The Cornell Agriculture and Food Technology Park (Tech Farm) in Geneva, NY has been recognized as a New York State Certified Business Incubator. The designation will lead to additional resources for current and future tenants and drive economic growth and job creation in the food and agriculture industries in Geneva and beyond.
Business incubators, such as the Tech Farm, are designed to provide the space, mentorship and other resources and services to help early-stage companies grow.
The Tech Farm was able to achieve incubator status thanks to support from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell Food Venture Center (CFVC), Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture (COE), Center for Regional Economic Advancement, city of Geneva and the Ontario County Office of Economic Development.
Cathy Young, executive director of the COE, said that after months of planning, the COE and Tech Farm are ready to bring the project to fruition.
The Tech Farm received $625,000 in grant funding to support the $2 million project. The grant will fund several new positions, including a business development specialist with the COE who will focus on serving the more than a dozen businesses that are currently Tech Farm tenants, as well as other food and agriculture businesses. The grant will also fund an administrative position that will help manage the day-to-day operations of the facility and help support CFVC seminars and training for Tech Farm tenants.
“These developments will allow us to provide a new level of mentorship for companies at the Tech Farm,” Young said.
For current and perspective Tech Farm tenants, the incubator status will allow for even more individualized guidance from the COE including increased access to the CFVC, Cornell Craft Beverage Institute, Institute for Food Safety at Cornell University (IFS@CU) and other Cornell AgriTech resources.
“All the different services that the COE offers will be even more attainable to the companies that are in the incubator space,” Young said. “It helps elevate the meaningful impact of the program even more.”
CFVC director Olga Padilla-Zakour said that the Finger Lakes region – especially Geneva – is uniquely positioned to take a leadership role in the effort to strengthen food and agriculture infrastructure.
“The designation of NYS Certified Incubator adds a necessary element to the region’s already highly sophisticated and developed food and agriculture ecosystem, allowing even more companies to achieve success and grow the economy in our state,” Padilla-Zakour said.
The Tech Farm is one of only 20 certified business incubators in the state.
“We’re thrilled that the state has invested not only in the Center of Excellence, but in the Tech Farm as a certified incubator,” Young said. “It’s validation by New York state that the COE is an excellent resource for companies to scale up in New York state.”
Jacob Pucci is marketing and communications coordinator for the Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture at Cornell AgriTech.
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