Updated July 17, 2016

START-UP NY is a New York State tax incentive program for new or expanding businesses that intend to create jobs in New York State.  It allows NYS public and private colleges and universities such as the University at Buffalo to designate vacant space or land as Tax Free Areas (TFA) for use by businesses that qualify. To be eligible for the program, businesses must align with and support the academic mission of their respective college or university.

“This program is an innovative and very effective way of leveraging all the strengths that a major research university brings to our region. ”
Satish K. Tripathi, President
University at Buffalo

“This program is an innovative and very effective way of leveraging all the strengths that a major research university brings to our region. And it has substantial benefit to our academic enterprise — from new internship and entrepreneurship opportunities for our students to more jobs that attract global talent to our region and create new professional avenues for our graduates and new pathways for our faculty to lend their expertise to industrial research and development," said President Satish K. Tripathi.

START-UP NY stands for SUNY Tax-free Areas to Revitalize and Transform Upstate NY. The program aims to spur economic development by enabling universities to identify areas where new and expanding businesses can operate for 10 years without paying New York State business, corporate, income, sales or property taxes, or franchise fees.

UB’s START-UP NY campus plan designates 498,415 square feet of space as tax-free zones on or near the university’s North, South and Downtown campuses.  

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo launched the program on Oct. 22, 2013. UB’s campus plan for the program was included in the first group of eight schools approved as sponsors in March 2014.  Since that time, dozens of companies are working in the program via UB. These companies pledged to move or expand in the Buffalo-Niagara region and align with UB in furtherance of their respective business. These companies plan to invest millions of dollars and create jobs that will benefit the community. 



STARTUP-NY is a New York State tax incentive program for new or expanding businesses that intend to create jobs in New York State.  The name stands for “SUNY Tax Free Areas to Revitalize and Transform Upstate NY.”  It allows public and private colleges and universities to designate vacant space or land as Tax Free Areas (TFA). The website has very helpful information, including FAQs, approved campus plans, the regulations that outline the approval process for sponsoring campuses and for business applicants, the tax memorandum, contact information and other useful items.

What impact does STARTUP-NY have on UB and the region?

Businesses that apply for entry into the program must align with or further the academic mission at UB.  There are a number of ways a business can meet that requirement, including internships for students, recruiting graduates, research collaborations, teaching/mentoring and curriculum development.  These areas of alignment, the creation of new jobs and the capital investments companies plan to make will contribute to the revitalization of Buffalo.

What are UB's STARTUP-NY companies?

START-UP NY companies currently work with UB faculty and students or within university facilities. These companies range from biotech and life sciences to advanced materials and manufacturing; from renewable energy to tech and electronics. 

Why are businesses choosing to relocate to Buffalo?

UB's STARTUP-NY plan was among the first eight approved on March 3, 2014. Dozens of other public and private schools in New York State are currently approved for the STARTUP-NY program, with additional schools still engaged in the sponsor application process. UB's program is supported by President Satish K. Tripathi and UB’s Office of Economic Development. UB is routinely engaged with program administrators at Empire State Development, and UB officials regularly share their best practices with schools in the region.

How will the addition of these new businesses change the educational atmosphere of UB?

UB is interested in partnering with business whose products or services align with the university’s areas of academic linkages. Those areas are: (arts and sciences, architecture and planning, dental medicine, education, engineering and applied sciences, law, management, medicine and biomedical sciences, nursing, pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences, public health and health professions, social work). Priority is given to advanced manufacturing (advanced materials processing), agriculture (agribusiness), clean tech and energy, informatics and and life sciences (biosciences). 

How are businesses chosen?

The selection process is described in UB's campus plan, which can be found on the START-UP NY website. In general, leads come into the university from a variety of sources, businesses are vetted for eligibility, alignment, anti-competition and other requirements; applications are processed and presented to UB’s selection committee. Those businesses that are recommended for approval by UB are forwarded to Empire State Development for review and approval.

What types of jobs will the companies create?

The jobs created will be diverse and range from entry-level positions to administrative to executive level positions. As a result, UB expects the companies will recruit high school and college graduates, as well as university graduate students, particularly those interested in careers in the life sciences and advanced manufacturing. The variety of positions will include those focused on research and development of innovative new products, services and devices. 

What is UB's vision for STARTUP-NY?

UB hopes to utilize as much vacant space as possible by attracting new and expanding companies and helping them grow as planned or exceed their growth plans. UB also hopes to provide excellent experiential learning opportunities for students, jobs for graduates, research collaborations with faculty, use of university assets and equipment, collaborations with community partners and other Western New York schools, all while contributing to the economic growth of the region. 

Is UB satisfied with the number of jobs created thus far?

Yes, companies affiliated with UB have created jobs that, prior to the creation of Startup NY, did not exist in Western New York. These jobs give recent college graduates incentives to relocate to or stay in Buffalo. They keep mid-career professionals from seeking advancement elsewhere. More important, these are jobs in exciting new industries, such healthcare informatics and advanced manufacturing, which have great potential to grow and are strategically aligned with plans developed by the state in concert with the university and local leaders.

Is UB confident it will meet the projected job numbers?

Some companies will exceed their job projections. Some will fall short. That’s the nature of economic development. We are confident that the program offers the right mix of tax incentives and assistance – including access to university facilities and researchers – to help these companies succeed and reach their stated goals.

Is the program working well for UB?

Yes, we are fortunate to have the 1) physical space 2) economic development programs and professionals and 3) research facilities and brainpower to attract significant investment from businesses in and outside of Western New York.

What organization provides progress reports on START-UP NY?

Empire State Development releases an annual report on the progress of START-UP NY. UB routinely updates its progress in news releases.