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Growing NYS Food, Beverage and Ag Businesses
New York Ag Connection - 05/26/2017

Empire State Development (ESD) Thursday hosted Access to Capital, a free conference and resource forum in Watertown designed to help people in the food and beverage, and agricultural industries access resources and grow their businesses.

"New York State's economic development toolbox has a range of programs and resources that are available to help small businesses grow and create jobs, which strengthens local and regional economies," ESD President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky. "Access to Capital forums, like today's in Watertown, provide entrepreneurs and small business owners with the opportunity to learn important information about what is available to help them succeed."

North Country business owners and entrepreneurs participated in the event, held at Jefferson Community College, to learn about how to expand their companies. Financial representatives joined federal, state and local government agencies to give small business owners an inside perspective on alternative funding sources, what lenders look for in potential borrowers, regional resources and technical assistance.

The resource forum was a collaborative effort between ESD, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, in partnership with the Cornell Cooperative Extension.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "New York is home to an array of eager and innovative small business owners who have tremendous potential to create jobs and drive economic growth across the state. Through this forum, we have an opportunity to connect our entrepreneurs with the resources that will help take their businesses to the next level and breathe new life into our communities."

New York Fed Vice President for Outreach & Education Anand Marri said, "The New York Fed is committed to supporting communities across the New York state and the broader region. Access to Capital programs play an important role in helping local food and beverage firms connect with capital providers, understand financing options, and take advantage of international opportunities, among other benefits. Through programs like these, we will continue working closely with our partners to bolster the New York agricultural community."

Kevin Jordan, Executive Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County, said, "Providing technical assistance and capital resources to support value-added processing in the food, beverage and agriculture industries is important to expanding these industries throughout the North Country. We want to make sure our local agribusiness owners know about the many resources available to help them succeed. Thanks to ESD, Ag & Markets and the Federal Reserve for bringing the Access to Capital forum to Jefferson County."

Access to Capital was first launched in 2014, with the goal of assisting small food, beverage and agriculture business owners who often have difficulty finding industry lenders and expanding into new markets. Realizing that companies need capital and markets to grow, ESD teamed up with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to help business owners connect with specialized banks, funds, investors and government programs for their industries. The first Access to Capital forum, held in Albany in 2014, was such a success that it was expanded to four events across the state in 2015 and three events in 2016.

ESD is New York's chief economic development agency ( The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing Governor Cuomo's Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of "I LOVE NEW YORK," the State's iconic tourism brand.

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