The Empire State Development board of directors has approved nearly $9 million to fund nine projects generating economic growth and opportunity across New York. These targeted investments will leverage more than $38 million in private and other public funding to support small businesses, community and downtown revitalization, regional tourism, and other initiatives designed to build a strong foundation for future economic development and job creation.
The projects approved by the ESD board will create 68 new jobs and retain 677 existing jobs in New York.
"The funding approved by the board of directors will enable ESD to support key projects statewide and grow new opportunities for New Yorkers," said Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Kenneth Adams. "By helping critical regional employers expand, providing funds for MWBE programs and strategic industries, and improving local communities through infrastructure investment and downtown revitalization, these projects are generating key economic activity and paving the way for future development in New York state."
The board approved the following SUNY Sub-Allocation Capital Grant:
•Rich Products Corp. - (Western New York Region - Erie County) - $2,000,000
Rich Products Corp., a producer and distributer of frozen foods, will use a grant of up to $2 million to be used as reimbursement for a portion of construction and renovation costs to expand the company's research and development operations and create a new customer innovation center in Buffalo.
Rich Products was founded in Buffalo in 1945 as the world's first nondairy whipped topping manufacturer, and now has more than 9,300 employees in over 34 manufacturing facilities in more than 112 countries on six continents. The company has established manufacturing operations outside New York over the years, but still maintains its global headquarters in Buffalo.
In 2012, Rich Products sought ESD's assistance to expand its research and development operations and establish a new customer innovation center to remain competitive and support future growth. ESD offered an incentive, which included a $2 million capital grant for the retainage of 651 Buffalo jobs and up to $1,662,500 in credits from the Excelsior Jobs Program for 918 jobs statewide. Based on the addition of 17 new jobs, ESD issued a revised incentive, increasing the Excelsior Credit to $2,938,250.
Rich Products considered locations in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Toronto and Hong Kong for the expansion project. Without ESD's assistance, the project most likely would have taken place outside of New York.
As a result of the project, the company has retained 651 jobs and created 74 new jobs.
The board approved the following Regional Council award grants:
•SUNY RF Center for Computational Research - (Western New York Region - Erie County) - $1,000,000
The Research Foundation for the State University of New York, a private, not-for-profit educational corporation that administers externally funded contracts and grants for and on behalf of the State University of New York, will use a grant of up to $1 million on behalf of the University at Buffalo as reimbursement for a portion of the cost of expanding the high-performance computing and data analytics infrastructure at UB's Center for Computational Research, located within the New York State Center for Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences.
The use of high-performance computation, big-data analytics and advanced simulation has become a driving force of job creation and economic growth nationwide, and UB's Center for Computational Research also uses this technology. Most of the CCR's computing resources, which have undergone periodic upgrades since CCR inception in 1998, are obtained through federal grants that prohibit their use for activities unrelated to SUNY RF research, though a smaller portion of CCR's capabilities are funded through sources that support private-sector engagement, including economic development activities for smaller companies lacking advanced computing infrastructures.
In 2013, SUNY RF notified ESD the resources needed to meet the current and future private sector demand far exceeded the current capacity of the CCR's remaining computing resources. As a result of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's REDC initiative, SUNY RF was awarded a $1 million grant through the CFA process to expand HPC infrastructure at the CCR. The project has expanded the CCR's ability to provide local companies with on-demand, immediate access to advanced computing and storage infrastructure and consulting services allowing for improved productivity and the implementation of innovative proprietary product and processes development, particularly in the advanced manufacturing, life sciences and IT sectors.
This priority project is consistent with the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council's plan to foster innovation and economic growth, particularly in advanced manufacturing, life sciences, and information technologies, and enable local industries to remain competitive in global markets.
The board approved the following economic development programs:
•Craft Beverage Grant Program- (Marketing and Tourism Grants for Craft Beverage Industry) - (Statewide) - $3,000,000
The statewide Craft Beverage Grant Program, an overall $6 million initiative to support New York state's burgeoning craft beverage industry, will use a grant of $3 million to support two major components of the program: the Craft Beverage Marketing and Promotion Grant Program and the Craft Beverage Industry Tourism Promotion Grant.
At the 2014 Wine, Beer and Spirits Summit, Cuomo announced $4 million in state funding, matched by $2 million in private investment, to support the craft beverage industry in expanding its marketing, promotion and tourism initiatives. The program will increase the profile, awareness and sales of New York-produced wine, beer, spirits and hard cider by providing matching funds for the marketing and promotion of these craft beverages.
The program and each funded proposal will work to support the Regional Economic Development Councils' long-term strategic plans for economic growth in the regions.
•Minority-and-Women owned Business Enterprises Contractor Bonding Preparedness Training and Technical Assistance program - (Statewide) - $125,000
The Research Foundation for The State University of New York, on behalf of the Small Business Development Center Network, will receive a $125,000 technical assistance grant to launch a program that will assist New York state-certified MWBEs or MWBEs that will be certified within a year to secure bonding for public contracts.
The New York Small Business Development Center was founded in 1984 as an administered unit of the State University of New York. The SBDC has advised more than 500,000 small-to-medium enterprises, approximately 35 percent of which are MWBEs.
In partnership with the governor's office, ESD, and the Surety Fidelity Association of America, the SBDC developed a bond preparedness program curriculum that includes classroom training and one-on-one direct business advisement. With the launch of the MWBE Contractor Bonding Preparedness Training and Technical Assistance Program, SBDC counselors across 10 SBDC centers statewide will work one-on-one with 200 eligible MWBEs or soon-to-be certified MWBEs to become certified contractors, enabling the firms to participate in a comprehensive bonding training, which will include classroom instruction at 10 SBDC statewide locations and centers. The program will help NYS MWBE firms become informed about the bonding process and allow them to successfully bid and perform on government contracts and other contract opportunities that require bonding in New York.
The next meeting of the ESD board of directors will be held in January.