A Syracuse company and four firms from Ithaca are among the 18 finalists in the first round of the Grow-NY food innovation and agriculture-technology business competition.
The contenders were chosen from a field of almost 200 startups that applied to be part of the initiative, the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday.
The competition is focused on “enhancing the emerging food, beverage, and agriculture innovation cluster” in Central New York, the Finger Lakes and the Southern Tier.
The applicant pool represented 23 different states and 16 countries.
The Grow-NY region covers a 22-county area that includes upstate New York’s farming community as well as several major urban centers, including Syracuse, Ithaca, Binghamton, and Rochester.
“The Grow-NY competition has attracted a group of diverse, innovative entrepreneurs who are ready to focus on finding new ways to further transform New York State’s world-renowned food and agricultural industry,” Cuomo said in the release. “Through efforts like Grow-NY we are continuing to bolster these regional economies and foster statewide growth in this critical industry.”
Each startup will work with a mentor who will help them make connections in the region, plan regional business trips, and refine their business pitches, Cuomo’s office said.
The finalists will pitch their ideas to a panel of Grow-NY judges and a live audience on both Nov. 12 and Nov. 13 at the Grow-NY Food and Ag Summit held at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center.
Cornell University is administering the competition through its Center for Regional Economic Advancement, per the release.
The competition will run for an additional two rounds and will award a total of $3 million in prize money each round to seven winners, all payable in stages, based on business milestones.
This includes a $1 million top prize, two $500,000 prizes and four $250,000 in prizes. The winners will have to commit to operating in the targeted regions for at least one year and will have to agree to participate in an equity-share program.
The state has announced the 18 finalists in the first round of the Grow-NY business competition. The firm’s location is in parentheses.
Whole Healthy Food (Ithaca)
RealEats America (Geneva)
The Perfect Granola (Victor)
Nuravine (New York City)
AgVoice (Norcross, Georgia)
Independent Barley & Malt (Litchfield, Michigan)
Livestock Water Recycling (Alberta, Canada)
Paragon Pure (Princeton, New Jersey)
Radical Plastics (Beverly, Massachusetts)
Simply Good Jars (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Slate Craft Goods (Westwood, Massachusetts)
Tiliter (Munich, Germany)
Varcode (Naperville, Illinois)
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