Partner Spotlight: Greater Rochester Enterprise

Accelerating Business Growth in Greater Rochester, NY - Spotlight on Greater Rochester Enterprise

GRE Matt Hurlbutt headshotOne of the many resources that our business community has is Greater Rochester Enterprise (GRE). As the leading regional economic development organization, GRE is committed to attracting new capital investments, supporting regional wealth, and creating new jobs throughout the Greater Rochester, NY region.

NextCorps talked to Matt Hurlbutt, President and CEO at GRE, about why they should be your first call when growing your business.

How can GRE help small businesses?

It’s been GRE’s commitment for 20 years to serve this community. As a trusted advisor, the GRE team of economic development professionals will connect business leaders to the right people and the right resources to expand their companies in the Greater Rochester region.

GRE business development specialists will help companies access commercial real estate, business partners, local suppliers, economic incentives, world-class R&D assets, workforce recruitment, and training resources to address their business needs. Think of GRE as a concierge service for economic development. We are the first call you should make to put your company on a fast track to profitability and success.

What are most people surprised to learn about our region and why it’s a great place to grow your business?

The Greater Rochester region is unique in that we are the size of a larger metro, 1.2 million strong, yet we have the close knit feel of a smaller sized market. Business leaders are often struck by how easy it is to connect with people in Rochester. We often say we are only one phone call away from solving your business challenge. A business leader who recently visited the region noticed that he could get more accomplished here in three days than he could in three months on the West Coast.

Couple the ethos of truly helping businesses tap into the resources they need to thrive with a low cost of doing business and a high caliber workforce, and the Greater Rochester region an attractive market. These assets helped attract companies like La Fermière, a French yogurt manufacturer, and Ionomr, a Canadian energy innovation company, to expand here.

Think of GRE as a concierge service for economic development - Matt Hurlbutt GRE quote

What is a unique program that GRE offers to help accelerate the growth of emerging businesses?

There are numerous smart business executives based in the Greater Rochester region, leading innovative and entrepreneurial second-stage companies that are experiencing rapid growth and success in a wide array of industries, from optics, photonics, and imaging to software and information technology. They are the backbone of this economy, accounting for 15% of the companies and 40% of the jobs. GRE has helped accelerate the growth of many of these businesses through its nationally recognized Economic Gardening program. This program, which delivers market insights and strategic information to increase revenue with new products and new markets, is even more critical to small businesses in Rochester now, due to the impact of COVID-19 on the local economy.

Through a partnership with the National Center for Economic Gardening, GRE’s Economic Gardening program helps companies breakout from the current economic crisis to identify new markets to increase profits and hiring. This unique program, the first of its kind in New York State, is ideal for second-stage entrepreneurs because it focuses on critical strategic challenges they’re wrestling with — from developing new markets and refining business models to accessing competitive intelligence. GRE’s Economic Gardening program connects participating business leaders with the resources they need to generate increased revenue and new jobs. Through the program, participating companies gain access to high-quality data that helps them make decisions faster and with more confidence.

More than 215 local businesses have participated in the program since its inception in 2012. Collectively these businesses have created 1,712 jobs and reported revenue growth of $458 million. The program also earns high satisfaction scores. Approximately 98% of participants would recommend the program to other business leaders.

Local small businesses looking to increase revenue and sell more products and services outside of Rochester should apply for GRE’s Economic Gardening program.

What is the best way to engage with GRE?

The GRE team is available to assist business leaders who are in growth mode. The easiest way to engage with us is to call the GRE office at 585-530-6200 or email

The GRE website,, is also filled with information that showcases why the Greater Rochester region is the smart place for business growth. In addition to the extensive information about talent, key industry sectors, and a cost of living calculator, our website also has a robust sites and buildings directory to help visitors tap into the commercial real estate that meets their business needs.

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