Empire State Development Announces Application Period Is Now Open for Round Five of Luminate NY Competition

Empire State Development (ESD) announced that Luminate NY—the world’s largest business accelerator for startup companies that have optics, photonics, and imaging (OPI) enabled applications—is now accepting applications for round five of the innovative program. The accelerator brings visionary companies to the Finger Lakes Region to leverage a rich ecosystem of resources to speed the commercialization of emerging technologies within a range of industries, from quantum computing, medical devices, and LiDAR to augmented reality, robotics, and autonomous vehicles. Round five of Luminate NY will add to the more than 400 companies that have applied to participate in the accelerator based on the unique programming and support that this region has to offer. Cohort five will expand on the novel technologies that are in Luminate’s robust portfolio, which is destined to advance the OPI industry in New York State. Luminate NY is administered by NextCorps.

“Luminate NY brings the most promising companies from around the world to New York, connecting them with our region’s top universities, talent, and manufacturing facilities to help them realize innovative vision,” said Empire State Development Chief Operating Officer and Executive Deputy Commissioner Kevin Younis. “This strategic investment is just one of the many ways New York is creating solid opportunities for diverse business owners, helping to highlight all of the competitive advantages that New York has to offer.”

Applicants for Luminate NY must be incorporated, have at least two full-time employees, and should have proven their core technology, preferably having developed a working prototype. Once admitted, companies will receive assistance, including capital, access to comprehensive lab facilities for technology development, education, and business mentoring. Applications will be accepted now through January 10, 2022.

Luminate NY is funded by the transformative Finger Lakes Forward Upstate Revitalization Initiative, a comprehensive strategy to foster economic development and revitalize communities. Located in the imaging capital of the world—Rochester, NY—the Luminate accelerator provides immediate funding paired with a six-month mentoring program to help new companies scale both their businesses and technologies. Selected applicants will compete for one of 10 available slots for cohort five. At the completion of the program, the teams will compete for a total of $2 million in follow-on funding, including a $1 million investment to the winning team and other investments totaling an additional $1 million. Teams winning follow-on funding must commit to doing some aspect of their business operations or manufacturing in the region for at least 18 months.

Dr. Sujatha Ramanujan, Managing Director, Luminate NY said, “This one-of-a-kind accelerator is helping emerging companies change the trajectory of their progress and the strength of their innovations. We encourage founders to apply to explore what Luminate can do for their business.”

The recruitment for new OPI-enabled technologies comes just two weeks before Luminate NY’s fourth cohort of companies competes for $2 million in follow-on funding during the Luminate Finals 2021. This year due to COVID, the finals will be held virtually on September 30, 2021 beginning at 10:30 a.m. EDT via Zoom. Finals is free to attend but registration is required. In addition to seeing the teams compete for funding, the public will vote for their favorite startup, which will be awarded $10,000 as part of the annual New York State competition, and the public will have the opportunity to ask questions during a panel discussion on Women and Diversity in Entrepreneurship.

The Finger Lakes Region is home to an incredibly rich ecosystem for forward-thinking entrepreneurs who are looking to grow their business. Rochester is home to the American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics’ Test, Assembly and Packaging facility at Eastman Business Park, the University of Rochester’s Institute of Optics, the Rochester Institute of Technology, and to more than 150 local OPI companies which employ more than 17,000 employees who are building on the region’s legacy as a global imaging leader.

Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward
Today’s announcement complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The regionally designed plan focuses on investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture‎ and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs.

Original Source: Global News

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