Small Business Assistance Program

To support the objectives of the Finger Lakes Food Processing Cluster Initiative, Rochester Institute of Technology partnered with the Finger Lakes region Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) to:

  1. Increase the competitiveness of small businesses.
  2. Support business growth and the creation of jobs.
  3. Support and accelerate entrepreneurship and investment in in the nine-county Finger Lakes region.


The Small Business Assistance program is no longer active, but small business assistance is available through other RIT and regional partners.

Business Support:

The Small Business Assistance program was designed to:

  • Provide outreach and engage disadvantaged small business owners and start-ups in the cluster network.
  • Connect small businesses with the cluster's incubators and/or specific counseling and training programs.
  • Connect eligible businesses to technical and business assistance.
  • Provide assistance with navigation of state and federal funding and technical assistance programs (e.g., SBIR applications, NYSERDA programs).

Program partners counseled small businesses to determine needs, identified new business opportunities, and facilitated building of networks and partnerships within the cluster.

Based on the specific needs presented, eligible companies were referred to the Food Processing Cluster Advancement Program (the EDA component of this initiative) and to other state and federal programs as appropriate.


Who was Eligible to Participate?

This SBA sponsored program was available to eligible small businesses within the Finger Lakes region who met 7(j) requirements, such as a firm that is a participant in SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program, a small business concern located in a HUBZone, businesses located in areas of high unemployment or low-income, or firms owned by low-income individuals.

This project was funded by a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). SBA’s funding should not be construed as an endorsement of any products, opinions, or services. All SBA-funded projects are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. 79% ($1.547M) of this project is federally funded.


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