Triple Helix Power Play: Cornell University and others in New York State to Provide Tax-Free Zones for State Start-ups

An interesting program as covered in the Cornell Daily Sun a couple of months ago.  Basically, start-ups that locate within a mile of Cornell University and benefit the university in some way through interaction will receive tax-free status for 10 years from the State of New York (but not the US Federal Government).  They will pay no State income tax, no employment tax, no sales tax (VAT for our European friends), and no property tax.

In fact, its not just Cornell University offering tax-free zones, but a whole slew of other universities throughout the State as well. Also, colleges are a part of the program as well. So this is not just about research, but teaching and skills as well.

This program of tax-free establishment requires that startups be based within one mile of a university campus and create jobs that further the university’s educational mission. It is a key aspect of Governor Cuomo’s START-UP NY program.

Strategically, this program is designed to attract new start-ups from out-of-state and grow the innovation economy in New York.  Its and aggressive, tax-based entrepreneur attraction strategy.  Its a true “Triple Helix Power Play“, a term first coined by the Academic Entrepreneur in his Babson Entrepreneurship Conference paper published in 2007 in the Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research  “SCRIPPS.EDU: TRIPLE HELIX POWER DEAL IN THE SUNSHINE STATE”.

A list of New York regions and participating  colleges and universities can be found on the START-UP NY website. One can search by region, college or offerings. This gives a whole new meaning to the notion of the “Land Grant Institution” as they now all become land grant institutions in the sense that they are using their lands as economic development resources for the state.

Also it seems a position for Executive Director, New Venture Advancement was created by Cornell in December of 2013 and filled in January of 2014. The job description has been pasted below and was found archived on Higher Ed Jobs.  Universities in New York are scurrying to invest and build new incubators and collaborations leading to such, and invest in service structures for new startups that they will partner with. It seems that off-campus incubators qualify as well, so that if a university expands and opens an incubator in a downtown area, a startup could apply for the program, locate within a mile of the incubator, and qualify for the benefits.





This position was archived on Higher Ed Jobs see

Executive Director, New Venture Advancement  « Position Deleted on 1/03/2014 »

Institution: Cornell University
Location: Ithaca, NY
  • Executive – Other Executive
Posted: 12/19/2013
Type: Full Time
This position is no longer an active posting on HigherEdJobs


Job: Communications
Primary Location: Ithaca
Organization: Office of Human Resources – VP
Schedule: Full-time
Job Type: Standard
Overtime Status: Exempt
Contact Name: Cyndi L Morris
Target Closing Date: 1
Minimum Hire Rate: Public Affairs Officer VI
Level: Endowed

The Executive Director (ED), New Venture Advancement will be responsible for developing and directing initiatives to support the creation and growth of new and relocating businesses affiliated with Cornell. The ED will represent the University to government and NGOs related to startup creation and startup promotion, including TCAD, the City of Ithaca and Tompkins County, REDCs, New York State, the Federal Government, Excell Partners, Launch NY, and others. Through coordination with CCTEC, E@C, the Research Office, individual colleges and units (and others), faculty, existing startup support programs such as eLab, the McGovern Center, the Geneva Tech Farm, Weill-Cornell and NYC-Tech, the ED will:

a. Promote Cornell startups (defined as all Cornell startups – Cornell licensees, faculty-founded, student-founded, staff-founded etc.) publicly, on campus, to investors, and to any other key stakeholders
b. Promote startup creation and commercialization on campus by faculty and students
c. Lead efforts to induce collaboration amongst existing startup support entities and incubators in the interest of sharing deal flow and company status, best practices, and support connections

The Executive Director will lead the development, direction, and implementation of an Ithaca Incubator and Southern Tier Regional Innovation Hot spot, including staffing, directing data collection and analysis, oversight of facility construction, development and direction of operating strategies, identifying and securing ongoing funding through partnering with or serving as a principal investigator on grants. He or she will contribute substantially to shaping university policy in all areas affecting the operations of the Incubator and Hot Spot and will be responsible for advocating for the Incubator and Hot Spot with other University offices. He or she will be responsible for the development of long-range forecasts and financial reports and the planning and allocation of financial and human resources to further the goals and objectives of the unit and the University.

This role will also contribute to the Economic Advancement function of the University, including but not limited to contributing to the development and implementation of programs such as Start-Up NY.

MBA with 10 years work experience, with a minimum of 5 years experience in executive and financial management roles. Minimum 5 years experience in a startup / new company environment, including raising new capital in the form of equity, debt, and grants.

  • Experience in grant writing and administration.
  • Must be a self-starter and a highly motivated, dynamic individual with proven leadership and management skills.
  • Demonstrated passion for promoting and supporting startups, superb interpersonal skills and ability to proactively engage with diverse stakeholders.
  • Strong mentoring, negotiation, communication, and organization skills.
  • Basic computer skills including Word, Excel, and Outlook.


  • Experience serving as a Principal Investigator preferred.

Background check may be required.

No relocation assistance is provided for this position.
Visa sponsorship is not available for this position.

Cornell University is an innovative Ivy League university and a great place to work. Our inclusive community of scholars, students and staff impart an uncommon sense of larger purpose and contribute creative ideas to further the university’s mission of teaching, discovery and engagement. Located in Ithaca, NY, Cornell’s far-flung global presence includes the medical college’s campuses on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and Doha, Qatar, as well as the new Cornell Tech campus to be built on Roosevelt Island in the heart of New York City.

Diversity and inclusion have been and continue to be a part of our heritage. Cornell University is a recognized EEO/AA employer and educator.


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