Startups Compete for Million-Dollar Prize at Grow-NY Summit Startups Compete for Million-Dollar Prize at Grow-NY Summit

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — Young companies from across the country flocked to Syracuse on Tuesday in an attempt to plant their innovative ideas.

Seven of the businesses will bring home a large sum of money to implement those ideas after the Grow-NY Food and Ag Summit concludes Thursday morning.

The 2022 version of the summit is putting climate change at the forefront of its approach to improving the agriculture and food industries in Central New York and across the country, Program Director Jenn Smith said.

“We’re focusing this symposium of panel conversations and fireside chats on looking at the intersection of food and farming and innovation and entrepreneurship, as we always do, but this year, adding a new dimension — which is the climate crisis,” Smith said. “How do these technologies and products interact with the climate crisis drive us towards Net Zero [carbon emissions]?”

The presenting startups are also tackling issues including equity, microplastics in the food supply, labor shortages, cost-effectiveness and sustainability.

One presenter, Jonas Guenther, from Germany via Brooklyn, laid out his company’s indoor farming plan to address these problems.

“Yields all across the board are going down  we need to find more resilient forms of agriculture,” Guenther said. “And micro-algae are phenomenal in that they can be cultivated with less carbon impact with lower water usage. They can be grown efficiently on non-arable land.”

Guenther is representing We Are The New Farmers, a company he founded and runs, to pitch his micro-algae concept at the summit. His is one of 20 companies who are finalists for prize money at the event. The full lists of finalists is here.

The prizes will pay out as follows: one grand prize of $1 million, two prizes of $500,000 and four prizes of $250,000.

The regional economic development councils of Central New York, the Finger Lakes and the southern tier collectively fund the event and put up the prize money for the event. Cornell University created Grow-NY and organizes the event.


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