Governor Cuomo Announces Round Three of GENIUS NY Competition

Posted on May 2, 2018

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Deadline for the World's Largest Unmanned Aircraft Systems Competition Applications is October 1, 2018

The $5 Million Investment Complements "CNY Rising" - The Region's Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that applications are now open for the third round of GENIUS NY-- the world's largest business competition focused on unmanned systems. The business accelerator program at CenterState CEO's Tech Garden in Syracuse. Building on regional industry strengths and emerging opportunities, the business competition targets companies in the unmanned aerial, ground, and marine systems and cross-connected platforms sectors. The six finalists of the year-long residency will receive more than $5 million in investment in the unmanned systems sector. The application period will run until October 1, 2018.

"Following the success of the first two GENIUS NY competitions, we are announcing the third round today to continue to transform the economic landscape of Central New York by attracting the next generation of innovative entrepreneurs," Governor Cuomo said. "By investing in these unmanned aerial system businesses, we are ensuring that New York continues to establish itself as the leader in the burgeoning UAS industry, a central part of the regionally designed CNY Rising plan."

"Our business plan competitions like GENIUS NY and 43North are changing the game across New York with innovative new businesses and good-paying jobs," Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. "Around the world, Central New York is being recognized as a leader in the unmanned aerial systems industry because of common sense regulatory reforms and unprecedented support from the State. I look forward to seeing the next round of groundbreaking ideas that allow unmanned aerial systems technology to revitalize and transform the Central New York region."

Beyond investments, participants will have access to some of the region's premier startup programming, including business planning, industry specific mentorship, and access to vetted service providers offering startup friendly terms. As part of this effort, participants will be integrated into the larger regional effort to grow unmanned aerial systems in Central New York and the Mohawk Valley and will have access to world-leading infrastructure and testing assets when they come online. Participants also receive stipends for operating capital and subsidized rent, and will also have opportunities to connect with investors for follow on funding.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "The third round of GENIUS NY's business accelerator competition will attract another wave of ideas and entrepreneurial energy to the region, where top-quality UAS firms have recognized the area's singular assets and infrastructure, and help to drive industry growth and innovation."

Rick Clonan, VP of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at CenterState CEO said, "This program has proven itself over the past two rounds as a groundbreaking tool for growing industry-leading unmanned systems companies. Over two years, we have invested nearly $6 million in 12 high-quality teams, all of which have benefited from the program. In addition to these investments teams benefit from the region's multi-dimensional ecosystem that combines technology, innovation, standards and certification and public policy. There is no other program that offers this level of investment or these resources."

Robert Simpson, President of CenterState CEO said, "Central New York's rise to become a global hub for the unmanned systems industry is due in part to the unprecedented investments being made by New York state. By leveraging these investments to advance the unmanned systems industry we are able to compete globally. This is comprehensive environment is the perfect location for this program as these startup companies have access to all of the tools they need to be successful.  We look forward to continuing to grow our ecosystem and support the participants of all GENIUS NY rounds. The teams that participate in this program will advance their businesses while contributing to the region's leading expertise and development of the UAS sector."

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney said, "Onondaga County is excited to support the GENIUS NY competition. The next round will continue to build on the success we've experienced as people come from across the country and across the globe to Central New York. This innovative competition provides businesses with the tools and resources they need to ensure their long-term success and we are looking forward to the groundbreaking work that emerges from this competition."

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente said, "GENIUS NY has served as a catalyst for growth at Oneida County's UAS Test Site at Griffiss International Airport by fostering new business innovation in the Central New York UAS Corridor. I'm sure this third round of competition will bring in even more high-quality UAS businesses and entrepreneurs who will help us continue to propel our region forward."

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said, "The GENIUS NY accelerator is making Syracuse and Central New York a hotbed for development of some of the most innovative and important drone technology in the world. Our community is benefiting from great startup companies coming here for the competition and staying here to build their businesses. Syracuse is a leader in one of the world's fastest growing industries because of Governor Cuomo's consistent support for the GENIUS NY program."


Central New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Dr. Danielle Laraque-Arena, President and Health System CEO, SUNY Upstate Medical University and Randy Wolken, President & CEO of the Manufacturers Association of Central New York said, "Supporting the burgeoning UAS industry is central to the regionally designed CNY Rising plan. Through our continued support for the GENIUS NY competition, we will ensure that New York remains at the forefront of this innovative industry, creating new opportunities and jobs for residents in the region for decades to come."

To learn more about GENIUS NY or to apply click here.

Accelerating CNY Rising

Today's announcement complements "CNY Rising," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $4.7 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan - capitalizing on global market opportunities, strengthening entrepreneurship and creating an inclusive economy. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Syracuse, Oswego and Auburn as a destination to grow and invest in.

Now, the region is accelerating CNY Rising with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State's $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion - and the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 5,900 new jobs. More information is available here. 

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