Tag Archives: Cornell University

Mom’s recipe becomes Worthy Jerky

Alex Krakoski was finishing high school in Switzerland on a scholarship when he ran short of money, and that is when he got in touch with his mother and asked her to send him the jerky recipe.

This was not just any beef jerky. This was the jerky his mother made for him as a kid using the best natural ingredients.

Describing what makes his mom’s jerky so special Alex said, “My mother was a dedicated cook and didn’t want me to eat junk food, so she would make this really good jerky with steak, fruits and vegetables and spices.”

Alex started making his mother’s jerky in Switzerland for about $3 a pound and began selling it to his fellow students for about six times as much. That generated the cash he needed for the trip back to the United States and it planted a seed that has grown into Worthy Jerky, a business that Alex and his fellow Cornell University classmate Benjamin Pham founded and continue to operate with a management team comprised of several other Cornell students.

Worthy Jerky is one of the newest members of The Business Council of New York State.

As with most startups, there is an idea guy and a business guy. Alex is the CEO and idea guy. Ben is the COO and business guy. Other students handle product development, creative strategy, public relations, finance, manufacturing, distribution and marketing.

Alex describes the nutritional value of Worthy Jerky as comparable to Chobani Yogurt in that both are made from natural ingredients.

The jerky caught on and Alex and Ben faced the happy decision of how to grow their business. “We had a choice to make,” Alex told a member of The Business Council staff during a recent visit to Albany. “We could drop out of college, open our own facility and produce jerky, or we could find a contract producer to make and package our jerky.”

They decided to stay in college and found a company in Sherill, N.Y. to handle the manufacturing and packaging of Worthy Jerky. Worthy Jerky is now sold in the Cornell Campus Store and P&C Fresh supermarkets in Ithaca and Cortland.

When this team of Cornell students graduates next year, they will not only have college degrees, they will have a business that is poised to grow and a fantastic experience with capitalism.

Visit Worthy Jerky’s website for more information.

First wave of businesses under START-UP NY

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Today Governor Andrew Cuomo  announced that 12 businesses will expand or locate in New York as a result of START-UP NY program, which creates tax-free areas associated with colleges and universities across the state. The 12 businesses will invest $50 million and create nearly 400 new jobs in tax-free areas.

Governor Cuomo said. “Just months after the program’s launch, we are excited to announce the first businesses to participate in START-UP NY, which will bring nearly 400 new jobs and $50 million in investment to communities in Buffalo, Rochester, Ithaca, and New York City.”

Business Council members involved include the University at Buffalo, Rochester Institute of Technology, Cornell University, and SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams said, “The jobs and investments coming to Buffalo, Rochester, Ithaca and Brooklyn will have an immediate economic impact and the participating companies will operate in a completely tax-free environment, which will enable them to create even more jobs and economic opportunities for New Yorkers in the future.”

“With these university-industry partnerships now in place, SUNY students and faculty will have unprecedented access to emerging, high-tech fields that will enhance the value of a SUNY education while creating jobs and driving our state economy,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher.

“START-UP NY is a very innovative way to connect the strengths of a major research university, like the University at Buffalo, with the expertise and energy of entrepreneurs and businesspeople,” said Satish K. Tripathi, president, University at Buffalo.

Bill Destler, president, Rochester Institute of Technology said, “With this program, RIT is able to partner with one of its alumni… [It] will bring tremendous opportunities to retain more of our talented graduates in Upstate New York, create additional co-op and employment opportunities for RIT students and graduates, as well as set an example for other entrepreneurs that New York – and Rochester – are indeed ‘Open for Business.”

“We are thrilled to be among the first university-company partnerships getting off the ground through START-UP NY,” said David Skorton, president, Cornell University. “The employment of 65 people in advanced manufacturing and investment of over $37 million in capital equipment to support that growth by private investors represents a significant positive impact on the region’s economy.”

“START-UP NY represents a major opportunity to advance the biotechnology enterprise in the New York City region at SUNY Downstate,” said Dr. John F. Williams, president, SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

START-UP NY seeks to accelerate entrepreneurialism and job creation across the state on a large scale, with a particular focus on Upstate New York. Under the program, businesses have the opportunity to operate tax-free for 10 years on eligible land and space. Businesses partner with the higher education institutions and are able to access industry experts and advanced research laboratories.

Interested colleges and universities draft campus plans that identify their goals for the program and the space that they are proposing to designate as tax-free, as well as the types of businesses and industries that they are seeking to attract through the initiative.

To date, 26 schools have been approved for START-UP NY, establishing more than 130 tax-free areas for new or expanding businesses. For more information visit START-UP NY’s website www.startup-ny.com.