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.