On a chilly, drizzly Tuesday morning in Syracuse, Gov. Andrew Cuomo took a bus tour of development projects his administration has helped to fund. Along for the ride were local economic development officials, State cabinet members and the press.
SensGard LLC. makes hearing protection, but not the kind that you might be used to. Instead of large, wooly earmuffs they are producing small, foldable hearing protectors that look like ear plugs on the end of a headband.
Sean Branagan doesn't want to get any angry phone calls from the NCAA's lawyers for ripping off their idea, but he took inspiration from a certain national college basketball tournament, held every March, for a new student startup competition.
The ten regional economic development councils were back at it this week in their efforts to bring home as big a slice of three-quarters of a billion dollar state funding pie as possible. The councils released their progress reports and a new list of projects they think deserve cash in order to spur economic development and job creation in their regions.
There is a political debate going on this fall about government's role in supporting entrepreneurship and innovation.
It comes at a time when upstate New York continues to try and reinvent its economy. Small business incubators and accelerator programs are cropping up. The state has also made a major investment in creating a nanotech industry.
"The narrative that government is important? I don’t believe it’s true," says Carl Schramm.
One-hundred long days full of presentations, meetings with mentors and practicing investor pitches is all done.
The first-ever StartFast Venture Accelerator concluded Thursday morning with its Demo Day.
"Saying it was all hard would be an understatement," said Timothy Beckford, a founder of PadProof, a program to help professional photographers sell their pictures more easily. "It was a tremendous undertaking. We worked like crazy."
Nine companies entered StartFast back in May, but only eight made it through. The teams were given seed money, workspace and access to dozens of mentors.
Economic development officials often joke that their favorite bird is the crane. Not the one with wings, mind you, but the kind you see on big construction sites.
So far in 2012, developers have put a fair number of cranes into the airspace above Syracuse. The city is seeing a big jump in the value of construction permits applied for.
Through May, $146,271,066 worth of permits have gone on the Division of Code Enforcement's books. That's more than full year totals for both 2009 ($136,534,880) and 2010 ($142,229,141). It is also well out-pacing 2011's numbers, when only about $30 million worth of construction had been applied for through May. Last year ended up finishing at $245,382,179.
That has people in city hall feeling positive about the city's economic outlook.