COBLESKILL, N.Y. — The Institute for Rural Vitality at SUNY Cobleskill is now designated as the Entrepreneurship Assistance Center (EAC) of the Mohawk Valley under a grant from Empire State Development (ESD). This designation will see the Institute receive $73,500 in grant funding for one year to support area entrepreneurs with business creation and growth, sales, access to financing, and job creation. It also represents the Institute’s expansion beyond its focus on farm and food entrepreneurship to serving regional business owners across all industry sectors.
Entrepreneurship Assistance Centers, under the oversight of ESD, are an enterprise development program with centers located in communities throughout New York State. The Centers provide instruction, training, technical assistance, and support services to individuals interested in starting or have recently started their own business, or entrepreneurs seeking to expand or strengthen their early-stage business.
“The Institute’s designation as an Entrepreneurship Assistance Center is a validation of its expertise and success in supporting the entrepreneurial goals of its client partners,” said Dr. Scott Ferguson, Executive Director of the Institute for Rural Vitality. “As we continue to foster economic growth, we stand as a vital resource for business-owners seeking to thrive in the Mohawk Valley and beyond. With this support from Empire State Development, the Institute is now poised to make a lasting difference in empowering and transforming the entrepreneurial landscape of rural communities.”
The Institute for Rural Vitality addresses the region’s most pressing issues to develop and enact sustainable solutions that enhance community and economic vibrance in rural New York. Since its inception in 2018, the Institute has created a strong record of providing a wide range of support services at no cost for new, developing, and established farm and food entrepreneurs, intending to help launch, grow, and sustain businesses. To date, the Institute has served more than 620 farms and food businesses and helped launch more than 70 new products to the local and regional food market.
In addition to financial and technical assistance, client partners of the Institute have access to SUNY Cobleskill’s shared-use facilities, including a Dairy Processing Center, a USDA-certified Meat and Fish Processing Laboratory, four certified kitchens, an operating bistro, a Taste New York retail store, food packaging, brewing, and distilling laboratories, and multi-purpose training and workspaces.