Grow-NY finalists benefit from entrepreneurship resources and connections in the Business Development phase of the competition. Additionally, finalists receive a mentor, who helps them plan how their business will prosper in the region. We spoke to one of our new mentors, Laura Holmes, recently to seek her insight on the agtech industry and how she hopes to support the startups she works with.
Born in the Southern Tier and raised in an entrepreneurial family, Laura has always been interested in economic development in the Grow-NY region. After starting her career in marketing with Universal Instruments and Modern Marketing Concepts, she began working at Binghamton University, where she has served in a variety of roles over the past decade. She was the Director of Operations at the Koffman Southern Tier Incubator for three years and now mentors students as a Student Entrepreneur in Residence. She brings her background in the incubator space and strong passion for mentorship to Grow-NY.
Question: Why do you think the Grow-NY region is a powerful place to launch a food and ag startup?
New York State has some of the best farmland in the U.S. NYS is also extremely startup friendly, and the importance of the ecological goals makes Grow-NY a perfect fit to help startups make a difference in multiple areas of agriculture technology.
Question: Having worked with lots of startups, what advice do you think it is essential for food & ag entrepreneurs to know?
First and foremost is that doing it by yourself is not the best approach. There are so many free resources available to startups in NYS, and I think that connecting with an organization like an incubator, which can help a startup get the most possible resources to give them the best chance of success, is the best advice.
Question: What are you most excited about for mentoring a Grow-NY finalist this year?
Having been heavily involved with 76West as well as on the outskirts of Grow-NY in the past, I’m excited to give my team the best chance possible of making the finals by utilizing my community connections and experience as the Director of the Koffman Southern Tier Incubator.
Thank you to Laura for offering her mentorship to our Grow-NY finalists! We will be announcing the finalists for this year’s competition, so stay tuned!