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Summer Startup Season is in Full Gear

By Nasir Ali


It’s that time of year again in upstate New York when our region's creative and entrepreneurial talent is on display on campuses everywhere.  In just the past few weeks:

·      More than 140 student teams applied for the Cornell Big Idea Competition;

·      Another 160 teams presented at the Emerging Talk Conference in Syracuse; and, 

·      The New York State Business Plan Competition drew more than 430 teams from 60 colleges and universities with 88 finalists from 33 schools being chosen to present to investor panels at CNSE.

Over the next month, 23 of the most promising startups in Upstate will present at the SmartStart UNYTECH Summit in Albany and approximately 30 new companies will participate in the StartFast and Syracuse Student Sandbox programs in Syracuse. Dozens more startups will be engaged at incubators and accelerators across Upstate this summer as well.

It is clear that innovation and entrepreneurial initiative is all around us. Keeping the talent here and helping them succeed is the task of our community as a whole.


Nasir Ali is co-founder and CEO of Upstate Venture Connect (, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to accelerating upstate New York's entrepreneurial ecosystem. It’s located at 235 Harrison St. in Syracuse. These brief comments are drawn from the organization’s May 6 email newsletter.


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