Empire State Development and Cornell University’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement today announced that the startup company FreshSource, led by co-founders Omar and Farah Emara, has been chosen among a group of 20 finalists for the 2020 Grow-NY food and beverage innovation and agriculture technology business challenge. The Egyptian startup is the first African finalist in the Grow-NY Business Competition. Freshsource empowers smallholder farmers by connecting them to fair, transparent and modern markets.
FreshSource founders will now join 19 other finalists from across the world in working over the next two months with mentors and competition organizers in Upstate New York to compete for $3 million in startup funding, including a $1 million grand prize. Omar and Farah will pitch their company to a panel of live judges at the Grow-NY Food and Ag Summit which will be held virtually on Nov. 17 and 18. The Summit is free and registration is now open for the public.
Grow-NY is an unprecedented business competition focused on enhancing the emerging food and agriculture innovation cluster currently present in the Finger Lakes, Central New York and Southern Tier regions. In just the first year of a three-year commitment, Grow-NY attracted 199 completed applications around the world.
Today’s finalists were determined by a panel of 30 independent judges comprising the spectrum of food, beverage and agriculture businesses and academics. Grow-NY will award prize money to seven winners this November, all payable in stages, based on business milestones. This includes the $1 million top prize, two $500,000 prizes and four smaller amounts. Tax incentives will also be included.
FreshSource leaders have developed something unique in the agriculture industry. Omar Emar, FreshSource Co-Founder says, “Since our launch, our dedicated team have been working to streamline the agriculture supply chain and empower farmers. We are excited to have the opportunity to represent our region and as the first African company in the competition history.”
“In transforming this year’s Grow-NY Food and Ag Summit into a virtual, we have intentionally created multiple networking opportunities where growers, start-ups, established businesses and influencers can connect,” said Jenn Smith, program director of Cornell University’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement. “Food, beverage and agriculture innovation in the Grow-NY region is thriving and we are excited to draw new companies into the ecosystem by creating a welcoming environment for strong partnerships.”
If you see something out of place or would like to contribute to this story, check out our Ethics and Policy section.