Businesses, nonprofits and local governments can begin submitting applications for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s annual competition for state aid.

More than $800 million will be awarded across the state by about 24 state agencies, Cuomo said.

The deadline to apply for the 2017 Regional Economic Development Councils contest is July 28 at 4 p.m. The process opened yesterday.

Cuomo started the competition in 2011, saying it would expand the number of projects receiving state tax credits and grants beyond those favored by state lawmakers. Previously, some aid was awarded by lawmakers from money put at their disposal but with little input from local officials or a larger economic strategy.

The regional councils are composed of business executives, educators and union leaders, not elected officials — who in turn have been critical of them. The Long Island council has secured $486.5 million for 590 projects so far.

Cuomo said last week that the state is looking this year to back projects involving biotechnology and skills training for workers. The councils also have been asked to assess what skills are lacking in the local workforce and to propose remedies, he said.

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The regional councils screen applications and recommend some for state funding. On a 100-point judging scale, the councils can award up to 20 points, and the state agencies providing the money, up to 80 points.

With the seventh round of awards, “the state will continue its partnership with local governments and community leaders — making smart investments in our cities, towns and villages,” Cuomo said in the statement.

There are 10 councils across the state; five will be named big winners at a ceremony in the fall.

The Long Island council has been a big winner in four of the past six years. It is led by co-vice chairmen Kevin Law, president of the Long Island Association business group, and Hofstra University President Stuart Rabinowitz.

An application guide is available at To submit an application, go to

Empire State Development, the state agency that oversees the councils, will hold three open houses at its Hauppauge office, 150 Motor Pkwy., to answer questions about the application process. The open houses are May 24, June 14 and July 12 from 10 to noon and 2 to 4 p.m.