$3 million in prizes awarded to seven winning companies to conclude the two-day Grow-NY Food and Ag Summit
ITHACA, N.Y. (Nov. 17, 2022) – Governor Kathy Hochul today announced Hempitecture a winner of $500,000 at its fourth annual Grow-NY business competition, an innovation and technology startup challenge focused on enhancing the emerging food, beverage, and agriculture hub in Central New York, the Finger Lakes, and the Southern Tier regions of New York state. Hempitecture was one of seven finalists to take home prize money at the conclusion of the two-day Grow-NY Food and Ag Summit held in Syracuse, New York on Nov. 15 and 16. The Grow-NY competition is funded by Empire State Development and administered by Cornell University.
“We are thrilled by Grow-NY’s honorable recognition and this opportunity to grow Hempitecture’s footprint on the East Coast,” says Mattie Mead, founder and CEO of Hempitecture. “Returning to New York is very nostalgic for our team––this is where the concept for the brand was born and expanding here is a full circle moment for us. We are excited for what the future holds and are prepared to hit the ground running with Hempitecture in New York and beyond.”
Twenty finalists pitched their business plans to a live audience and panel of judges during the Summit held at the Oncenter in Syracuse. The event attracted nearly 900 attendees and featured more than 60 food and agricultural displays in an Ecosystem Expo, along with an enriching symposium of panel sessions tackling some of the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the agrifood system in Upstate New York and throughout the Northeast.
Grow-NY awarded a total of $3 million in prize money, including a $1 million grand prize, two $500,000 awards, and four $250,000 prizes. Upon accepting the award, winners commit to making a quantifiable, enduring regional impact in Central New York, the Finger Lakes, and the Southern Tier during a 12 -month period of the agreement, creating lasting economic opportunity in the region.
Hempitecture is on a mission to use plant-based resources to replace toxic, synthetic materials used in
industries such as construction, food delivery services, and pharmaceuticals. By designing,
manufacturing, and distributing biobased thermal insulation products like HempWool®, Hempitecture is helping industries optimize performance with a lower embodied carbon and creating a healthier future for all.
As a winning business of this year’s Grow-NY competition, Hempitecture further develop an east coast manufacturing and distribution hub to expand our footprint nationwide. Hempitecture will also work closely with Cornell College of Agricultural Life Sciences to advance their innovative research on industrial hemp, while also helping bring industrial hemp to scale as an end-market buyer of processed hemp fiber. This incredible investment in Hempitecture from Grow.NY will further foster job growth, connection with local industry partners, and contribute to a thriving economy. For more information on Hempitecture, please visit hempitecture.com.
Judges based award decisions on the following five criteria:
The viability of the startup’s business model
The diversity, quality, completeness, and readiness of the startup team
The value that the startup offers customers
The agrifood innovation that the startup has invented
The job growth and opportunity potential that the startup can bring to the region
During a 10-week acceleration phase leading up to the competition, all finalists received dedicated mentorship from hand-selected regional business advisors. This mentorship included pitch training to hone live presentation skills, along with an expenses-paid, multi-day business development trip to the Grow-NY region. The trip allowed finalists to meet with potential partners, customers, manufacturers, and producers. In December, Grow-NY winners will begin executing their business plans in the region, leveraging the connections they made during their business development trips to deliver on the economic development milestones they pitched at the event.
"The Grow-NY process was one of the most rewarding elements of the competition. We met so many people from economic development officials, academic thought leaders working in adjacent industries, and the Grow-NY organizational team," Mattie Mead reflects on his experience preparing for Grow-NY. "This process highlighted the diverse talent pool that exists in New York, making it an ideal location to set up a business. We are so thankful for the support of our Grow-NY mentor, the Hempitecture team who contributed in many ways, and for the opportunity to locate in the Grow-NY region thanks in part to the Grow-NY award!"
Grow-NY is an unprecedented business competition focused on enhancing the emerging food and agriculture innovation cluster present in Central New York, the Finger Lakes, and the Southern Tier. For the fourth consecutive year, Grow-NY broke its record for applications, attracting 390 applicants from 25 different states and 52 countries around the world.
“Grow-NY finalists and winners continue to surpass our expectations on all fronts, successfully leveraging the strengths of the region to scale their ventures, adding jobs, attracting investment, and reinforcing New York’s role as a global agrifood leader,” said Jenn Smith, Program Director, Grow-NY. “I offer my most enthusiastic congratulations to this year’s winners.”
Empire State Development funds the Grow-NY competition through its Upstate Revitalization Initiative (URI), CNY Rising, Finger Lakes Forward, and Southern Tier Soaring. Cornell University’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement administers the competition. All winners will work to make a positive economic impact in the Grow-NY region, which consists of 22 counties that serve as home to vibrant farmlands, abundant freshwater, and several rising cities, including Rochester, Syracuse, Ithaca, Geneva, and Binghamton. The winning businesses will help foster job growth, connect with local industry partners, and contribute to a thriving economy.
To learn more about the winners, mentors and judges, and plans for year five of the competition, visit grow-ny.com.
About Empire State Development
Empire State Development (ESD) promotes a vigorous and growing state economy, encourages business investment and job creation, and supports diverse, prosperous local economies across New York State through the efficient use of loans, grants, tax credits, real estate development, marketing and other forms of assistance. To learn more about ESD visit https://esd.ny.gov.
About the Cornell Center for Regional Economic Advancement
The Cornell Center for Regional Economic Advancement (CREA) supports economic impact in Upstate New York through entrepreneurship and innovation. We help people advance ideas that will create jobs in all fields in our region, to enrich the area’s economic diversity. To learn more, visit https://crea.cornell.edu.