Entering into its third year, the EPIC (Energy Program for Innovation Clusters) Buildings Accelerator is currently accepting applications through Jan. 31, 2024, for the 2024 cohort.
The EPIC Buildings Accelerator is a six-month, cohort-based program offered by CenterState CEO’s The Tech Garden in collaboration with the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems (SyracuseCoE), with support from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Technology Transitions and the Energy Program for Innovation Clusters (EPIC), as well as DOE’s Building Technology Office.
Buildings account for more than 70% of U.S. electricity consumption and power sector carbon dioxide emissions. Companies participating in the EPIC Buildings Program help turn buildings into clean, flexible energy resources by combining energy efficiency and demand flexibility with communications and smart technologies. Through innovative products, American homes and buildings can be more affordable, comfortable and productive, while reducing power system costs, carbon emissions and stress on the grid, saving billions.
This accelerator provides a suite of business incubation supports to early-mid stage companies targeting energy hardware innovations in Grid-interactive and Energy-efficient Building (GEB) technologies. The goals are to strengthen the cluster of companies engaged with the GEB market, while promoting equity and public health in the built environment and supporting the nation’s transition to net-zero emissions.
There are multiple benefits provided to participants in the accelerator, including workshops pitching and coaching, sales training, DEI-related workshops as a best business practice, industry and investor events with travel support, access to more than 100 climate entrepreneurs-in-residence (EIRs), subject matter experts (SMEs), grant finding and grant-writing support and C-level mentors and investor deck development and creation support.
EPIC Building Accelerator cohort companies may also apply by Jan. 31, 2024 for other EPIC Buildings program offerings, including Innovation Law Center Intellectual Property Landscape Survey research projects offered in collaboration with students and faculty from Syracuse University’s Innovation Law Center and small-scale prototype development projects.
In 2023, 22 companies were selected to participate in the EPIC Buildings Accelerator Cohort 2. Out of those teams, six were selected to receive assistance with intellectual property landscape patent assessments, and five were selected for the small-scall prototype projects. One of those companies, Hydronic Shell Technologies has just been awarded a $3 million grant from the Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge, with collaborators from other EPIC Buildings Accelerator participant companies.
EPIC Buildings is an important program that helps New York state companies accelerate development and commercialization of innovations for energy hardware to create grid-interactive and energy efficient buildings.
Learn more about the EPIC Buildings Accelerator and apply by Jan. 31, 2024 at: https://www.thetechgarden.com/epic-buildings-program.
Northland Communications Provides Dedicated Internet for The Tech Garden and is Naming Sponsor of Theater
CenterState CEO is pleased to share that Northland Communications is the exclusive connectivity provider of dedicated internet for The Tech Garden and is the naming sponsor of The Tech Garden’s plaza-level theater. Now known as the Northland Communications Theater, it is the first newly named space within the soon to be expanded The Tech Garden and is a critical feature for engaging tenants and other external stakeholders. The theater space has been a hub for networking, learning and entrepreneurial activity for the regional startup community for more than 15 years.
Also part of the new partnership with the company, Northland is providing 1 GB of symmetrical, dedicated internet connectivity to the facility and its tenants for the next 10 years, free of charge. This allows members and guests to access the internet from their wireless device when within range of an access point.
“Northland Communication's partnership represents the company's ongoing commitment to supporting the region's entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Rob Simpson, president of CenterState CEO. “We are incredibly grateful for Northland’s proactive support to ensuring The Tech Garden is equipped to meet the needs of growing businesses, and for the value they have placed on helping to advance innovation in our region.”
“Being a good neighbor and an engaged community member is integral to Northland's core values. We believe that by investing in initiatives like The Tech Garden, we're investing in the growth and betterment of our communities,” said Jim McCarthy, president of Northland Communications. “The naming of the theater space is a symbol of our commitment to collaborative efforts that lead to meaningful outcomes. We're excited about the expansion of The Tech Garden and its potential to become an even more vibrant hub for innovation. By offering a platform for startups and entrepreneurs to thrive, we're not only shaping the future but also contributing to the prosperity of the regions we serve. Partnering with CenterState CEO has allowed us to strengthen the technological ecosystem, support local talent, and create a positive impact that resonates with the community.”
Get Involved! - The Tech Garden has a number of philanthropic and sponsorship opportunities for the business community and individual supporters to be part of the future of innovation in Central New York. From naming opportunities within the space to programmatic support, we can find a level of engagement that works for you. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Kelly Fumarola at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It was an honor to have Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh visit The Tech Garden to present the winners of the inaugural cohort of the Syracuse Surge Accelerator with a City Proclamation in recognition of their acceptance into the program. The launch of this program is an exciting culmination of local individuals and organizations working together to build Inclusive Growth in our community. We are so impressed with these companies and can't wait to witness and support their continuing achievements. Tuesday, August 22, 2023 is officially Syracuse Surge Accelerator Day! Congratulations to all! 🎉
Pictured from left: Arel Moodie (Talkadot); Dr. Brandy Young (Certainty Analytical Labs); Liztazia Stephens, Janna Stephens, Hasan Stephens (HippoH Apparel); Dr. Emad Rahim (CenterState CEO); Me'Shae Brooks-Rolling (UMEA); Celestin Abwe (Clutch Delivery); Mayor Ben Walsh; Yamillet Payano (Sign-Speak)
$32 Million Project Will Add 46,000 Square-Feet of Space to the Facility, Including the Addition of a Second and Third Floor
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that construction has officially kicked off for the transformational expansion of CenterState CEO’s Tech Garden in downtown Syracuse. The project will include a two-story, 46,000 square-foot addition, renovations to the facility’s existing space, and updates to the on-site mechanical and security systems. Expansion of The Tech Garden, which is home to the New York state supported GENIUS NY competition, also includes a 5,000-square-foot roof terrace for uncrewed aerial systems companies to launch and test drones, a 3,000-square-foot meeting room with seating for up to 180, private tenant offices for 35 additional resident startups, coworking areas, an expanded hardware space for prototype and product development, and a new entrance. The building will receive an entirely new façade that will better reflect the world- class innovation ecosystem supported by the building. The expanded space will also allow for enhanced programming to support inclusive entrepreneurial growth, at all stages of their startup journey and regardless of industry.
“The expansion of CenterState CEO’s Tech Garden facility will be critical to our strategy to make Upstate New York the next major hub for innovative, high-tech, 21st century businesses,” Governor Hochul said. “With these new state-of-the-art facilities and additional seats for start-up companies, CenterState CEO will be able to continue its important work to expand the innovation economy in Central New York and set promising, early-stage businesses on a path for success. My administration is committed to supporting organizations like CenterState working to spark growth, empower businesses, and boost the local economy.”
The expanded facility will serve as the anchor of Syracuse's City Center Innovation Hub, a core component of the Syracuse Surge economic development strategy and will serve as the gateway to the "Innovation Alley" on Warren Street in Syracuse. This project will work to connect major assets like the Marriott Syracuse Downtown Hotel and Convention Center, while expanding the ability of the incubator to accept new businesses. It will continue to be the central hub for the GENIUS NY program, bringing UAS companies from around the country and world to Syracuse, as well as the new Syracuse Surge Accelerator, a one-year in-person accelerator that supports Black-Indigenous-Persons of Color (BIPOC) entrepreneurs in launching tech-related and tech-adjacent startups.
Inaugural cohort comprised of five teams from Central and Upstate New York.
The accelerator is a core program of Syracuse Surge, the city’s strategy for inclusive growth in the New Economy.
CenterState CEO announced the five companies selected to participate in the first year of the new and innovative Syracuse Surge Accelerator program. These companies will participate in the yearlong accelerator, which provides direct resources and support to Black-Indigenous-Persons of Color (BIPOC) entrepreneurs who want to launch and accelerate tech-related and tech-adjacent startups.
“Our city and region are growing as a high-tech hub, creating exciting opportunities for higher paying careers and for new businesses to take root here,” said Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh. “Nationally less than 25% of tech startups are founded by people of color—we must do better in Syracuse to ensure inclusive growth in the New Economy. The Syracuse Surge Accelerator is the right kind of investment to help breakdown systemic and social barriers that have kept founders of color away from the tech space and out of the workforce. I look forward to helping these entrepreneurs grow scalable businesses and thrive here in Syracuse.”
Starting Aug. 22, 2023, the five selected companies will begin their 12-month experience at CenterState CEO’s The Tech Garden, where they will have access to extensive programming and resources, including an ignition grant, stipends and other resources totaling $90,000. Support for the Surge Accelerator is provided by JP Morgan Chase Foundation and Microsoft. All five finalists are from Upstate New York region.
“We are excited and honored to work with such a diverse group of local startups,” said Dr. Emad Rahim, Syracuse Surge Entrepreneurship Manager, at CenterState CEO. “The technologies represented by our entrepreneurs provide a glimpse of emerging trends in innovation and creativity that are developing right here in Upstate New York. We look forward to showcasing these unique businesses and their leaders who will help foster inclusion in our local entrepreneurship ecosystem.”
The five selected finalists are:
Certainty Analytical Labs (Rochester, NY) is a B2B life science laboratory that offers 3rd party compliance testing services to the environmental, food, pharmaceutical, and cannabis industry. Certainty is a regulated testing laboratory that provides quality assured data, regulatory support, research and development support, and laboratory consulting services. The firm is positioned to mitigate legal risk, provide regulatory safeguards, streamline market entry, and help build & protect emerging brands. Certainty takes the worry of laboratory compliance testing away, while clients watch their margins grow.
Founder: Dr. Brandy Young
Clutch Delivery LLC (Syracuse, NY) is designed to provide higher education institutions with a dining experience that goes beyond the traditional on-campus options. Using advanced location-based technology, Clutch delivers to areas that are not accessible by competitors, such as Doordash and Grubhub. Using a unique approach that hires students as food delivery drivers ensures that Clutch can access all the buildings on each campus. Our student delivery service also supports campus security needs.
Founder: Celestin Abwe
HippoH Apparel, LLC (Clay, NY) is a boutique streetwear brand that seeks to empower and lend voice to "Emergents”--up-and-coming BIPOC creatives and influencers-- while also supplying the most stylish streetwear culture and apparel to the masses. Through wearable technology collaborations, "Emergents" can get their content directly to culture and style enthusiasts, building the HippoH Nation fan base. Imagine a culture that is not just seen and heard, but also worn.
Co-founders: Hasan Stephens and Liztazia Ramirez-Stephens
Sign-Speak Inc. (Rochester, NY) is a real time Sign Language recognition, avatar, and transcription solution that allows Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D/HH) individuals to communicate with businesses in on-demand situations. With Sign-Speak, businesses and local governments can ensure that D/HH customers receive information from, and convey information to, their employees and officials.
Co-founder: Yamillet Payano
Talkadot (Jamesville, NY) is a SaaS that helps public speakers collect audience data and testimonials, create real-time data reports on the effectiveness of their presentations and capture people in the audience who want to book them to speak. This allows speakers to become evidence-based presenters and bring clarity to the events space in the way review-platform Trustpilot does for consumer businesses.
Co-founder: Arel Moodie
Throughout the program teams will have access to free workspace at The Tech Garden, experts and other founders specific to their industry, executive advisors, recruiting, marketing and fundraising support, programming and events, as well as other perks like access to platforms such as PitchBook, and offer companies AWS credits. The goal is to help underrepresented BPOIC entrepreneurs grow and sustain their startups in Syracuse, New York.
“This is such an exciting time of growth for Syracuse and Central New York, particularly in the tech space,” said Robert Simpson, president of CenterState CEO. “It's imperative that this growth is felt across our community. The Surge Accelerator is helping to finance BIPOC innovators and entrepreneurs that are developing unique technologies and business solutions that not only support their success here in our region but contribute to the economy of tomorrow.”
To learn more about the Syracuse Surge Accelerator visit The Tech Garden website.
About CenterState CEO
CenterState CEO is Central New York's premier business leadership and economic development organization, committed to creating a region where business thrives, and all people prosper. Its vision is to be recognized as a visionary leader, effective advocate, exceptional employer and a force for positive outcomes for the community. www.centerstateceo.com
About Syracuse Surge
Syracuse Surge is an inclusive community plan to ignite economic growth and neighborhood transformation in the city of Syracuse and the Central New York region. It builds on a massive investment in technology infrastructure to drive new strategic investment.
Today we announce the 10 semi-finalists for the first cohort of the Syracuse Surge Accelerator at CenterState CEO’s The Tech Garden! This diverse group of startup companies are creating and developing wide-ranging innovations in technology. All semi–finalists are from New York State, with eight based in Central New York.
The Syracuse Surge Accelerator is a one-year in-person accelerator to provide direct resources and support for Black-Indigenous-Persons of Color (BIPOC) entrepreneurs who want to launch and accelerate tech-related and tech-adjacent startups. This includes funding, workshops, mentoring, coaching/advising and strategic connections with potential business partners,
The teams will now go through the next round of judging. Five finalists will be announced in the coming weeks for participation in the 12-month in-person accelerator. Congratulations to these exceptional entrepreneurs!
Ask Nettie LLC (Saratoga Springs NY)
Cejour Inc. (Queens, NY)
Certainty Analytical Labs (Rochester, NY)
Clutch Delivery LLC (Syracuse, NY)
HippoH Apparel, LLC (Clay, NY)
KAYA Fertilizers, LLC (Syracuse, NY)
Nightflyy (Syracuse, NY)
Sign-Speak Inc. (Victor, NY)
Sustainable Energy & Agriculture Technology, LLC (Camillus, NY)
Talkadot (Jamesville, NY)
Read more about the Syracuse Surge Accelerator on our website.
Empire State Development Announces Five Teams Selected to Compete in Round Seven of GENIUS NY Accelerator
Selected Teams from Around the World Will Compete for a Total of $3 Million in Investments and Participate in Yearlong UAS Accelerator in CNY
Program is supported by “CNY Rising” the region’s comprehensive strategy to revitalize the community and grow the economy
Empire State Development (ESD) today announced the five teams selected to take part in round seven of the innovative GENIUS NY business accelerator program. Supported by the CNY Rising Upstate Revitalization Initiative and administered by CenterState CEO and The Tech Garden in downtown Syracuse, these startup, uncrewed systems industry companies will participate in a yearlong program. The five finalists include teams with international and New York state representation and were selected from a pool of more than 450 submissions. They will compete for $3 million in direct investment, with one grand prize of up to $1 million and four $500,000 awards. The program is the largest business accelerator for the UAS industry in the world. GENIUS NY participants are required to commit to operating their business in Central New York for at least one year.
“The GENIUS NY accelerator has helped to establish Central New York as a hub for uncrewed aerial systems by attracting the next generation of innovative entrepreneurs,” said, Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Hope Knight. “New York State’s ongoing UAS investment will ensure that continued industry leadership, bringing top-quality jobs and growth to the region and beyond.”
Starting July 12, the five selected companies will move into downtown Syracuse where they will begin to refine work on their business cases, which they present at the Pitch Finals event on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023.
Kara Jones, director of GENIUS NY, said, “This round’s teams bring an exciting new mix of technologies being developed in the uncrewed systems space,” said Kara Jones, director of GENIUS NY. “We are excited for their arrival in Central New York in just a few short weeks, and to work with them over the coming year as they connect with local businesses and partners on strategic opportunities for collaboration and growth. Our goal is to not only support startups so they succeed in the UAS industry, but so that they can do so right here in our region, well after their participation in the program.”
We've moved! But this is only temporary. Preparations for The Tech Garden building expansion at 235 Harrison St. are underway. While we wait for our amazing new space to be built out, The Tech Garden will be housed at Equitable Tower 1 on the 8th floor. For more information and details, visit our dedicated page for updates.
New Program Seeks Minority Entrepreneurs in Tech
Program is part of Syracuse Surge’s efforts to position Syracuse as America’s Smartest City
Apply here: http://bit.ly/surgeforward2023
Syracuse, NY – CenterState CEO is now taking applications for a new program to address the lack of diversity in the technology industry and help strengthen a city-wide collaborative effort to make Syracuse America’s Smartest City. Known as the Syracuse Surge Accelerator, the program will empower Black-Indigenous-Persons of Color (BIPOC) entrepreneurs to launch and accelerate new or existing tech-related startups within the city of Syracuse.
“The Syracuse Surge Accelerator is an inclusive, dynamic tech program with the focused resources and tools BIPOC startup founders need to grow and thrive,” said Dr. Emad Rahim, Syracuse Surge Entrepreneurship Manager at CenterState CEO. “We know there are significantly few tech startups with minority founders. Through this program we seek to drive change and create opportunities for those innovators to turn their ideas into businesses right here in Syracuse, New York.”
Today, fewer than 25% of tech startups in the United States have founders of color, a phenomenon that is fueled by structural and cultural barriers. Rahim said the goal of the accelerator program is to help remove the structural and cultural barriers that make it more difficult for a minority to enter the tech industry. Over the course of the 12-month immersive experience, entrepreneurs will have access to the programming and resources at CenterState CEO’s The Tech Garden. The Syracuse Surge Accelerator will provide entrepreneurs with culturally competent programming as well as capital during the various stages of their development, contributing to the city-wide Syracuse Surge initiative.
Syracuse Surge was announced in 2019 by the city of Syracuse, Onondaga County, CenterState CEO, and the JP Morgan Chase Foundation as a new strategy to position the city as a destination for inclusive growth for minority, women, veteran and disabled owned (XBE) tech businesses in the New Economy. Their collaborative efforts plan to position Syracuse as an inclusive and emerging market for business, technology and innovation.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to announce the launch of our new Syracuse Surge Accelerator program. I truly believe this program will put Syracuse at the forefront to serve as an inspiration to cities across the country,” said Rahim. “We encourage people to apply as soon as possible.”
Applicants are encouraged to submit an electronic application by May 31, 2023 that can be found in this link. Qualified applicants will be selected and announced by CenterState CEO and the Syracuse Surge Accelerator program by in mid-June. The first cohort will begin the program, August 2023.
Learn more about the Syracuse Surge Accelerator here: Syracuse Surge Accelerator - The Tech Garden
About Syracuse Surge
Syracuse Surge is a city-wide initiative which strives to make Syracuse one of America’s ‘smartest’ cities and a global leader in the New Economy. The city of Syracuse, in collaboration with Onondaga County and leading local institutions, is working to ensure inclusive growth in the New Economy. The New Economy refers to high-growth industries that are on the cutting edge of technology and are driving forces of economic growth and productivity. The New Economy focuses on technological advancement to create new products and services. Syracuse Surge seeks to take a comprehensive view of growing the smart system by focusing on supply chain, entrepreneurship, innovation and commercialization, infrastructure, and talent development.
About CenterState CEO
CenterState CEO is Central New York's premier business leadership and economic development organization, committed to creating a region where business thrives, and all people prosper. Its vision is to be recognized as a visionary leader, effective advocate, exceptional employer and a force for positive outcomes for our community. Syracuse Surge Accelerator is an initiative of CenterState CEO. www.centerstateceo.com
About The Tech Garden
The Tech Garden is Central New York’s hub for tech entrepreneurs to find a full range of incubation services needed to achieve their venture goals. The Tech Garden is operated by CenterState CEO and located in downtown Syracuse. Members are assessed and offered innovation and entrepreneurship programs, events, and resources in tailored packages, from co-working spaces to full-service incubation and funding opportunities. Programming currently offered by The Tech Garden includes the Innovation Hot Spot, The Clean Tech Center, GENIUS NY, and Grants for Growth.
CenterState CEO is excited to announce that The Tech Garden expansion project is scheduled to begin this spring. This expansion will add two additional stories to the building at 235 Harrison Street in downtown Syracuse and increase the structure size from 30,000 to 76,000 square-feet. The work is expected to be completed in the fall of 2024. In creating a larger and more modernized space, CenterState CEO will be able to reimagine and expand its reach in the community, encompassing not only incubation, acceleration and support of tech startups, but also of non-tech startups and small businesses run by founders from underrepresented populations.
When complete, the new state-of-the-art building will have more meeting rooms, coworking areas, and private offices for tenants. An expanded hardware space will enable prototype and product development. A 5,000-square-foot roof terrace will provide companies working in uncrewed aerial systems the space they need to launch and test drones. This additional space will support our efforts to provide more resources to more companies at all stages of growth and across new disciplines. The Tech Garden incubator will remain an integral part of our ecosystem, existing in the new building, and we will continue to administer the programs currently run through our innovation and entrepreneurial portfolio (i.e. Innovation Hot Spot, Grants for Growth, GENIUS NY, etc.)
For current members of The Tech Garden (in particular, our on-site tenants), we know there will be some disruptions to “business as usual” once this expansion project begins. We will communicate with you directly to provide clear updates on plans, timelines, and logistics to make this transition as seamless as possible and will share new information when available. Please visit our Updates & FAQ page for current information.
We look forward to this new phase of growth and are excited to have our amazing network of members, mentors, EIRs, and partners with us as we move into an exciting future together!
Rendering of proposed building redesign provided by QPK