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Empire State Development announces Innovation Hot Spot awardees

by jmaloni

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Fri, Dec 13th 2013 07:30 pm

Five regions awarded funding through Gov. Cuomo's Regional Economic Development Council Initiative to launch program

Empire State Development announced Thursday that, through Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's Regional Economic Development Council initiative, the first five regions across New York state were awarded funding to launch Innovation Hot Spot programs.

A new facet of the REDC initiative in 2013, the Innovation Hot Spots competition is designed to make New York a leader in growing new technology-based companies by attracting venture capital and industry-sponsored research spending. The hot spots will foster innovation by offering start-ups valuable business support services to help commercialize academic research and promote further collaboration between business and academia.

"For far too long, innovative and transformative new ideas have been developed in New York only to be exported and commercialized in other states," said Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Kenneth Adams. "Under Gov. Cuomo's leadership, we are working harder than ever to foster start-ups that can turn concepts into products and move them to market and the Innovation Hot Spots program will do just this: grow new businesses, create jobs for New York state, and keep us at the forefront of the 21st century global economy."

Each winning plan must have:

•Demonstrated a connection with a higher education institution and the ability to transition technology from lab to marketplace;

•Demonstrated a link to regional sources of innovation and expertise;

•Provided industry-accepted best practice services; and

•Agreed to maintain and operate the program for three years and generate a 2:1 match to the state grant for support services.

The Western New York, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Central New York and North Country regions were each designated in this first round of the Innovation Hot Spots program. The five winning hot spots will receive up to $250,000 annually in financial support from the state to expand their direct assistance to young firms, including legal, technical and business support services.

The Innovation Hot Spot awardees include a consortium of regional business development organizations leveraging University at Buffalo's award-winning technology Incubator to enhance, improve and increase the business climate in Western New York. The Western New York Innovation Hot Spot will directly impact 20 regional colleges/universities allowing their students enhanced access to entrepreneurship opportunities. The Western New York hot spot will tie together the diversity in the region with a proven metrics-driven process to ensure students and entrepreneurs have the best opportunity for success in starting new businesses.

On Dec. 11, Cuomo announced $715.9 million was awarded to more than 800 regionally significant projects through round three of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative. A centerpiece of the governor's strategy to jumpstart the economy and create jobs, the Regional Councils were put in place in 2011 to redesign the state's approach to economic development from a top-down model to a community-based, performance-driven approach. The initiative empowers community, business, and academic leaders, as well as members of the public in each region of the state, to develop strategic plans specifically tailored to their region's unique strengths and resources in order to create jobs and support economic growth.

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