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Cornell partnered with Empire State Development to launch a multi-year annual business competition.

The goal of the competition was to identify, attract, support, and ultimately fund top innovators and technology startups to help make NY their new home for operations. But, with no brand awareness and a short turnaround time, could the “Grow-NY” inaugural competition be successful in drawing a diverse range of entrepreneurs to the emerging food, beverage, and agriculture hub brewing in Central New York, the Finger Lakes, and the Southern Tier? We realized that the key to convincing entrepreneurs of the region’s unique benefits lay in the nature of the state and the region itself—a mixture of old and new, tradition and innovation, agriculture and technology.

To ensure Grow-NY got attention, applicants, and attendance at the culminating Food & Ag Summit, we deployed a fully integrated campaign starting with a suite of materials rolling out the Grow-NY brand. From holding a press conference to announce the competition kickoff with Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, to securing ongoing trade media interviews for the finalists leading up to and at the Summit, connecting with regional influencers, and deploying targeted paid social media efforts, we helped build awareness for the program and ultimately reached, and encouraged, startups to participate in the competition, surpassing the client’s goals for applications and on-site attendees.