Syracuse University was recently approved to participate in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Start-Up NY program, in a move to bring business and job creation to Syracuse‘s languishing Near West Side.
According to an April 13 Syracuse.com article, the Start-Up NY advisory board approved the university’s plans Friday, meaning the school can now begin to sponsor companies to set up footholds in Syracuse.
Gov. Cuomo’s Start-Up NY program, first initiated in 2013, aims to foster a tax-free environment to tech and manufacturing companies for the next 10 years as long as they work with state colleges and universities to foster job creation and investment.
The university intends to recruit Start-Up companies from a number of different industries, including green building, biomaterials, pharmaceuticals and advanced manufacturing such as computer server manufacturing — an industry that brings in $14 billion in revenue each year.
The primary focus of Syracuse University’s involvement in Start-Up NY? The city’s dilapidated, impoverished Near West Side; about 22,000 square feet, or 69%, of the university’s approved Start-Up space is in this part of the city.
While many have offered praise for Syracuse University’s efforts to foster business growth on the Near West Side, the Start-Up NY program is not without its critics.
“I’d be remiss not to highlight those in Central New York, particularly the hardworking folks at … Syracuse University, who are going above and beyond to make this program a success locally,” Doug Crescenzi of Brooklyn recently wrote in a letter to the editor of Syracuse.com. “These are passionate, mission driven individuals who work around the clock in pursuit of advancing CNY’s economic growth.”
The majority of criticism lies primarily with the Start-Up NY program itself. According to an April 12 TownHall.com editorial, Cuomo’s program, which promised to create thousands of jobs across the state, has created just 72 new jobs in Albany and 123 throughout Central and Western New York since its inception. The program has cost taxpayers $53 million since its start, but has led to a paltry $1.7 million in private investments.
While these are grim figures, Syracuse University’s continued involvement in Start-Up NY may help the program succeed at creating the jobs it promised.