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Upstate NY Colleges Offer Tax-Free Zones

Upstate New York is experimenting with a program to encourage economic growth by eliminating all taxes for companies that team up with a state college or university, and Cornell University has its first customer. The Ithaca institution will be working with Incodema3D, a spin-off of Incodema, a rapid-metal prototyping firm.

The start-up will be working with faculty to develop new processes and materials for 3D printing that involves metal additives. (Most 3D printing uses various forms of plastic.)

The START-UP NY concept was introduced last year by New York's governor, Andrew Cuomo as a way to woo start-ups, companies that relocate to New York and New York companies that expand within the state and create new jobs. They pay no taxes — including business, corporate, sales, property or income — for a period of 10 years. But these same companies must partner with an upstate school, which provides the "tax-free space" or "zone."

At Cornell, the program is overseen by the division of Human Resources and Safety Services. "We are thrilled to be among the first university-company partnerships getting off the ground through START-UP NY," said Mary Opperman, vice president of that division. "Cornell's partnership with Incodema3D, a company with existing deep ties to the local economy in Tompkins County, is sure to result in a mutually beneficial relationship while creating jobs and boosting economic growth within our region."

The start-up operation will work with Hod Lipson, associate professor of mechanical engineering and computer science and an expert in 3-D printing; and Emmanuel Giannelis, a professor in materials science and engineering, who will help Incodema3D develop novel metals suitable for 3D printing.

"It's exciting to see high-tech manufacturing making its way back to upstate New York," Lipson said. "We're particularly happy to see local manufacturers leveraging 3D printing technologies that Cornell has been pioneering for a long time. It's the ultimate sign of a rising tide."

Incodema3D will move into Cornell's business and technology park. The new company expects to create 58 new jobs within five years through the partnership.

"I truly feel this program will create a synergy between industry and education that will foster greater economic success for everyone involved," noted Incodema3D CEO Sean Whittaker.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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