April 15 2019

Center for Economic Growth and Upstate Alliance for the Creative Economy Announce Merger

(ALBANY, N.Y.) – Center for Economic Growth (CEG) President and CEO Andrew Kennedy and Upstate Alliance for the Creative Economy (ACE) Executive Director Maureen Sager today  announced a merger between the two organizations.

ACE was founded in 2016 to advocate and help grow the Creative Industries, which have now become the fourth largest employment sector in the Capital Region generating over $1.4 billion in earnings in 2017. By merging with CEG, the region’s primary economic development organization, the Capital Region is showcasing a growing sector that not only employs 35,000 people, but also makes the region more attractive to current residents as well as new talent and entrepreneurs.

ACE’s work is based on a 2014 Capital Region Creative Economy research report that was initiated by CEG and the Community Foundation of the Greater Capital Region, along with several other funders. The report garnered interest from a wide audience, from local governments and economic development agencies, to the creative community itself, which began gathering monthly at ACE events that attract hundreds of participants. In 2018, ACE and CEG paired up to present an eight-county Roundtable Tour which gathered 120 business and community leaders, as well as 600 creative economy workers and supporters, to discover ways to understand the needs of the region. 

This year, ACE and CEG are launching initiatives and products that reflect the findings of the Roundtable Tour. The initiatives include a Regional Identity effort which ACE and CEG are spearheading in partnership with Fingerpaint Marketing and Overit Media, in order to create a unique brand and identity to better market the Capital Region. Other efforts are emphasizing Cultural Tourism, as well as Small Businesses and Solopreneurs. 

“CEG is here to support entities that wish to grow and expand within the Capital Region,” said CEG’s Kennedy. “What better sector to do that in, now, than the Creative Sector. Creative jobs are most resistant to automation, yet are needed in almost every industry. That’s why it’s so important to nurture this area of employment, where creativity is valued. We recognize the substantial economic engine that ACE’s members define, and we see big things for the Capital Region in the coming year.”

“We are very excited about this affiliation with the Center for Economic Growth,” said Sager, Executive Director of ACE. “We are happy to see the Creative Sector being recognized as part of mainstream economic development to present the region as a thriving destination for creatives and national talent, while bringing awareness to residents about all of the creative destinations and resources the region has to offer.”

Sager continues, “This sector is worthy of investment and attention and this validation by CEG is so important. It will keep people starting their own jobs and companies. And this is how we will attract people to the Capital Region, by giving them a good reason to live and work here.”

ACE was founded in 2016 by Adirondack Studios, Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region, MVP Health Care, Nordlys Foundation, Proctors, Regional Chambers of Commerce, Saratoga Institute, WMHT Educational Telecommunications, and the Workforce Development Institute, and has now grown to over thirty sponsors and investors. 


About Center for Economic Growth: The Center for Economic Growth (CEG) is the Capital Region’s primary regional economic development organization, with over 250 investors in business, government, education, and the not-for-profit sectors. CEG is a New York Empire State Development Division of Science, Technology and Innovation-designated Regional Technology Development Center and an affiliate of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)/Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP).

About Upstate Alliance for the Creative Economy: ACE undertakes projects that Advocate, Convene, and Educate those inside and outside the region about all the cultural and Creative Economy assets and opportunities that the 8 counties of the Capital Region have to offer. By emphasizing the power of regional aggregated data to include 1.1 million people, 24 higher ed institutions, hundreds of Cultural assets, tens of thousands of Creative workers, gorgeous landscape, historic significance, and proximity to NYC, Boston and Montreal, ACE is organizing and leading a conversation where the region can be seen as a national economic player that’s much more than the sum of its parts.

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