To spur job creation and a business-friendly climate throughout the state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the third round of New York’s statewide Regional Economic Development Council awards Dec. 11. The Southern Tier was once again noted as a top-performing region, as it received $81.9 million funding 87 projects.
About $716 million was awarded to the 10 economic regions across New York, and more than 800 projects statewide were funded. One of them is a $1 million award to help build a business incubator in downtown Ithaca. The Ithaca Incubator, a partnership among Cornell, Ithaca College and Tompkins-Cortland Community College, will serve as a hub for entrepreneurial activity in the area and as a home for high-growth startup companies.
Companies will be evaluated for tenancy in the Ithaca Incubator without regard to organizational affiliation and will be eligible for tax incentives from the state. Upon graduation from an incubator, companies may qualify for the START-UP NY program, which offers 10 years of tax benefits to new companies or new divisions of existing companies, or are moving to New York from out of state.
The Ithaca Incubator is part of the new Southern Tier Innovation Hot Spot, which is headed by partners Cornell, Binghamton University and the Ceramics Corridor Innovation Center. The Hot Spot, one of five in New York and awarded $750,000 for three years of operations, will help entrepreneurs form and grow startup companies across the region and through activities at three incubators in Ithaca, Binghamton and Corning/Painted Post.
“We are transforming New York state into a top destination for companies from around the world to locate, invest and grow with initiatives like START-UP NY to provide tax-free areas and support to businesses,” Cuomo said. “This third round of awards continues the state’s commitment to these creative and groundbreaking plans and recognizes the immense progress that has already been made in revitalizing our economy and putting New Yorkers back to work.”
“We are very grateful to the governor and to the co-chairs of the Southern Tier Regional Council – Corning Inc. President Tom Trantor and Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger – for their leadership throughout this process,” said Mary Opperman, vice president for human resources and safety services, Cornell’s representative to the council. “Here at Cornell, we are pleased with the award outcomes and believe that the programs that result will benefit our local community and the region as a whole.”
Opperman participates in economic development meetings – with many business, local government and higher education stakeholders throughout the Southern Tier – on behalf of President David Skorton.
During the first two years of Cuomo’s regional economic program, Skorton served as co-chair of the Southern Tier Regional Council. He stepped down in December 2012 when he was appointed by Cuomo to lead the New York Racing Association.