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Genius NY program accepting applications for sixth round of business competition

By Eric Reinhardt (


The Genius NY program is accepting applications for the sixth round of the year-long program. The business accelerator operates at the Tech Garden in downtown Syracuse. (Eric Reinhardt / CNYBJ file photo)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Empire State Development (ESD) on Wednesday said the Genius NY program is accepting applications for the sixth round of the year-long program.

Genius NY is described as the “world’s largest business accelerator focused on uncrewed systems.” Genius NY stands for Growing ENtrepreneurs & Innovators in UpState New York.

The in-residence accelerator — operated from CenterState CEO’s Tech Garden in downtown Syracuse — will invest more than $3 million in five finalist companies, including a $1 million grand prize.

The program also offers company stipends, resources, programming, and networking opportunities to help startups with the “tools they need to take advantage of emerging opportunities,” ESD said in a news release.

Interested tech startups focused on uncrewed systems, IoT (Internet of Things), big data, and robotics can apply at website through May 31. Subsets may include precision and remote sensing; smart city applications; data collection and analytics; guidance or communication systems; and sensors, “among other technological categories.”

“We are excited to open this new round of applications and begin our search for the next cohort of companies that will join our region’s growing UAS (unmanned aircraft system) and UTM (unmanned aircraft system traffic management) ecosystem,” Kara Jones, director of GENIUS NY, said. “GENIUS NY provides support these companies need to grow and contribute to the region’s expertise and diversity. Through five rounds of this accelerator program, we have seen impact and advancement of this sector within our economy, which is a proven jobs creator. We are extremely grateful to Empire State Development for renewing the program through round 10, which is a validation of the program’s success to date.”

A panel of judges will evaluate the applications and select semifinalists to present demos and pitches this summer. Five companies will advance to participate in the competition, which is structured as a programmed incubator and accelerator.
The selected teams will enter the in-residence accelerator at the Tech Garden later this summer where they will be “immersed” in the incubator’s events, resource pool, and mentoring.

Applicants should be prepared to relocate to Central New York to participate in the program starting in August.

Genius NY participants are required to operate their business in Central New York for at least one year. The program is funded through the CNY Rising Upstate Revitalization Initiative (URI), the region’s award-winning strategic plan to “generate robust economic growth and community development.”

“GENIUS NY’s sixth round will help to further fuel Central New York’s thriving uncrewed aerial systems industry,” Hope Knight, acting president, CEO & commissioner of Empire State Development said. “This unique business-accelerator competition is attracting forward-thinking entrepreneurial ideas and innovators to the region, as well as top companies that are ready to take advantage of the area’s unmatched UAS assets and infrastructure.”





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