Let's hear it for this Kingston-based startup company!

Empire State Development and Cornell University's Center for Regional Economic Advancement announced that Edenesque LLC has been chosen among the top 20 finalists for Grow-NY, a food innovation and agriculture technology business challenge which attracts entrepreneurs from around the world in seek of startup funding.

The Kingston-based company Edenesque curates clean, simple and delicious artisanal plant-based milk that fosters health and nutrition, made with whole ingredients that support and strengthen bodies without any fillers or additives.

Grow-NY is an unprecedented business competition focused on enhancing emerging food and agriculture innovation currently present in the Finger Lakes, Central New York and Southern Tier Regions. This year, as the competition embarks on the fourth year of the multi-year program, there was a significant increase in applications since 2021's competition.

From the US, 25 states are represented, including 92 entries from New York. 38% of the applicants included a female founder and 75% included a founder from an underrepresented minority group.


"Edenesque: Of or like the Garden of Eden, represents a return to the basics of clean and healthy eating."

Leslie Woodward is a veteran chef with more than 20 years of experience under her belt. Throughout her career as a Black female chef, she took particular note of how community health was being harmed by processed and artificially flavored foods.

Woodward examined diet-related illnesses in communities of color and determined the inaccessibility of high-quality, nutrient-dense foods as the primary culprit.

Endenesque LLC
Endenesque LLC

Woodward's goal is to create a line of delicious products that foster health and nutrition. Leslie knows that whole health requires much more than just freat ingredients; unless the product supported environmental sustainability and community well-being, it wouldn't live up to her expectations.

Edenesque's nut and oat milk are made using whole ingredients that support and strengthen bodies without fillers or additives. The startup company puts the community first by making products accessible in food-insecure neighborhoods.


Leslie Woodward will join 19 other finalists from around the world in working over the next three months with mentors and competition organizers in Upstate New York to compete for $3 million in prize money. This includes a $1 million grand prize, which will be unveiled at the Grow-NY Food and Ag live pitch competition this November.

Woodward and the other finalists have been judged by a panel of 30 independent judges, reflecting a depth and breadth of agriculture, food production, and entrepreneurial expertise. Grow-NY will award prize money to seven winners, all payable in stages and based on business milestones. This includes the $1 million top prize, two $500,000 prizes and four $250,000 prizes.

The Grow-NY Food and Ag Summit, scheduled for November 15th and 16th, will be held in person and virtually this year. The in-person summit will be held at the OnCenter in Syracuse, where finalists will pitch their business ideas to a live audience.

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