and medical technology startups, and add to the robust resources available to support their success.”

“Our network of Business Incubators and Innovation Hot Spots have accelerated the expansion of our state’s technology and innovation ecosystem by reaching more entrepreneurs and engaging more local collaborators and resources,” said NYSTAR Senior Vice President Matt Watson. “They provide ground-level services that make a dramatic difference in helping startups and early-stage firms take important next steps in their development. It has created a culture of innovation that connects communities across the state – generating inclusive growth, expanding access to opportunities and contributing to New York State’s economic competitiveness.”

The state-certified Business Incubators accelerate the development of early-stage companies through an array of support resources and services specifically designed to meet the needs of startup companies. Innovation Hot Spots also coordinate regional entrepreneurial ecosystems and can offer support and incentives to local businesses.

About $12.1 million in state funding from the Business Incubator & Innovation Hot Spot Support Program was awarded to the 14 newly designated and redesignated programs across the state as part of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative.

The three newly designated incubators focus on a variety of challenges facing businesses and entrepreneurs across the state and in various industries:

Communitas America cultivates a growing community of BIPOC and women entrepreneurs igniting social changes in underserved areas of New York City, such as the Bronx and Harlem. Its cohort-based Communitas Ventures Accelerator program equips early-stage entrepreneurs with the resources necessary to develop, sustain and scale their businesses, including weekly learning sessions, networking and funding. Heyground Harlem, the organization’s upcoming incubator, will be a community-driven space that furthers connections, mentorships and partnerships to increase access and opportunity.

The Cornell Agriculture and Food Technology Park operates a 20,000-square foot incubator facility in Geneva, N.Y., providing office, manufacturing, and laboratory space to startups and emerging companies in agribusiness industries. The Tech Farm, the park’s dynamic incubator, will partner with the Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture at Cornell AgriTech to better coordinate, market and deliver its wide variety of services and provide access to facilities to support companies and new technologies in the ag and food industry.

New York’s medical technology startups can grow through Mount Sinai’s robust healthcare innovation ecosystem. Mount Sinai Innovation Partners, the commercialization arm of the Mount Sinai Health System, provides comprehensive support to turn scientific discoveries from the system into commercially viable businesses. It assists early-stage companies with knowledge, mentorship, intellectual property protection and network resources to raise capital and find partners. Through Elementa Labs, external startups are matched with mentors and champions (subject matter experts) to bolster the startup’s understanding of customer needs, helping advance their products to the next level. Mount Sinai Innovation Partners plays a crucial role in growing the life sciences industry in New York City and across the state.

Now part of NYSTAR’s statewide network of innovation resources, the three Business Incubators will receive state funding as well as administrative support and assistance.

The five Innovation Hot Spots that earned redesignation have delivered significant impacts for their regional economies and innovation ecosystems, fostering new collaborations, encouraging local entrepreneurship and supporting growth and job creation within startups and early-stage companies. They include:

CENTRAL NEW YORK: Located in downtown Syracuse, The Tech Garden, operated by CenterState CEO, continues to focus on increasing outreach to diverse entrepreneurs and veteran entrepreneurs, providing startups with access to professional business development services at no cost, improving access to capital and improving regional communication around the sharing of best practices.

FINGER LAKES: NextCorps and Rochester Institute of Technology’s Venture Creations Technology Business Incubator (VCI) jointly lead the Finger Lakes Innovation Hot Spot. Through the Hot Spot initiative, they seek to expand their successful incubator models to serve more entrepreneurs, including those in historically underserved communities.

NORTH COUNTRY: Led by the Shipley Center for Innovation, the North Country Incubator builds on the scalable and proven model developed by Clarkson University through its successes at the Shipley Center, the Center for Advanced Materials Processing (CAMP), the Reh Center for Entrepreneurship. By centralizing resources and services at Clarkson and decentralizing idea generation across the region, the North Country’s Hot Spot positions the region to harness existing intellectual capital to create the businesses needed to drive economic development.

SOUTHERN TIER: The Southern Tier Startup Alliance (STSA), an organization led by Cornell University, operates regionwide through a network of member incubators. Member incubators serve as focal points for entrepreneurial communities and locations where mentors can deliver services to startups.

WESTERN NEW YORK: Operated by the University at Buffalo, the Western New York Incubator Network (WIN) is a consortium of business incubators in the WNY region that helps entrepreneurs start, build and grow businesses. WIN’s program offerings include pitch prep, embedded consultants, outreach and student entrepreneurship.

The six New York State-Certified Business Incubators — which were awarded redesignation for the impact they’ve generated thus far — take a more targeted approach than the regional Innovation Hot Spots to meet the entrepreneurial support needs of communities or specific industries. They include:

CAPITAL REGION: Tech Valley Center of Gravity’s manufacturing Incubator and protostar rapid prototyping center in Troy is focused on assisting manufacturing startups by providing a one-stop shop for prototype development along with the skills and structure needed to successfully launch small-scale manufacturing businesses.

CENTRAL NEW YORK: The CNY Biotech Certified Business Incubator is an academic-based biotech incubator and accelerator located in Syracuse and operationally supported by Upstate Medical University. It promotes access to Upstate Medical’s experts, facilities and equipment. CNYBAC’s diverse network of resources — such as its labs, offices, conference rooms, TED-enabled 200+ seat theater, National Grid Creation Garage, Café and short-term occupancy Pods — are available to for-profit biotech startups, early discovery innovators, entrepreneurs, mentors, service providers and innovation clubs.

MOHAWK VALLEY: Located in Rome and adjacent to the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate, the Griffiss Institute Business Incubator (GIBI) provides a unique space in the Mohawk Valley where startups and growing small businesses can find a wide range of business support services tailored for each client. The Griffiss Institute has a unique relationship with the Air Force Research Laboratory allowing it to nurture new businesses seeking both opportunities to work with the Lab or to commercialize its intellectual property.

NEW YORK CITY: The Downstate Biotechnology Incubator, which is adjacent to SUNY Downstate Medical Center, and BioBAT at the Brooklyn Army Terminal provides services to early-stage companies, focused especially on biotech and technology expansion and manufacturing. This initiative provides job training programs for graduate and undergrad students and access to Downstate Medical Center resources, and the entrepreneurship program provides mentorship and business support as well as connections to various funds, angel investors and venture capitalists.

NEW YORK CITY: Operated by the Tandon School of Engineering at New York University, NYU Tandon Future Labs, brings together several incubator programs that target various needs within the city’s innovation ecosystem, including the Data Future Lab, Digital Future Lab, Urban Future Lab and Veterans Future Lab. Combined, they provide incubation resources and services to increase the success rate of new ventures and generate positive economic impact.

SOUTHERN TIER: The Binghamton Incubator Program focuses on developing and delivering entrepreneurial and business skills through workshops, seminars, events and mentoring at two locations in the Greater Binghamton Area: The Start-Up Suite pre-incubator with office and wet lab space at the Binghamton University Innovative Technologies Complex campus in Vestal, and the Koffman Southern Tier Incubator with offices, dry- and wet-labs, high-bay and co-working spaces in downtown Binghamton.

In total, NYSTAR has designated 10 Innovation Hot Spots and 20 state-certified Business Incubators – including the five Hot Spots and nine Business Incubators just designated or redesignated. NYSTAR also oversees the state’s network of Centers for Advanced Technology, Centers of Excellence, New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership centers and more. Across its programs, there are over 70 NYSTAR-backed centers across the state that are actively working to generate technology-driven economic growth. Collectively, they provide innovators, entrepreneurs and business leaders with access to the support they need to solve challenges and grow companies, often connecting academia and industry to spark collaborations that lead to new discoveries and job creation.

State Senator Anna M. Kaplan said, “It’s important that we do everything we can to support the development of small businesses in New York, and the State’s network of business incubators have proven to be an engine for entrepreneurism, innovation, and economic growth across the state. As Chair of the Committee on Commerce, Economic Development, and Small Business, I have championed funding for incubators and entrepreneurial assistance centers, because they have a proven track record for success, and deliver significant return on investment for the taxpayers. I’m thrilled that the network of services continues to grow with this announcement, and I applaud Empire State Development for their efforts to support these vital services.”

“I applaud Communitas America, the Cornell Agriculture and Food Technology Park and Mount Sinai Innovation Partners for their commitment to our state,” said Assemblymember Harry Bronson. “Today’s announcement by the NYSTAR Network of Innovation Resources and Empire State Development shows that New York State has an appetite for strong, diverse, business startups and is in an economic position to create jobs for the future. I look forward to this exciting growth and welcome these additional three new business incubators.”

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 it’s 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 New York State 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, please visit and


Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation – known as NYSTAR – advances technology innovation and commercialization in New York State. NYSTAR offers programs that assist companies from start-up through maturity, leveraging the state’s unparalleled investment in world-class technology assets and expertise. It provides roughly $55 million annually in funding to support over 70 centers that provide direct assistance to New York State companies – a network of vital assets for enabling technology- and manufacturing-led growth and job creation. NYSTAR and its partners are proud to contribute to New York’s leadership in the global innovation economy. For more information, visit

Kristin Devoe | [email protected] | (518) 414-1087
John Mackowiak | [email protected] | 518.618.1175


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