The Tech Garden started in a garage (literally)

Since 2005, The Tech Garden has helped entrepreneurs from a variety of backgrounds turn novel ideas into fruitful businesses. We provide the environment and resources needed to foster the growth of emerging technology companies and support regional, national and global technology commercialization.

Originally conceived as a way to turn two empty MONY Plaza buildings (one, a collapsed parking garage) into a business incubator for manufacturing and services businesses, the Syracuse Technology Garden overcame a number of political and financial hurdles to open its doors as a technology-oriented business incubator in late 2004.

The Tech Garden is an affiliate of the CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity, a twelve-county business leadership and economic development organization. A private, not-for-profit organization, CenterState CEO represents 2,000 members and serves as the region's primary economic, community and business development catalyst.

Meet the team that tends The Tech Garden and its entrepreneurs…

Some FAQs

Does The Tech Garden directly invest in companies?

Yes. We have several programs that offer grants, minor equity investments, and convertible debt note investments. In an average year, we invest over $600,000 via competitive programs like Grants for Growth, Startup Labs and the Clean Tech Center. We do not have any standing policies requiring blanket investments in residents nor do we approve “space for equity” arrangements.

Can anyone be a resident at The Tech Garden?

Not exactly. The Tech Garden is industry agnostic. While we welcome a wide variety of startups and entrepreneurs, applications and staff interviews determine acceptance. We’re looking for entrepreneurs applying a new technology or service to a large market with an opportunity to be a net wealth generator for our region. Our Virtual Resident program and CoWorks options have less restrictive application processes.

What does the typical resident get in terms of space and amenities?

Average suite sizes are 500 square feet, although we have suites as small as 95 sq. ft. and as large as 4,000 sq. ft. Spaces have a variety of amenities; some have carpeting and/or windows. We can also include some furnishings in the rent. We try very hard to find the right size space and options for each resident.

Who is your most successful alumnus?

We have several great stories about current and past residents of The Tech Garden. One example, BrandYourself.com, started in our Student Sandbox. During their time at The Tech Garden, they refined their product and pricing strategy, were awarded a $200,000 business plan competition prize from The Tech Garden,  went to market, and raised a seven-figure Series A venture capital investment. Although rapid growth necessitated a move to New York City, they maintain a Virtual Residency to continue working with local interns, the Student Sandbox program, and attend The Tech Garden’s events and meetings.

What’s your relationship with Syracuse University?

Syracuse University (SU), like so many other Central New York organizations, is a strong partner on many of our programs and offerings. For example, Syracuse University and CenterState CEO are 50/50 partners in the Student Sandbox program. The university works closely with the SBA to deliver the WISE Women’s Business Center, a Tech Garden tenant.  SU is also an anchor tenant on The Tech Garden campus.

What’s your relationship with the State of New York?

The State of New York is the source of several grants and administrative supports that make, in part, The Tech Garden’s programs and facility possible. In 2014, the State named The Tech Garden an Innovation Hot Spot and bestowed tax credits, program connections to Startup NY Zones, and operating resources. The Tech Garden is not publicly owned or operated by the state or a municipality, but the support and resources afforded by public entities like the State of New York help enable our mission.

How can I apply to be a resident at The Tech Garden?

We provide a short application, generally provided during an interview meeting and facilities tour. Contact us to learn more.

How long can a startup reside at The Tech Garden?

Generally about 4 years, but our graduation milestones are often based on performance and growth metrics rather than time. Our goal is to position companies for rapid growth. We succeed when companies outgrow The Tech Garden campus. Likewise, if business growth is stagnant and the venture needs to pivot or consider closing, we do the entrepreneurs no good by being a life support system.

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