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RIT has sought to create a process that is transparent and accessible to any business interested in partnering with us to advance the Rochester and Finger Lakes Region economy.


Applicants will apply by completing this PDF: START-UP NY Business Application. Completed Business Applications should be submitted to Information required will include: contact information, company description, and the START-UP NY business category under which the applicant will be applying. The State designated business categories are: New Business, Existing NYS Business Expanding, Previous NYS Business relocating to NYS, and NYS Incubator Graduate.

The output of Step #1 will be a completed application received by RIT.


Applicant will meet with RIT Evaluation Team to review:

  • The Applicant’s business,
  • The RIT and State selection processes,
  • The State’s requirement for a competitive analysis, and
  • The potential job creation opportunities associated with the applicant business.

The Evaluation Team will consist of a representative from the RIT Office of Government & Community Relations, the Office of the Senior Vice President for Finance & Administration and the Office of the Vice President for Research.

The output of Step #2 will be confirmation that the Applicant meets all the State’s requirements related to Sponsor’s Core Mission, Prohibited Businesses, Liabilities, Business Category, and Job Creation. See SELECTION CRITERIA.


The Applicant and the RIT Evaluation Team will collaborate on completing the competitive analysis as required by the State process. This will include:

  • Reviewing the selected “Community” , as defined by the START-UP NY regulations
  • Advising the Applicant on selecting their NAICS code (if not previously selected and reported to a government agency).
  • Reviewing a list of commercially available databases to determine if there are any obvious competitors in the defined “Community”
  • Reviewing any companies in the “Community” that might be considered possible competitors.

If this analysis does not identify any competitors, a request will be submitted to ESD to determine if their confidential DOL database identifies any competitors.

If both the RIT and ESD review fail to identify any competitors, a notice will be put in the local newspaper per the START-UP NY regulations for five days, allowing potential competitors to identify themselves.

The output of Step #3 will be formal documentation related to possible competitors in the local community. Confirmation that there are no competitors or approval by ESD that an exception is granted will be required to advance to Step #4.

Please Note: The START-UP NY legislation requires campus applications for tax free status to “describe whether or not the business competes with other businesses in the same community but outside the Tax-free area” (See EDL §440). The Program regulations clarify this requirement by specifying tasks to “ascertain that the business applicant will not compete with any other business in the community but outside the Tax-Free NY area” (See 5 NYCRR 220.10(d)(4)(viii)). These tasks include public notices to be done by the Sponsoring college or university (“Sponsor”), an attestation by the applicant business, and a review of 6-digit NAICS codes of businesses in the community.


If a company passes the competitive analysis test, the next step will be to more thoroughly validate the applicant’s business model and technology. The nature of the review will be based on the START-UP NY Business Application and its alignment with RIT’s programs and job creation potential.

The output of Step #4 will be a formal presentation that will be given to the RIT Approval Committee.


The final step in the RIT evaluation process will be a formal review and approval by a three person Review Committee made up of RIT’s Vice President of Research, RIT’s CFO, and a member of the RIT Board of Trustees.

The output of Step#5 will be the Approval Committee’s agreement to be the Applicant’s sponsor.


If the Review Committee approves the Applicant, RIT will then work with the Applicant to develop the balance of the information required by the State application, with the focus being on new job creation.

The output of Step #6 will be a completed application accompanied by all the required supporting documentation.

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