Grow-NY Food & Agriculture Competition

Deadline Date: May 15, 2024

Donor Name: Grow-NY

Grant Size: $500,000 to $1 million

Apply for the Grow-NY Food & Agriculture business competition focused on growing an enduring food and agriculture innovation cluster in the Grow-NY region.

The competition attracts innovative, high-growth food and agriculture startups from across the globe and engages them in the region’s rapidly-growing startup ecosystem. $1 million top prize, mentorship, and business development support.

Winning companies commit to making a positive impact in the growing startup hub located in New York state’s Finger Lakes, Central NY, and Southern Tier regions.

Annual Prize Awards

  • Each year, Grow-NY will award $3 million in prize money to seven winners, all payable in stages based on business milestones.
    • One grand prize of $1 million
    • Two $500,000 prizes
    • Four $250,000 prizes

Competition Benefits & Support

  • All finalists (up to 20 companies) receive:
    • Dedicated support and coaching from an experienced mentor
    • Additional pitch training to hone your live pitch for the judges
    • An expenses paid three-day business development trip to the region
  • Up to two team members from finalist teams will travel to the region for networking introductions, business tours with potential partners, and valuable appointments


  • The Competition is open to all startups located in any state or country in the world that meet the Grow-NY definition of ‘Food and Agricultural Field’, are early-stage, and have a scalable business model.
  • As used in these Terms and Conditions, the term “Food and Agriculture Field” is defined as follows:
    • Physical products, hardware technologies, software technologies, services, or processes that relate to or impact products that are derived from cultivating plants or enhance human life, such as:
      • Food, including but not limited to fruits, vegetables, grains and cereal crops, meats and dairy products, honey and farmed fish, packaged and prepared food products for distribution
      • Fuels, including but not limited to ethanol, produced from corn, sugarcane, or sorghum, and agricultural byproducts like straw, sugarcane
      • Fibers, including but not limited to fiber crops such as cotton, wool, silk, hemp, flax and bamboo
      • Raw materials, including but not limited to livestock feed
      • Processes or systems that improve the development, growth, production, distribution, delivery, or processing
  • The term “Food and Agriculture Field” also includes hardware technologies, software technologies, services, or processes that are new, novel, or otherwise benefit agriculture, food, or their related industries.
  • Eligible Applicants Meet Two of the Four Qualifying Criteria
    • To be eligible for the Competition, an applicant must be a registered, formative stage business entity that can enter into the Investment Agreement, such as a corporation or limited liability company (LLC), that meets two or more of the following criteria:
      • Less than seven years from date of formal organization
      • Has its first product or service in testing or pilot production
      • Pre-revenue or early revenue
      • Has a leadership team working towards commercialization and profitability.
    • The Competition defines a business in the formative stage as a company in the startup or early stage of development with a product, service, software, or research that may or may not be in the commercial marketplace, which can show continued and steady maturity towards commercialization and profitability either by product development, external funding or product sales.
    • If the business is a spin-off from an existing business that does not meet the above criteria, the new entity must be pursuing a substantially new technology or business model.
  • Eligibility Requirements for Industrial Hemp-Related Businesses
    • To be eligible for the Competition, businesses engaged in growing, processing, producing, distributing or selling industrial hemp (or products derived from industrial hemp) must (1) demonstrate appropriate New York State licenses or be currently authorized Research Partners with the Department of Agriculture and Markets, and (2) not manufacture, distribute or sell industrial hemp based products (including but not limited to unapproved drugs, cosmetics, foods, and products marketed as dietary supplements) in violation of federal Food and Drug Administration regulations or other state or federal laws and regulations.

For more information, visit Grow-NY.

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