Accelerate Upstate 2.0 to Analyze Upstate Economic Development Efforts


Accelerate Upstate 2.0 to Analyze Upstate Economic Development Efforts

Conference agenda to assess progress since the first Accelerate Upstate summit in August, 2011

BUFFALO, NY (Jan. 28) – Tomorrow, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership will host Accelerate Upstate 2.0, an economic summit to gauge employers’ opinions on current and future initiatives to grow the Upstate New York economy. The conference, which will feature speakers including John Zogby, founder of the Zogby Poll, and James McConeghy, CFO of Chobani, and expert panel sessions on Upstate economic development, will be webcast in real-time across Upstate on

Accelerate Upstate 2.0 is a follow-up event to the original Accelerate Upstate, hosted by the Partnership in August 2011. Based on discussions during 2011’s event, the Partnership compiled the Accelerate Upstate agenda, which can be found here:

“Conversations at 2011’s Accelerate Upstate conference focused on topics that we and other statewide partners had been talking about for a long time – including workforce development, innovation, the Upstate/Downstate divide and our connections with Canada,” said Andrew J. Rudnick, president and CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. “We then packaged the conversations into specific recommendations for greater Upstate economic development and delivered them to every elected official in Upstate New York.”

Many of the themes in the Accelerate Upstate agenda became key topics in Regional Council discussions across the state. In the past 18 months, following statewide advocacy on the agenda by the Partnership and other business organizations, several of the items in the agenda have already progressed, including:

Action Step: REDCs should head a coordinated approach to criteria setting and economic development.

Projects seeking state incentives now access funding opportunities through the online Consolidated Funding Application (CFA), created to streamline the process of accessing economic development funding across departments.

Action Step: New York State should allocate funds to support early-stage tech financing.

New York State deployed the Innovate NY Fund, a $35 million seed stage equity fund to support innovation, job creation, and high growth entrepreneurship throughout the state. 

Action Step: Upstate New York legislators should increase their participation in the Great Lakes Caucus to ensure that New York’s voice is not lost in freshwater policymaking
Senator Maziarz to assume leadership position on Great Lakes Legislative Caucus Executive Committee

A number of key items in the agenda are in motion, including:

Action Step: The federal government must implement policy toward a 15-minute maximum wait at border crossings.

Concerted effort by the US (and Canadian) governments towards cross-border trade facilitation and the seamless movement of trusted travelers through implementation of Obama–Harper Beyond the Border.

Action Step: New York must return the UI fund to solvency without increasing costs to employers.
Governor Cuomo’s proposed unemployment insurance reform package in his 2013/14 executive budget will fix some of the most significant structural defects in the UI system.

Action Step: SEQRA process must be improved to allow projects to be expedited.

The NYS DEC is in the process of revising SEQRA regulations to streamline the regulatory process for development. Proposed changes would improve the scoping process, clarify and reduce review requirements, and improve the timeliness of decision making.

While progress has been made in various areas, a number of initiatives outlined in the Accelerate Upstate agenda still need urgent attention. Among those are implementation of a set of business regulatory reforms that remain before the Regional Councils’ Chairman’s Council; expiration of NYS’s 18-A assessment on energy, which in the Governor’s 2013/14 executive budget is extended for five years; and the convening of a New York/Ontario summit.

“Accelerate Upstate 2.0 will provide a snapshot of economic development in Upstate New York since that time regarding what’s been working, where the challenges are and what still needs to be done,” said Rudnick. “As initiatives are implemented and governmental policies are set or changed, what we really must regularly evaluate in comprehensive way the comfort level of private sector employers toward making investments and creating jobs. Accelerate Upstate 2.0 is intended to do just that.”

As an official media partner for Accelerate Upstate 2.0, YNN will webcast the event online.

Stakeholders from across New York State are encouraged to watch online and participate via the

Partnership’s facebook and twitter accounts using hashtag #Accelerate.

Accelerate Upstate 2.0

January 29th, 2013

8:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Buffalo Niagara Convention Center

Buffalo, NY 14202

Online webcast available to the general public

More information:

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is the area’s regional chamber of commerce and privately-funded economic development organization. Partnership members employ more than a quarter of a million people in the Buffalo Niagara region. By mobilizing members and strategic partners around common goals, the Partnership grows private investment and jobs in Buffalo Niagara through advocacy, business development, and convening.

For Press Inquiries, Please Contact Grant Loomis, Vice President, Government Affairs at or 716-541-1736