CNY Innovation Council

Supporting, engaging and connecting CNY’s entrepreneurial ecosystem

The CNY Innovation Council includes leaders within government, business, incubation, acceleration and resource organizations in and around the Syracuse, NY area. We meet monthly with the collaborative goal to share information, build alliances, collaborate on events and understand the strength of our region’s resources to better assist our next generation entrepreneurs. View events across central New York below, and add your own entrepreneurial events to the list.

CNY Innovation Calendar

QuickBooks for Your Business @ East Side Busienss Center
Sep 3 @ 6:00 pm – Sep 24 @ 6:00 pm

Hands on classes for learning and using QuickBooks – the most used bookkeeping software for small businesses. All in a small group setting. Laptops with QuickBooks 2018 provided if you do not have one. Sorry, no Apple or Cloud versions allowed. Free follow-up individual sessions available.

$95 for 4 sessions. Veterans are FREE courtesy of a grant from M&T Bank.

Call the Syracuse SCORE office for information.

Women in Coding – Monthly Workshop
Sep 14 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

• What we’ll doWomen in Coding will be hosting workshop style classes once a month every second Saturday of the month, from 10am-12pm at The Tech Garden! Rather than having an instructor teach a specific topic, these workshops will give you the chance to work on a project or work through an online curriculum at your own pace. Never coded before? No problem. We’ll help get you started. Each workshop will have at least one mentor there to provide support and answer questions. • What to bringBring your computer, questions and/or a project • Important to knowThis month’s mentors and their skills are TBD. Check for updates. Big thank you to Hack Upstate for sponsoring our meetups. You can learn more about them at

2019 Upstate Unleashed Conference @ Turning Stone Resort
Sep 20 all-day
2019 Upstate Unleashed Conference @ Turning Stone Resort

The 5th annual Upstate Unleashed Conference and Awards will be held September 20th at Turning Stone Resort in Verona, NY.

Join UVC, partners and over 400 entrepreneurial leaders for an unforgettable day. Meet the top CEOs of Upstate NY’s fastest growing companies, and celebrate startup ecosystem builders across our region during an Awards Luncheon.

This Conference sold out the last three years and tickets will go fast!
Early bird tickets end on July 26. Tickets after July 26th will be $95. We have sponsorships available that include tables of 8.

We are currently looking for speakers and sponsors for this event. If interested please contact

‘Cuse Tank @ Blackston LaunchPad
Oct 18 @ 8:30 am
'Cuse Tank @ Blackston LaunchPad

Apply by October 4, 2019 –

Student innovators will compete for $10,000 in non-dilutive funding in a “Shark Tank”-style competition to pitch their business idea to a panel of parent judges who are successful entrepreneurs; winning cash prizes as part of Family Weekend.

The competition is open to undergraduate and graduate students from all disciplines who are working on developing new products, services or technologies.  Cash awards determined by the judges will help students take ideas to the next stage (i.e., prototype or other business need).  Feedback from successful entrepreneur judges will help strengthen business models for major competitions in spring 2020.

The event is coordinated by the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars and Syracuse University Libraries in conjunction with the SU Parents Office.

Impact Prize @ Blackstone LaunchPad
Nov 14 @ 2:00 pm
Impact Prize @ Blackstone LaunchPad

Apply by November 1, 2019 –

The Impact Prize supports student entrepreneurs who are engaged in solving some of the world’s most pressing problems through innovation. It is coordinated by the Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University, and supported through a generous gift from Dr. Gisela M. von Dran, along with another gift from a member of the Advisory Board of the Syracuse University Libraries.

Impact Prize is an open call for products, services or technologies that can become practical, innovative and sustainable solutions to societal problems anywhere around the globe. Proposals should cut across sectors and disciplines, be grounded in the principles of social entrepreneurship, and address human needs, whether as non-profit or for-profit entities.

An initial judging round, led by campus faculty and staff with expertise in civic engagement or social entrepreneurship, will select the final teams to pitch. Those teams will then pitch their impact ideas to a distinguished panel of nonprofit leaders and innovators on November 14, 2020. Prize winners will be announced at an award ceremony and reception immediately following the competition.

The Impact Prize is funded through a personal gift from Dr. Gisela M. von Dran, director emerita of the iSchool’s MSLIS program, who has a special interest in entrepreneurship, giving participants a chance to win $10,000. As a member of the iSchool faculty, she taught organization management courses at the graduate level as well as the iSchool’s first-year gateway course. Before joining the iSchool, Dr. von Dran served as an assistant professor of management at the Whitman School of Management.  She is the wife of Raymond von Dran, who was dean of the iSchool from 1995 until his death in 2007. Von Dran was a longtime academic entrepreneur who started many innovative programs in higher education and supported student innovation and entrepreneurship at Syracuse University. Shortly after his death in 2007, Gisela von Dran established the Raymond F. von Dran Fund, to support the RvD initiative, which funds the iPrize.

The Impact Prize competition serves as a gateway to the annual iPrize competition, as well as global competitions such as the Hult Prize.

For more information, or to make an appointment to discuss your idea, e-mail:

Or, visit the Blackstone LaunchPad in Bird Library (Suite 120), meet a coach, and become a member.


Throwback to our kickoff event with Josh Aviv, Co-founder and CEO of SparkCharge! The Funding Roadmap – Startup Funding & Impact Capital