Businesses seeking graduates look to grow through tax-free zones

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Tyler McNeil
Managing Editor

Forty new jobs are projected to grow out of Hudson Valley’s second approved START-UP NY site over the next five years.

“This unique program will give us the competitive advantage to develop our company in New York’s Capital Region and grow across the country and the world,” said V Owen Bush, chief executive officer of daydream.io in a statement.

START-UP NY allows businesses to be tax exempt for up to ten years. Businesses within the program must be located in close proximity to a college and show a commitment to help further the academic mission of the school that they partner with in exchange for a tax break.

Next Thursday, daydream.io, a virtual reality startup, will move into the Quackenbush Building in Troy. The startup was one of 30 companies that were interested in partnering with Hudson Valley for the site. “I think most of all that Hudson Valley is a very forward-thinking institution and sees [a lot of] opportunity in this completely new channel of digital media and entertainment, and they put a lot of effort to get us accepted,” said Dennis Adamo, media director at daydream.io.

The company, founded in 2015, has already started an internship program in coordination with the college. Currently, the company is focused on filling six internship positions concentrated on public relations, digital media and computer science.

According to Adamo, daydream.io sought after partnership with the college last year to attract locally-oriented graduates. “Most people who have come from other companies tend to come with different perceptions of the industry, and we’re trying to avoid all that by starting with people fresh out of school that want to build ongoing careers in the area,” said Adamo.

Two other software companies in Downtown Troy hope to move into the Quackenbush building with START-UP NY sponsorship from the college, including Simplytell and ChannelEyes. Both companies have not yet been approved for the program.

“[START-UP NY is] a highly recognized program, and it gives us the ability to access top talent in the college,” said Jay McBain, chief operating officer of ChannelEyes. The company plans to grow 18 jobs within the next five years if approved for the Quackenbush space.

Case Window and Door was the first company reach approval for Hudson Valley’s START-UP NY program in March of last year. “We’re just helping those small companies figure out how they’re going to be able to get rolling in the Capital Region,” said President Drew Matonak.

Although START-UP NY requires businesses to be located in a one-mile radius outside a college location, with a waiver, tax-free zones can be established as far as Castleton-On-Hudson. Healthy Brands Collective, interested in Hudson Valley’s Castleton-On-Hudson START-UP NY site hopes to grow up to 60 student-targeted jobs in the next five years. According to Penny Hill, coordinator of Hudson Valley’s START-UP NY program, the company hopes to be approved by March.

Schodack Central School District’s Business Incubator Program in Castleton-On-Hudson recently reached out to Hudson Valley for START-UP NY sponsorship. The program has allowed local businesses such as MICROrganic Technologies and O’Malley’s Oven to use space at Maple Hill Middle School that has emptied due to downward-trending enrollment.

Colleges are limited to 200,000 square feet of space for businesses under START-UP NY. If a business is on-campus or has a memorandum of agreement with non-profit organizations under the program, they do not exceed a college’s eligible space.“It’s a strange caveat that provides a loophole for us as economic developers and us as the college to broaden our reach, open up more possible opportunities for partnerships and grow different jobs in the region,” said Hill.

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