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Genius NY program accepting applications for 8th round of accelerator competition

By Eric Reinhardt (


SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Genius NY — which the state describes as the world’s largest business-accelerator focused on uncrewed aerial systems — is now accepting applications for the 8th round of the year-long program.

The in-residence accelerator is operated by CenterState CEO at the Tech Garden in downtown Syracuse. It will invest more than $3 million in five finalist companies, including a $1 million grand prize, Empire State Development (ESD) said in its Thursday announcement.

Genius NY stands for Growing ENtrepreneurs & Innovators in UpState New York.

The program will accept applications through May 15 at Those that can apply include tech startups focused on uncrewed aerial systems, automation, artificial intelligence (A.I.), and advanced air mobility (AAM).

Subsets may include precision and remote sensing, smart-city applications, data collection and analytics, guidance or communication systems, and sensors, among other technological categories.

The program also offers business resources, programming, mentorship and networking opportunities to assist innovative startups with the tools they need to take advantage of emerging opportunities, ESD said.

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 strategic plan to generate economic growth and community development.

“We’re looking for startups interested in pushing the bounds of current UAS technologies in Central New York.” Kara Jones, director of Genius NY, said in the ESD news release. “The region’s growing innovation ecosystem offers early-stage companies a unique opportunity to work collaboratively with industry leaders while advancing their own technologies. The targeted resources awarded to Genius NY companies enable them to scale faster, generate revenue sooner, and create jobs for the local economy.”

A panel of judges will evaluate the applications, and the program will select semifinalists to present demos and pitches this summer, ESD said.

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