Wednesday 7 December 2022
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GENIUS NY Startup Competition in CNY Receives $5 Million in Funding, With $1M Grand Prize

Working people in the officeStartups in Central New York are getting another big boost — to the tune of $5 million — with a new competition sponsored by Empire State Development Corp. The announcement came just a couple months after Gov. Andrew Cuomo first introduced the state-backed business competition GENIUS NY (Growing Entrepreneurs and Innovators in Upstate New York).

Empire State Development, according to a recent report from, stated that it would provide $3 million, which includes a $1 million grand prize, for a new competition aimed to bring startups into the Central New York region. Additionally, the organization has pledged another $2 million for administrative costs and other financial requirements for promoting and running the competition.

Earlier this summer, Gov. Cuomo announced that GENIUS NY would focus on bringing new startups to the area, focusing mostly on the industries of cyber security, data analytics, and data manufacturing. The competition was based on 43North, an economic development program in Buffalo which provided $5 million in prizes to new businesses.

CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity, a nonprofit group in CNY that emphasizes economic development, is running GENIUS NY and is working with Empire State Development, a private sponsor, to provide “coaching, mentoring, and business development help” to the participating startups, said.

The program consists of two rounds and a final round for the $1 million grand prize. Applications for the first round are opening this fall and the competition, which will begin next spring, has allocated space for 16 businesses in Central NYS to participate. Each of those businesses will receive $15,000 in funding and will compete for a finalist slot in the second round.

The second round will begin in the summer of 2016 and will last for a year. The winner of the first round will be joined by five other regional businesses. All participants will receive $10,000 per month plus a 12-month housing stipend.

This competition is just one of 25 different economic development projects across NYS, according to POLITICO New York, into which the state has agreed to funnel a collective $16.7 million. The efforts of New York lawmakers have been echoed by legislative actions in Washington, especially in regards to lowering financial burdens on new businesses.

The Promoting Job Creation and Reducing Small Business Burden Act, which was passed in January 2015, has been one of the biggest nationwide efforts to lower the financial cost of starting up a new business.

Gov. Cuomo announced on Monday, Sept. 14 that the economic development programs in NYS are intended to provide additional funding that businesses need to get up and running. Additional programs in the GENIUS NY project will provide loans to businesses throughout the state and focus on creating new jobs.