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Institute for Rural Vitality to Host Entrepreneurship Assistance Center Business Plan Competition Programs through Empire State Development Grant

The Institute for Rural Vitality has been awarded $80,000 through Empire State Development to host Entrepreneurship Assistance Center (EAC) Business Plan Competitions. Starting in 2025, these competitions will run in conjunction with the Institute’s annual Empire State Entrepreneurship Expo, held at SUNY Cobleskill each May.

This funding aims to support and enhance the entrepreneurial ecosystem by providing resources and opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs to develop comprehensive business plans. The Institute is one of just five grant awardees across New York State selected to host an EAC competition program of this kind.

The Institute will develop three annual business plan competitions for small businesses that have graduated from an EAC 60-hour business plan training course in the last 12 months, and award funding to support the winners of those competitions. The Institute offers its Business Development Bootcamp in a 10-week format held in person and virtually in a synchronous format. Learn more about the program here:

The Institute for Rural Vitality was designated as the EAC for the Mohawk Valley in July 2023. Since then, it has worked to support area entrepreneurs with business creation and growth, sales, access to financing, and job creation. The designation represented 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, provide instruction, training, technical assistance, and support services to individuals interested in starting or who have recently started their own business, and entrepreneurs seeking to expand or strengthen their early-stage business. A list of all designated Entrepreneurship Assistance Centers can be found at

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