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5 startups approved for state program

Five new businesses, expected to create 160 new jobs and invest $6.2 million in the Buffalo Niagara region in the next five years, have been approved for the Start-Up New York program.

For one of the startup’s owners, it’s an opportunity to remain in Western New York and open a company in her hometown.

“I’m very excited, for sure,” said Sarah K. Scouten, founder of Illuminating Diagnostics, a biotech company that will create diagnostic testing for early detection of hospital-borne infections. “It will help my business get moving; I’ll be able to hire employees, not having to pay taxes. Just being part of the program will give my business publicity. It’s positive all around.”

Scouten’s business was one of 13 entering the program statewide announced Monday.

The program, created by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, allows new businesses that work with universities and colleges in the state by offering internship, research collaboration or employment opportunities to students to operate virtually tax-free for up to 10 years.

Since the program was launched, the state says that more than 2,100 new jobs have been or are being created and $98 million in private-sector money has been invested.

Scouten has a doctorate in biochemistry from UB and was preparing to uproot her family for employment opportunities when the Start-Up New York opportunity came along. Her company will be located in an office in the Biosciences Incubator at UB’s Clinical and Translational Research Center on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. It is expected to create 32 jobs and invest $1.2 million.

“I’m happy I’ll be able to stay in my hometown with my family,” she said. “I’m just really excited.”

The other companies are:

• Simply Natural Clothing, which will operate through a partnership with Canisius, is an existing business that will be expanding its line of eco-luxe clothing made from organic fibers. The company will use raw materials, such as alpaca and cotton, from local suppliers. It will be located in the Canisius Women’s Business Center, creating 16 new jobs and investing $1,033,600.

• GradFly is an existing company that develops Web and mobile platforms for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students. The business is expected to create 15 jobs and invest $45,000. It be located in the Thomas R. Beecher Jr. Innovation Center on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

• ID Federator is a startup that develops products that enable businesses to manage electronic identities and strengthen their security. The company will operate out of an office in UB’s Gateway Building downtown. It is expected to create 43 jobs and invest $75,000.

• Nuenz Inc. is a subsidiary of New Zealand-based Nuenz Ltd., a manufacturer of nanofiber materials that improve the durability and performance of metals, ceramics and polymers. The company, which plans to open an office in UB’s Baird Research Park in Amherst, is expected to create 40 jobs and invest $3.8 million.