ITHACA — Companies from Ontario and Wayne counties are among the finalists of a food innovation and agriculture technology startup competition offering a top prize of $1 million, two $500,000 prizes and four $250,000 prizes.
Empire State Development and Cornell University’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement announced Wednesday morning the 20 finalists for year three of Grow-NY.
Nutreat, from Geneva, and Agri-Trak, from Williamson, were selected from 330 entries representing 32 countries, including Singapore, Israel, and Switzerland. In the U.S., 23 states were represented, including 138 from New York.
The finalists will pitch their business plans at the Grow-NY Food and Ag Summit in November in Syracuse, said Empire State Development and Cornell University’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement.
Selected from Ontario County was Nutreat, a line of low-glycemic, healthy, sweet snacks that the company says “leverage science-driven innovation, 100% natural, real, whole food ingredients, and a commitment to uncompromising flavor and can be enjoyed on the go.”
The team of Cátia and Rodolfo Coelho, founders of Nutreat, said they are “thrilled to see the work we do to take preventive nutrition to all our consumers recognized by Cornell University’s Grow-NY competition. We are humbled and motivated by the quality of our peer finalists, which will help shape the future of the food and ag industry in the region. Nutreat is a line of diabetes-friendly snacks that simplify eating healthy for those watching their blood sugar. We use science to create our products and develop a true ‘know-like-trust’ relationship with our consumers.”
Nutreat is made at the Cornell Food Venture Center pilot plant at Cornell AgriTech in Geneva, and the company said it also has its research and development facility at the site.
From Wayne County, Agri-Trak is a farm management application suite developed especially for the apple industry. According to the company, the “suite includes customizable modules that provide real-time information in easy-to-read widgets allowing farms to make daily data-informed decisions.”
Its owner, Jamie Sonneville, is pleased to be among the companies selected.
“I am thrilled to be named one of the 20 finalists in the Grow-NY competition, and I remain dedicated to enhancing the efficiency of farms across the region,” Sonneville said. “I am also excited to influence the industry with the farm data points we collect, as we will be able to provide data that was once difficult to obtain.”
This is the third year for Grow-NY, a food innovation and agriculture technology business challenge “focused on enhancing the emerging food, beverage and agriculture innovation cluster in the Finger Lakes, Central New York and the Southern Tier.”
Geneva’s RealEats grabbed the top prize of $1 million in the inaugural competition in 2019.
Empire State Development Chief Operating Officer and Executive Deputy Commissioner Kevin Younis said the competition “has once again attracted a group of exceptional startups and entrepreneurial talent from around the world.”
Added Jenn Smith, program director for Grow-NY: “In our third year, Grow-NY has matured to become globally recognized, attracting best-in-class innovators and putting upstate New York at the top of the list for food and ag startups worldwide.”
A number of regional businesses are also among the 20 finalists. They are Ascribe Bioscience of Ithaca; Crystal Creek Organics of Rochester; DraughtLab of Webster; Heat Inverse of Ithaca; and WeRadiate of Rochester.
All finalists will receive mentoring from a business advisor; additional training to hone their live pitches for the judges; business development support and workshops to connect them to potential partners and opportunities; and more.