Accelerate Long Island was awarded $1.25 million in funding, over five years, from Empire State Development. ESD awarded the funding through round XII of New York State’s Economic Development Council Initiative.

Accelerate is a regional collaboration of research and academic institutions as well as the business community. The organization aims to develop innovation and support the growth of high-tech startups. It was awarded the funding as part of ESD’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation, or NYSTAR.

Distributed over five years, the funding supports annual operating costs for the division’s programs and centers. It also emphasizes the importance of working with industry as a way to leverage New York State’s technology strengths to produce new products and services, according to the state.

“The success of early stage companies throughout New York State only strengthens our economy and NYSTAR’s hot spots and certified business incubators across the regions play an important role,” Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado, statewide chair of the regional council initiative, said in a statement.

The councils “are proud to support efforts to grow companies that advance New York State’s technology sector and ensure that we well prepared for the future,” Delgado said.

“Nothing is more daunting than taking an idea and turning it into a business, and these designations and the funding that follows, demonstrate our continued commitment to supporting budding companies with the support they need to be successful in New York State,” ESD President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said in a statement.

“By supporting NYSTAR’s hot spots and incubators, we are able to assist a larger number of early stage companies and that makes a huge difference in a start-up company’s future,” Knight added.

With this grant, Accelerate will receive $250,000 annually for the next five years as one of the state’s ‘innovation hot spots.” These hot spots are incubators that carry the “additional responsibility to coordinate regional entrepreneurial ecosystems,” according to ESD. The program aims to “improve the quality and quantity of incubator services provided to young companies, enabling these businesses to successfully transition from the start-up phase to larger scale commercialization of their products and services.”

Additional organizations under the hot-spot category include SUNY Albany – Innovate518, SUNY New Paltz, Mohawk Valley Community College – thINCubator, and City University of New York.

Accelerate “has a strong track record of supporting the growth of technology-based startups through funding and mentorship, and this grant will enable the organization to continue to collaborate with our region’s research and academic institutions to grow Long Island’s innovation economy,” said Accelerate Long Island’s Board Chair Stacey Sikes, who is also Long Island Association’s vice president of government affairs and communications.

Co-applicants on this grant include Stony Brook UniversityHofstra University, the Long Island High Technology Incubator,  Broad Hollow Bioscience Park and New York Institute of Technology. Accelerate’s board of directors include Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and Northwell Health.

In this program, the organization aims to partner with the region’s business incubator network to connect entrepreneurs with their services and New York state-based tax incentives. It would also provide an opportunity to further the organization’s regional approach to developing the startup ecosystem, engaging entrepreneurs who can access connections across Long Island.

Founded in 2011, Accelerate was incubated by Long Island Association and has administered two New York State-backed seed funds with approximately 30 portfolio companies as well provided networking and mentorship opportunities for entrepreneurs.

The funding was awarded through a competitive process that is administered by ESD. The applications are received and reviewed through the Consolidated Funding Application by the regional councils and by ESD. NYSTAR designates a total of 10 innovation hot spots—one for each of New York’s economic development regions—and 20 certified business incubators over a rolling process, which receive funding to reach a greater number of early-stage companies.

In addition to the “innovation hot spots,” three certified business incubators were awarded $125,000 annually. These inclubators include Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Hudson River Housing (EATS), and Olean Business Development Corporation.