North Country Regional Economic Development Council has first meeting in 2014 to prepare for 4th round of competitive funding awards
Saturday, February 15, 2014 - 8:42 am

The North Country Regional Economic Development Council (NCREDC) today held its first public meeting of 2014 at SUNY Plattsburgh in its quest to provide continued support from the state for local and regional programs.

The North Country council was named a “Top Performer” in December 2013, and was awarded $81.3 million for 70 projects across the seven-county region.

The council also discussed next steps for 2014, including restructuring of the group and the launch of more initiatives aimed at improving the North Country economy and creating jobs.

NCREDC’s work groups updated the council on their progress and co-chair Garry Douglas introduced new work group, Global North Country, which will focus on spanning borders to accelerate the state’s exports and attracting foreign direct investment.

“With broad public participation and support from across the North Country region, we are actualizing the vision established in 2011 to create family-sustaining jobs and build an innovative economy that meets the region’s needs and unique opportunities,” said Anthony Collins, president of Clarkson University and council co-chair.

“Building from our successes to leverage private-public investment in projects across the region, we continue to be forward-looking at new initiatives and collaborations to create and retain jobs, as well as sustain our transformation to make the North Country a premier destination for community residents, entrepreneurs and visitors alike,” Collins said.

“The North Country is continuing to work together in an unprecedented way through the Regional Council, and today’s meeting was a great start to another year of shared support and partnership,” said Garry Douglas, President of the North Country Chamber of Commerce and Co-Chair of the North Country Regional Economic Development Council. “We refreshed and re-launched our committees and work groups, began the development of a comprehensive Global North Country initiative, which will build upon all of our past and continuing Canadian Connection work, had timely updates on key new tools such as START-UP NY and our Innovation Hot Spot, and maintained our strong commitment to implementation of all of our on-going projects and strategies. We foresee another strong year ahead on behalf of the North Country economy.”

The North Country was one of the first five regions across New York to be awarded funding to launch Innovation Hot Spot programs. A new facet of the development council initiative in 2013, the Innovation Hot Spots Competition is designed to push New York into leadership in new technology-based companies by attracting venture capital and industry-sponsored research spending.

The Shipley Center for Innovation at Clarkson University is leading the North Country’s effort and will scale up the school’s existing outreach and programs to provide services and expertise for technology-driven ideas and new business startups through partnerships based in Plattsburgh, Watertown, Ogdensburg, Massena and Saranac Lake.

The press release from Friday’s meeting says that the North County Innovation Hot Spot is unique in how it will leverage SUNY and private colleges throughout the region to have the best impact on students, educators and local entrepreneurs in their own communities. Through a consortium of numerous regional entities, the North County will work as one unified entity to help entrepreneurs succeed and maximize access to the region’s intellectual capital, the release said.

The NCREDC, which is composed of Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties, is one of 10 regional councils across New York state that serve as discrete points of contact for economic activity in the regions.

The NCREDC was named a “Top Performer” in 2013 and 2012, in addition to its “strategic plan” being named a “Best Plan” in December 2011. There are 222 projects across the region that have been awarded a total of $274.7 million in state support through the Regional Economic Development Council.