O'Mara: 'Innovation Hot Spots' for Southern Tier, Finger Lakes promising for regional high-tech growth, job creation

Thomas F. O'Mara

December 12, 2013

Elmira, N.Y., December 12— State Senator Tom O’Mara (R,C-Big Flats) said today that the state’s support for the creation of a Southern Tier Innovation Hot Spot  and a Rochester-based Finger Lakes Innovation Hot Spot could “carry us a long way in securing a prominent place” in the modern, high-tech economy statewide, nationally and globally.

The Southern Tier Innovation Hot Spot will bring together existing research and development expertise, infrastructure and technologies at Cornell University, Binghamton University and the Ceramics Corridor Innovation Center in Painted Post to create a regional, high-tech business start-up incubator.  As part of yesterday’s announcement in Albany of the third round of funding through the state’s Regional Economic Development Councils initiative, the state will provide $250,000 in this funding cycle for the creation of the “Southern Tier Innovation Hot Spot,” which will also be eligible for additional tax benefits aimed at job creation.

O’Mara said that the latest round of funding dedicates $5 million to expand regional broadband through the Southern Tier Network, a move critical to the development of the new innovation hot spot.  Another $1 million is included for the establishment of a Cornell University-affiliated business incubator in Ithaca that will complement the hot spot.  

O’Mara released the following statement on the Southern Tier Innovation Hot Spot initiative:

“My congratulations and thanks to Tom Tranter and the leadership of the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council for their hard work and perseverance to turn the idea of a Southern Tier Innovation Hot Spot into a successful reality.  The Southern Tier Innovation Hot Spot has the potential to carry us a long way in securing a prominent place in the national and worldwide competition for high-tech jobs and economic opportunities.  It’s this type of nuts-and-bolts research and development, and innovation, with practical application, that promises to increase, piece by piece by piece, the diversity, profitability and long-term economic strength of the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes.  It’s important work and we’re fortunate to have it taking place at Cornell University, at Corning Inc., at the Ceramics Corridor Innovation Center and at so many other regional institutions.”

The Finger Lakes Innovation Hot Spot, which also receives $250,000 in funding this cycle, will develop a partnership between High Tech Rochester, the Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of Rochester to coordinate each institution's capabilities and resources to encourage high-tech entrepreneurial growth throughout the counties comprising the Finger Lakes Regional  Economic Development Council, including Yates in O’Mara’s legislative district.

“The potential of the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes Innovation Hot Spots is enormous.  It’s an exciting opportunity to establish a broad Finger Lakes-Southern Tier corridor of high-tech business development, job creation, innovation, and cutting-edge research and development,” said O’Mara.  “It’s all about creating good jobs and long-term economic security for communities, workers and families.  It’s about creating the economic opportunities that will keep the incredible young talent already living and learning at our colleges and universities living and working and raising families in our communities throughout the next generation.  And it’s about continuing to leverage ongoing state and federal investments that can lead us in so many exciting, significant and diverse directions.”