Innovation Hotspots in New York: Helping Entrepreneurs Grow Their Businesses

The New York State Business Incubator and Innovation Hot Spot Support Program was first enacted as part of the 2013-2014 New York State budget to strengthen industry-academic collaboration through funding business incubation throughout the state. Empire State Development (ESD) intended the program to provide valuable support and guidance to early stage startups commercializing academic research by connecting them to an incubator in one of the 10 Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC). The end goal of the innovation hotspots is to help early stage companies successfully transition to large scale commercialization, ultimately resulting in job growth within New York.

Business Incubators

Syracuse Technology Garden, signage outside building
The Syracuse Tech Garden is one of five innovation hotspots in New York State.

In 2014 five incubators received innovation hotspot designation, including the Syracuse Tech Garden located on Harrison Street in downtown Syracuse. The designated incubators will be eligible for operating grants from ESD to subsidize crucial support for early stage companies, including business, legal, and marketing mentoring. This translates to much needed help with aspects of business and strategy many inventors are not familiar or comfortable with.

For startups and entrepreneurs seeking to commercialize academic technology, the incubators give guidance on validation of products, determining and targeting the right market, how to budget for and map out your business strategy, and where to go for additional resources. The incubators also provide their startups with exposure to investors and various grant opportunities to help get off the ground.

Innovation Hotspots

Innovation hotspots are designated tax-free zones, exempting participating startups from business and sales taxes for a five-year period. Businesses that successfully complete the incubator program are granted a “fast track” into the START-UP NY program, making them eligible for multiple tax break incentives for an additional 10 year period.

Legal Advice at The Tech Garden

The Wladis Law Firm represents over 350 businesses across New York State and has continued to show a commitment to helping the startup ecosystem in Central New York. The Firm maintains regular office hours in the Tech Garden every Thursday from 10 AM to 1 PM, providing free advice and consultations to Tech Garden tenants. If a tenant has more complex matters they need dealt with, the Wladis Law Firm offers a substantially discounted rate, keeping in mind both the cash-strapped nature of startups and the Firm’s goal of getting more companies up and running in Central New York.

If you have any questions or are interested in learning more about whether your business can take advantage of an innovation hotspot, contact one of the attorneys here at the Wladis Law Firm by calling (315) 445-1700 or by visiting our website,