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Sweet Pea, Craft Cannery among 20 Grow-NY finalists

Two Rochester-area companies, Sweet Pea and Craft Cannery, are among 20 finalists in the fourth annual Grow-NY Food & Agriculture Competition.

The 20 finalists were announced Wednesday morning from among 390 entrants and will compete for the grand prize of $1 million. There also are two $500,000 prizes and four awards of $250,000.

Sweet Pea, headquartered on Culver Road in Rochester, is a plant-based kitchen that strives to harnesses the power of food as medicine.

Sweet Pea was founded by Mike Linehan with the goal of creating transformative paths to wellness by combining the benefits of its plant-centric food meal service with nutrition coaching.

Craft Cannery, operating in the Genesee County town of Bergen, takes recipes from the kitchen to the shelves of grocery stores, restaurants and farmer’s markets.

Founded by Paul Guglielmo, Craft Cannery specializes in the contract manufacturing of sauces, dressings, marinades, meat sauces, soups and meal-in-a-jar foods.

All Grow-NY finalists are paired with a mentor and will make their pitch in a Shark Tank-style presentation at the Food & Ag Summit in Syracuse on Nov. 15 and 16.

Since Grow-NY is an economic development program, eligible businesses must be in the formative stage and, if awarded a prize, must agree to operate in the Finger Lakes, Southern Tier or Central New York for at least one year. For businesses already located in New York, investments must be made in capital improvements, workforce or a research and development facility.

Of the 20 finalists, 11 are based in New York] and four others are from elsewhere in the United States (two in California, one each in Idaho and Massachusetts). There also are two from Poland and one each from Canada, Israel and Australia.

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76 West opens next round of competition for clean energy companies

The 76West Clean Energy Competition has launched another round, accepting applications from “emerging clean energy companies” that are willing to relocate to or expand connections with the Southern Tier in exchange for a prize of up to $1 million.

Applications will be accepted through March 2, and 20 finalists will be brought to the Southern Tier in the spring for mentoring, and compete in June at a business pitch competition. Four winners are to be announced in the fall. One of the four will win $1 million and three others will get $500,000 each. Fewer winners will be picked this year so the size of the prizes can be increased.

The competition began in 2016 as part of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Green New Deal, but its success in generating jobs and economic activity in the Southern Tier has resulted in another $20 million in funding to run the competition for another four years.

“The 76West competition is not only creating jobs and economic development in the Southern Tier, it is building excitement within the entrepreneurial ecosystem that New York is the place to be for innovation” said Alicia Barton, president and CEO of New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, which leads the competition. “As more extreme weather events wreak havoc on New York, Governor Cuomo’s commitment to supporting clean energy solutions, such as those developed by 76West winners, is vital to helping communities throughout the state and beyond become more resilient.”

Some previous winners include East Rochester’s EkoStinger, which makes attachments to tractor-trailer trucks that improve their aerodynamics and reduce energy consumption. With five months of being award $1 million in 2018, EkoStinger opened a new plant in Horseheads.

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