Governor Cuomo Announces 76West Clean Energy Business Competition is Now Accepting Proposals

Six Awards, Including a $1 Million Grand Prize, Will Be Made Annually Over The Next Four Years To Attract Entrepreneurial Businesses Creating Jobs in Southern Tier

January 31, 2016

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that 76West, a $20 million business competition and business support program, is now accepting applications for innovative, clean-energy businesses to locate or create jobs in New York's 11-county Southern Tier. The competition, which includes four years of annual $1 million grand prizes, will create jobs, attract entrepreneurs and support the Governor's Reforming the Energy Vision strategy to build a clean, resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers. It is one of the largest clean-energy business competitions in the nation.

"The 76West competition will bring unprecedented entrepreneurial attention to the Southern Tier and add further momentum to New York's rapidly growing clean energy sector," Governor Cuomo said. "As we saw with the 43North competition in Western New York, these efforts will build on the Southern Tier's natural strengths and spur new innovations that will help strengthen the local economy and move the region forward."

76West will build on New York's national leadership in cleantech investment, including its ranking as one of the top three states in the United States for cleantech patents. Already a growing cleantech market, the competition will further develop the industry in the Southern Tier by attracting innovators working to commercialize technology expected to have a significant impact on clean energy or that have an outstanding business model for driving clean energy technology development.

The competition consists of $10 million in dedicated prize money, and $10 million for business support, marketing and administration. Each year, 76West will distribute a total of $2.5 million in prizes, consisting of a $1 million grand prize, one $500,000 award and four $250,000 awards. Additional support and services may also be available, including mentorship and incubator space.

The name 76West refers to a longitudinal line that passes through the Southern Tier. The competition will run once a year from 2016 to 2019 and will be administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

New York State Energy and Finance Chairman Richard Kauffman said, "There are many ways to help build the clean energy industry and create jobs in New York State. This innovative approach is a great example of how the Governor's Reforming the Energy Vision plan to build a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system is increasingly turning the state into a national -- and even global -- leader in the cleantech field."

NYSERDA President and CEO John B. Rhodes said, "The 76West competition is one more example of how New York State continues to lead the nation in supporting cleantech business, investment and research. 76West promises to bring economic success and new opportunities to the Southern Tier,while helping New York State meet Governor Cuomo’s ambitious clean energy goals."

New York’s Southern Tier encompasses the following counties: Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga and Tompkins. Fortune 500 companies such as IBM and Corning were born in the Southern Tier, and the region includes a number of colleges, universities and companies that make it a supportive, dynamic environment for clean-energy companies.

The six 2016 winners will be announced in July. Winners will be chosen by a panel of judges who are experts in entrepreneurship, clean energy and Southern Tier economic development. The winners will be chosen on technical merit, likelihood of business growth, job potential and benefit to the Southern Tier.

Entrepreneurs can apply online before the deadline of March 15, 2016. Semi-finalists will be selected in April and invited to a business "boot camp" to meet local judges and answer more detailed questions. A smaller number of finalists will be chosen in May to visit the region and learn more about specific opportunities. An application and contest information is available at

The competition will be similar to 43North, launched in 2014 to bring new, innovative businesses to Western New York. 43North’s 2015 competition for $5 million in prizes attracted 11,000 registrants from 117 countries and all 50 states. The 43North competition is administered by a dedicated staff overseen by a nonprofit with board members from the local business community.

Winners of 76West will have continued business support for up to two years after the awards are made, and can locate in one of six incubators run by the Southern Tier Start-Up Alliance, which is a coalition of incubators at Binghamton University, Cornell University and the Incubation Works in Alfred, N.Y.

As a condition of the award, recipients from out-of-state must move to the Southern Tier or create a substantial business presence in the Southern Tier. The companies must also maintain that presence for at least two years. Companies already located in New York State must either move to the Southern Tier or establish a connection with the Southern Tier, such as a supply chain, job development with Southern Tier companies, or other strategic relationships with Southern Tier entities that increases wealth creation and creates jobs.

About Reforming the Energy Vision

Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) is New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s strategy to build a clean, resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers. REV is transforming New York’s energy policy with new state-wide initiatives and regulatory reforms. REV will grow the state’s clean energy economy, support innovation, ensure grid resilience, mobilize private capital, create new jobs, and increase choice and affordability for energy consumers. REV places clean, locally produced power at the very core of New York’s energy system. This protects the environment and supports the State’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent while generating 50 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030. Successful initiatives already launched as part of REV include NY-Sun, NY Green Bank, NY Prize, K-Solar, and a commitment to improve energy affordability for low-income communities. To learn more about REV, visit and follow us @REV4NY.

Media Inquiries