In 2011, Governor Cuomo established the Regional Economic Development Councils and over the last 7 years $5.4 billion has been awarded to more than 6,300 projects, which will create or retain 220,000 jobs in NYS.  These performance-based grants and tax credits are awarded to the projects that meet the region’s strategic priorities.   The applications get scored on a regional level before they go to the state level for the final score.  To learn more about the projects that were recently awarded in Cayuga County and the CNY region, visit

A common question is, “Do they give grants for startup businesses?”

Sometimes! The same process and requirements go for startups, though.  The project must meet the region’s priorities and it must create jobs.  That’s going to require a solid business plan with good market research and financial projections, plus a majority of the funding sources should be lined up.  Sadly, the survival rate of new businesses is low.  After 2 years, about 75% of startups are still in business; after 3 years, 68%; and only 50% of new businesses are still around at the 5-year mark.  Startups are a riskier investment for NYS.

Survival rates of establishments, by year started and number of years since starting, 1994-2015 source:

Also, startups don’t create jobs like larger, more established businesses.  Almost 80% of small businesses are self-employed individuals.

79.66 percent of small businesses in the U.S. are self-employed; source:–aug2012.pdf?sfvrsn=2

Although most startups do not qualify for grant funding, there are many pathways to raise capital for a startup.  It is important, however, to always begin with a solid business plan. For more information about how small businesses get funding, read my article “What grants are available to your business?,” or contact me for a free and confidential appointment to discuss starting your business in Cayuga County.

Maureen Riester is a SCORE mentor and the Cayuga Economic Development Agency’s Business Development Specialist, focusing on bringing new business to Auburn and Cayuga County. She can be contacted at (315) 252-3500 or