Grow-NY, a food and agriculture business competition, selected 20 finalists from more than 260 startups and entrepreneurs that applied from around the globe, for the chance to win a $1 million top prize and $2 million in other prizes.
Jenn Smith, director of Grow-NY, and Brian Bauer, director of competitions at Cornell University’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement, co-hosted the virtual event announcement on Sept. 16.
“When we look at the applications, we’re seeing applicants from more than 27 countries and 26 states in the United States,” Smith said.
- AgTrace, Florianopolis, Brazil: Traceability that incorporates farming information and captures, stores and processes data while connecting stakeholders;
- Halomine, Ithaca, N.Y: Anti-microbial product developer for food safety;
- Leep Foods, Rochester, N.Y.: Organic mushroom grower using regenerative soil methods on nutrient-enriched American hardwoods;
- PureSpace, Busan, South Korea: Service to extend shelf-life by decomposing ethylene gas, airborne mold and viruses; and
- Ripe.io, New York, N.Y.: Platform to access transparent and reliable information on the origin, journey and quality of food.
“We had some really strong business contenders this year. The competition was fierce,” Smith said.
A team of judges chose the finalists using these criteria:
- Viability of commercialization and the business model;
- Customer value;
- Food and agriculture innovation;
- Potential for regional job creation; and
- Quality and completeness of the team and readiness to deliver.
The finalists will move on to the next round, a live business pitch.
They will be paired with a mentor to refine their business models and get to know the region and explore partnerships and opportunities, Bauer said.
“By supporting startups with their next level of growth, this competition is investing in businesses that will provide quality jobs and build a network innovation in our region,” Smith said.
The pitch competition will be presented at the virtual Grow-NY Food and Ag Summit, Nov. 17-18, which is free this year.
Visit Grow-NY.com to register or learn more.