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Letter: Start-Up NY needs time to grow

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo speaks on Oct. 22,

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo speaks on Oct. 22, 2013, in Melville about the Start-Up NY program that gives big tax breaks to businesses that locate on state university property. Credit: Ed Betz

I was surprised to read the July 8 editorial, “Shut down Start-Up NY.”

This visionary program, like the new companies it was created to grow, also needs an adequate incubation period to gain the momentum needed to thrive.

The 19 Start-Up NY companies at Stony Brook University have 42 employees. These companies are contractually committed to create 238 jobs in the first five years of the program, with specific milestones in each of the four intervening years. Sixteen of them are still in or have just completed their first year of operation; several are already generating income. That is why it is far too early to project the outcome of Start-Up NY.

Facebook, a telling example, had seven employees its first year, 15 in its second year and, now, 12 years later, boasts more than 12,000 employees.

Stony Brook’s Start-Up NY companies are working in exciting technology sectors — from the smallest, lightest positron emission tomography scanners in the world, to engineered materials for 3D printing applications, to the automation of home energy management and new targeted cancer therapies.

The aggregate market for products in these sectors exceeds $40 billion annually.

It was Start-Up NY that attracted these companies to develop their technologies on Long Island. Let’s give this time to prosper.

Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr., Stony Brook

Editor’s note: The writer is the president of Stony Brook University.