CenterState CEO Launches Syracuse Surge Accelerator Program

Published on April 17, 2023

This press release was distributed by CenterState CEO, a Syracuse Surge partner.


New Program Seeks Minority Entrepreneurs in Tech

Program is part of Syracuse Surge’s efforts to position
 Syracuse as America’s Smartest City

Syracuse, NY – CenterState CEO is now taking applications for a new program to address the lack of diversity in the technology industry and help strengthen a city-wide collaborative effort to make Syracuse America’s Smartest City. Known as the Syracuse Surge Accelerator, the program will empower Black-Indigenous-Persons of Color (BIPOC) entrepreneurs to launch and accelerate new or existing tech-related startups within the city of Syracuse.

“The Syracuse Surge Accelerator is an inclusive, dynamic tech program with the focused resources and tools BIPOC startup founders need to grow and thrive,” said Dr. Emad Rahim, Syracuse Surge Entrepreneurship Manager at CenterState CEO. “We know there are significantly few tech startups with minority founders. Through this program we seek to drive change and create opportunities for those innovators to turn their ideas into businesses right here in Syracuse, New York.”

Today, fewer than 25% of tech startups in the United States have founders of color, a phenomenon that is fueled by structural and cultural barriers. Rahim said the goal of the accelerator program is to help remove the structural and cultural barriers that make it more difficult for a minority to enter the tech industry. Over the course of the 12-month immersive experience, entrepreneurs will have access to the programming and resources at CenterState CEO’s The Tech Garden. The Syracuse Surge Accelerator will provide entrepreneurs with culturally competent programming as well as capital during the various stages of their development, contributing to the city-wide Syracuse Surge initiative.

Syracuse Surge was announced in 2019 by the city of Syracuse, Onondaga County, CenterState CEO, and the JP Morgan Chase Foundation as a new strategy to position the city as a destination for inclusive growth for minority, women, veteran and disabled owned (XBE) tech businesses in the New Economy. Their collaborative efforts plan to position Syracuse as an inclusive and emerging market for business, technology and innovation 

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to announce the launch of our new Syracuse Surge Accelerator program. I truly believe this program will put Syracuse at the forefront to serve as an inspiration to cities across the country,” said Rahim. “We encourage people to apply as soon as possible.” 

Applicants are encouraged to submit an electronic application by May 31, 2023 that can be found in this link. Qualified applicants will be selected and announced by CenterState CEO and the Syracuse Surge Accelerator program by in mid-June. The first cohort will begin the program, August 2023.

About Syracuse Surge

Syracuse Surge is a city-wide initiative which strives to make Syracuse one of America’s ‘smartest’ cities and a global leader in the New Economy. The city of Syracuse, in collaboration with Onondaga County and leading local institutions, is working to ensure inclusive growth in the New Economy. The New Economy refers to high-growth industries that are on the cutting edge of technology and are driving forces of economic growth and productivity. The New Economy focuses on technological advancement to create new products and services. Syracuse Surge seeks to take a comprehensive view of growing the smart system by focusing on supply chain, entrepreneurship, innovation and commercialization, infrastructure, and talent development.

About CenterState CEO

CenterState CEO is Central New York's premier business leadership and economic development organization, committed to creating a region where business thrives, and all people prosper. Its vision is to be recognized as a visionary leader, effective advocate, exceptional employer and a force for positive outcomes for our community. Syracuse Surge Accelerator is an initiative of CenterState CEO.

About The Tech Garden

The Tech Garden is Central New York’s hub for tech entrepreneurs to find a full range of incubation services needed to achieve their venture goals. The Tech Garden is operated by CenterState CEO and located in downtown Syracuse. Members are assessed and offered innovation and entrepreneurship programs, events, and resources in tailored packages, from co-working spaces to full-service incubation and funding opportunities. Programming currently offered by The Tech Garden includes the Innovation Hot Spot, The Clean Tech Center, GENIUS NY, and Grants for Growth.