Eight things you need to know about the impact of COVID-19 on Saratoga County's economy.
8 @ 8 is a newsletter filled with eight things you need to know on topics related to the economy in Saratoga County, New York. You can expect to see 8 @ 8 in your inbox twice a month. If you have content you'd like us to share or have a topic you'd like to see more of, let us know and we'll work to include it in a future edition! - The Saratoga Partnership Team
1. Saratoga County IDA Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Grant Program
Through legislation recently approved by the State of New York, the IDA is now able to assist for-profit and not-for-profit entities in Saratoga County which have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 by providing grants of up to $10,000.00 for the purchase of personal (and other) protective equipment. In order to qualify, applicants must:
  a) Have been a financially viable entity prior to March 20, 2020
  b) Have their principal office in Saratoga County
  c) Be able to demonstrate that they were negatively impacted by the outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.
The Board will consider all invoices for PPE spent from March 7, 2020, to date.
2. Funding Opportunities for COVID-Impacted Manufacturers- Webinar
Over the past few months, many New York State manufacturers have dealt with various COVID-related issues. Some had to shift their product focus to the production of PPE or medical devices, like ventilators. Others were forced to execute layoffs or experienced supply chain problems. For FuzeHub's third event in their Manufacturing Reimagined series, they will discuss important funding opportunities and assistance FuzeHub and other New York MEP partners can provide to offset project costs associated with COVID recovery initiatives. The Manufacturing Reimagined program was developed to offer training, resource partnering, and $170,000 in funding (maximum of $10,000 per project). Join this informative webinar to learn about:
  • How the Manufacturing Reimagined program helps manufacturers respond to the COVID-related issues
  • What project funding opportunities are associated with the program
  • How to get a free customized Resources Report, partner with NYSTAR Innovation Assets, and other eligibility requirements
  • Details of the application and award processes
  • Hear from other New York MEP centers that have additional COVID recovery funding opportunities and programs
3. MilkLaunch, Are you A Milk Producer And An Innovator?
The New York State Dairy Promotion Order (NYSDPO) is seeking breakthrough product innovations and new high-growth potential liquid milk startups. The MilkLaunch contest includes more than $250,000 worth of prizes, including laboratory time, marketing assistance and support from food scientists at Cornell University’s Food Processing Development Laboratory and Sensory Evaluation Program. The competition is for early-stage applicants ranging from idea stage to existing new products. Products must contain at least 50% fluid milk, have sales of less than $250,000, and the winners must commit that all milk will be sourced from New York producers for at least 12 months. Entries are open to all including dairy farms, processors, producers, entrepreneurs, academics, and ideators. Additionally, VentureFuel, Inc. will tap into its worldwide network of more than 500 venture capitalists, seed investors, founders and university labs to help discover applicants. Competition rules and the application documents are available here and the deadline for application is September 15, 2020.
4. The Case for Making Low-Tech ‘Dumb’ Cities Instead of ‘Smart’ Ones
High-tech smart cities promise efficiency by monitoring everything from bins to bridges. But what if we ditched the data and embraced ancient technology instead? There’s old, and then there’s old – and for urban landscapes increasingly vulnerable to floods, adverse weather, carbon overload, choking pollution, and an unhealthy disconnect between humans and nature, there’s a strong case for looking beyond old technologies to ancient technologies. It is eminently possible to weave ancient knowledge of how to live symbiotically with nature into how we shape the cities of the future before this wisdom is lost forever. We can rewild our urban landscapes, and apply low-tech ecological solutions to drainage, wastewater processing, flood survival, local agriculture and pollution that have worked for indigenous peoples for thousands of years, with no need for electronic sensors, computer servers or extra IT support. Learn here about how ancient and nature-based technologies are being reimagined for urban uses.
5. Open Streets Is This The New Normal? Here Are Some Ideas From the Capital District and Nationwide
The COVID-19 pandemic quickly and significantly altered how we live our lives. Whether its purchasing food and goods, working or attending school from home, or maintaining social distancing, the pandemic significantly changed how and when we travel. Many communities have taken the opportunity presented by lower traffic volumes and economic hardship for small business owners to reclaim street space for walking, biking, dining, and other activities. There has never been a better time to rethink our streets! This webpage catalogs cutting edge resources and information about open streets programs in communities here in the Capital District and throughout the state and nation. The Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC) will continually update these resources as new information becomes available and they encourage you to provide them with examples from your own community if they are not already available here.  
6. Chips On The Brain…No, Really
There is a lot of talk these days about artificial intelligence, machine learning and neural networks but it might all sound like a foreign language to you. This impacts you because machines with artificial intelligence are outpacing humankind and just about every tech company and government is trying to mimic and harness the sophistication of the human brain. Companies around the world are now in a race to develop brain-computer interface which could, in theory, unlock an entirely new way for humans to interact with the digital world. At Facebook’s developer conference in 2017, the company demonstrated a technology that would supposedly allow people to “hear with their skin,” and last year, Facebook acquired the startup CTRL Labs, which is building a noninvasive neural interface. Elon Musk is about to show off his Neuralink Brain ImplantNeuralink’s device is a tiny computer chip, meant to be stitched by a “sewing-machine-like” robot into the brain on a network of superfine electrode-studded wires. It is supposed to pick up on signals in the brain and then translate them into motor controls. Many in the field imagine using these neural interfaces to control things like a prosthetic limb, or perhaps to interact with our gadgets. Click here to read more from Wired. If you’ve heard of neural networks, deep learning, machine learning, and artificial intelligence and aren’t sure what they are or what they mean? Here is a short video from PBS which offers a crash course to help us understand what all of this buzz is about.
7. First Toilet Paper Now An Aluminum Can Shortage, Say It Ain't So
With the shift in consumption of soda and beer from restaurants to home, there is a much higher demand for aluminum cans. However, aluminum can producers have not been able to keep up. This means you favorite drink may not be running low, but, getting the product on the shelves is still posing to be difficult.
The Aluminum Association of Washington, D.C. said that consumers who are spending more time at home prefer canned beverages because they are easily storable and manufacturers who are already operating at capacity have “no quick or easy way to increase production.” With keg sales to restaurants and bars down. The Brewers Association has issued an aluminum can shortage advisory stating that demand is likely to continue to outpace supply through next year or possibly longer.
8. Girls in Technology: It's Ella the Engineer!
Deloitte has collaborated with The Ella Project, a comic book series and mentorship network geared toward encouraging girls as young as elementary school to pursue STEM education. Follow the adventures of Ella the Engineer as she solves various problems using her STEM skillset under the guidance of Deloitte leaders. A STEM education can provide children with the skills, innovative mindset, and confidence to succeed in any industry. That’s why Deloitte has developed supporting materials for their "STEM for girls" comic book series to help girls get acquainted with STEM initiatives. These materials can be used in whatever setting works best—on a playdate with friends, at home on their own, or in the classroom.