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The Cayuga Economic Development Agency is a private, nonprofit corporation that provides free and confidential services to any entrepreneur or business within Cayuga County. Over our 10-year history, our services have grown and evolved. CEDA continues to work one-on-one with clients, but we have also been increasing the number of events we host. This helps spread the word about programs and incentives farther and faster, which can help spur more projects and help more businesses to start up and grow.

At the end of January each year, CEDA hosts the Economic Forecast Luncheon, which recaps the previous year's metrics and explains noteworthy trends. This year’s keynote speaker was Randy Cohen from Americans for the Arts, who explained how economically impactful the arts have been in our area.

On Feb. 26, CEDA hosted a workshop for local commercial lenders to remind them of the various programs that can be used in conjunction with a traditional loan to make the deal more viable for the lender and the borrower. We explained the two local revolving loan programs that can be applied for through CEDA when a traditional loan is not an option, or as gap financing with a larger loan. The U.S. Small Business Administration gave an overview of their Microloan, 504 Loan and 7(a) Loan Guaranty programs. Since Auburn has a population of less than 50,000, it is considered a rural community, so businesses can also consider the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Business and Industry Loan Guarantee program. It is important for business owners to realize there are many ways to finance a project. CEDA’s specialists are great at brainstorming and problem-solving to find the right combination of resources for a project.

This event also had a special presentation by Bergmann Associates, which is the city of Auburn’s consultant for the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. Projects chosen for DRI funding are awarded a reimbursable grant, which means they do not receive any money until they have completed a portion or the entire project, and fulfilled their requirements. Most projects will require some form of interim financing to make the project move forward, so it is important for lenders to understand how they can participate in these upcoming projects.

On March 4, CEDA brought in Michael N’Dolo from Camoin Associates to educate businesses and potential investors about a new federal incentive program: Opportunity Zones. Cayuga County has one zone, which lies in the northwest quadrant of the city of Auburn. The program is an economic development tool designed to spur long-term, private capital investment in distressed areas by providing tax benefits to investors. The tax benefit offers an immediate deferral of capital gains tax with future deferment benefits as well, depending on how long the investment is held. The presentation was recorded and is available for viewing online. CEDA’s next steps are to identify potential projects and connect them to interested investors. To begin the process, CEDA has created a map of available sites for development. The map can also include privately owned parcels available for sale. Contact CEDA to have yours added.

New York state is entering the ninth round of the Consolidated Funding Application process, which compiles the majority of the state’s funding programs into one application. On March 11, Dan Kolinski from Empire State Development gave a presentation about the application process and outlined the anticipated ESD programs. CEDA helps local businesses identify their eligible programs and gives project-specific advice for applying. Anyone with a project that might be eligible for state funding should start working with CEDA as soon as possible. While the current round of funding has not yet been announced, we anticipate that it will start this spring. In recent years, applications have been due at the end of July.

On March 21, CEDA, in collaboration with several other partners, will host Career Day in Cayuga Community College’s gymnasium for local high school juniors. This event will highlight some of our region’s largest industries, and introduce students to local career opportunities they may not be aware of or have considered. For businesses interested in attending, please contact CEDA as soon as possible.

Also on the horizon for 2019, CEDA plans to host informative sessions on topics such as Historic Tax Credits for the rehabilitation and reuse of historic buildings, New York’s Brownfield Cleanup Program to remediate contaminated sites or buildings, the Department of Labor’s apprenticeship programs to aid workforce development, and others as interest arises.

In addition, CEDA and Auburn SCORE are planning a series of entrepreneur networking events that will take place later this year. These events will bring together entrepreneurs, potential entrepreneurs and small business service providers to meet, learn and build a more cohesive entrepreneurial ecosystem.

If you or someone you know might be interested in any of these events, it is very easy to stay in touch. Subscribe to CEDA’s newsletter via the link at the bottom of our homepage, cayugaeda.org, to have local economic development news delivered right to your inbox. You can also follow CEDA via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube. Alternatively, contact one of CEDA’s specialists directly. For entrepreneurs and small businesses, contact Derek Simmonds, and for large businesses and business recruitment projects, contact me, Maureen Riester.

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Maureen Riester is a SCORE mentor and the Cayuga Economic Development Agency's business development specialist, focusing on bringing new business to Auburn and Cayuga County. She can be contacted at mriester@cayugaeda.org or (315) 252-3500.

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