Australian firm wins Grow-NY grand prize

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The $1 million grand prize winner in this year’s Grow-NY business competition is a firm from Down Under.

ProAgni of Lavington, Australia, was named the winner Thursday at the conclusion of the fourth annual Grow-NY Summit. The company produces a range of supplements and feeds for livestock that lowers methane emissions from sheep and cattle without the use of antibiotics.

Seven finalists received prize money. Craft Cannery of Bergen was a $500,000 winner and Rochester’s Sweet Pea Plant-Based Kitchen received a $250,000 prize.

Craft Cannery takes recipes from kitchens to grocery stores, restaurants and farmers markets; it specializes in contract manufacturing of sauces, dressings and marinades. Sweet Pea is a plant-powered kitchen that combines the benefits of its plant-centric food meal service with nutrition coaching to help people to sustain a healthy life.

The winning firms are required to operate in the Central New York, Finger Lakes, or Southern Tier regions for at least one year, and provide Grow-NY with a small equity investment stake in their business. The competition is administered by Cornell University’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement, with funding provided through the state’s Upstate Revitalization Initiative.

Twenty finalists competed for a total of $3 million in prizes in the Grow-NY competition, which drew 390 applications from 52 countries. For the first time, international applicants outnumbered those from the U.S. New York had 92 entries, more than half of the candidates. Thirty judges—with agriculture, food production and entrepreneurial expertise—selected the finalists.

The Grow-NY judges based their award decisions on these criteria:

■ the viability of the startup’s business model;

■ the diversity, quality, readiness, and completeness of the startup team;

■ the value that the startup offers customers; and

■ the agrifood innovation that the startup has invented.

“Congratulations to all of the forward-thinking entrepreneurs that took part in the fourth round of the Grow-NY competition,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said. “This competition not only helps these companies continue to innovate, but it further supports New York State’s regional economies by drawing even more worldwide attention to our globally renowned food and agriculture industry.”

Here is the full list of winners:

$1 million top prize winner

■ ProAgni, Lavington, Australia

$500,000 winners

■ Craft Cannery, Bergen

Hempitecture, Ketchum, Idaho, a manufacturer and distributor of green building materials for construction.

$250,000 Winners

Labby, Cambridge, Mass., a next-generation tech firm providing solutions for dairy farms.

■ Sweet Pea, Rochester

Vivid Machines, Toronto, Canada, whose technology helps fruit growers produce more food on existing acreage.

Zalliant, Amsterdam, a firm that designs and manufactures IoT technology for agriculture.

Paul Ericson is Rochester Beacon executive editor. The Beacon welcomes comments from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name.

One thought on “Australian firm wins Grow-NY grand prize

  1. It’s great that the competition promotes commerce in New York. However, It’s hilarious that one of Proagni’s products reduces cow and sheep flatulence. This is another over reaction to solving climate change. There is much scientific evidence which concludes UN sponsored climate change studies are greatly exaggerated.

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