RG&E and NextCorps Announce Milestone of $1M Awarded to Rochester Area Startups, Fostering Innovation and Fortifying Upstate NY Economy

Ignition Grants Support Local Entrepreneurs in Building Businesses Through NextCorps, Helping Them Bring Their Ideas to Life in Top Tech Hub


ROCHESTER, NY — June 28, 2023 — Rochester Gas and Electric (RG&E) and NextCorps, a non-profit incubator and accelerator for technology startups and entrepreneurs in the Rochester and Finger Lakes Region of Upstate New York, today announced that a major milestone has been reached in its support to the Rochester community, awarding more than $1 million in grants to entrepreneurs who are building their businesses with assistance from NextCorps. These grants fill a critical gap by providing initial funding to get a business off the ground – which is a difficult step for founders to attract funding from investors at the very early stage. Through the Economic Development Innovation & Entrepreneurship Program and several other economic development funding assistance programs designed to support growing businesses and attract new ones to the region, RG&E and its sister company New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) contributed more than $14.1M to the communities they serve in 2022 alone.

“Funding and support from RG&E have helped dozens of hard-working entrepreneurs create solutions and launch businesses that strengthen our local economy and enhance our community’s reputation as a world-class destination for high-tech startups,” said Matt Foley, managing director of Incubation Services at NextCorps. “This impressive funding milestone reflects RG&E’s dedication to our community and our joint commitment to innovation.” 

“We are committed to supporting the continual growth and development of Upstate New York. Our long-standing collaboration with NextCorps provides a powerful way to make a difference by supporting up-and-coming businesses, which creates a job and economic vitality engine here,” said Joe Sayre, senior economic development specialist at NYSEG and RG&E. “As RG&E celebrates its 175th Anniversary, it is fitting we also celebrate this important milestone that reflects our commitment to the communities we serve, and to enhancing the health and competitiveness of our region.”

Created in 2021, the $25K grants have provided one-time financial support to 40 entrepreneurs growing their businesses within the NextCorps incubation environment where they receive mentoring, expertise, and introductions to the area’s rich ecosystems of potential partners and investors. Recipients are typically pre-revenue companies in a proof-of-concept stage, selected based on the technical and commercial opportunity of their businesses. The new companies must be located in Rochester’s Downtown Innovation Zone, agree to keep their business in New York state for at least three years, and commit to making a combination of in-kind and cash contributions as a match for their grant award.  

Founders typically leverage the grant funding for business planning, product development, marketing, intellectual property, and patent-related activities. To date, startups funded by Ignition Grants include Little Black Buddha, a black- and woman-owned career services software company; PBJ Pickup, a local startup company that offers a touchless, affordable app-based solution for childcare centers and preschools to track child pickup authorizations; and Perdix Software, makers of MOLI, an information processing system for digital manufacturing. 

NYSEG and RG&E accept applications for this program and award grants on a rolling basis. They continue to partner with NextCorps and other high-tech incubators and accelerators across New York State to support the startup community. Learn more at nextcorps.org.

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