( Courtesy of Grow-NY )

Anyone with an innovative food and agriculture startup business that can work for at least one year in upstate New York can compete in Grow-NY for a chance to win a $1 million top prize. 

The deadline to submit a funding application is July 15, according to a news release.

Grow-NY is a global business competition focused on growing and enhancing the food and agriculture innovation cluster in New York’s Finger Lakes, Central New York and Southern Tier regions. 

Entrants will compete to win up to $1 million each year during the program’s initial three-year run, with finalists pitching their ideas as they compete for the biggest prize.

Empire State Development is funding the competition through its Upstate Revitalization Initiative, and Cornell University’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement will administer it, according to the release.

The competition seeks plans to grow jobs, connect with local industry partners and contribute to the Upstate New York economy. Grow-NY plans to leverage its academic and commercial resources in food and agriculture to fuel startups and establish New York as a destination for food and agriculture companies, according to the release.

Up to 20 finalists will be selected this summer to compete for several levels of start-up funding — including the $1 million grand prize, to be awarded in November. Start-up firms must operate or do business within the region for at least a year to qualify.

The Grow-NY region of 22 counties has:

  • 260 food and beverage manufacturers;
  • 16,400 farms and agriculture-based businesses;
  • 11,200-plus food manufacturing jobs;
  • 197,745 total agriculture sector jobs;
  • 7.2 million acres of farmland; and
  • $5.7 billion in agricultural production value.

To learn more, visit Grow-NY.