October 1, 2020 2:00 pm – E-commerce assistance and exposure tracking app

Good afternoon:  Governor Cuomo today announced Empire State Digital, a new initiative accelerating New York State-based small businesses’ ability to grow their online presence through a first-in-the-nation program with leading global e-commerce enablers, including Shopify, Square, Clearbanc, and Etsy.  The partners selected by Empire State Development to participate will offer specialized solutions such as education, free resources, marketing support, and discounted pricing that is unique to the needs of New York’s small businesses.


Empire State Digital is an invitation for businesses to explore the benefits of expanding beyond physical brick and mortar location to an online marketplace through the program partners.


Partners Benefits Include: 



  • First 90 days free for new brick and mortar merchants registering before November 30, 2020
  • Free access to Shopify Point-of Sale (POS) Pro features until October 31, 2020
  • Free* contactless payment Shopify Tap & Chip Reader for new POS retailers (*limited supplies)
  • $500 in Shopify app store credits for new Shopify POS brick-and-mortar retailers
  • 24/7 support, including access to online educational resources and possible eligibility for Shopify Capital



  • Educational workshops for small businesses, including restaurants and retailers, interested in going online and dedicated office hours in English and Spanish
  • Build a free website with Square Online
  • Free processing on up to $1,000 in credit card transactions for the first 180 days after joining Square



  • Educational content on improving the financial health of your business
  • Discounted rates on funding
  • Free company valuation and track growth week-over-week



  • Educational content on how to start a successful online business
  • Free listing credits for new sellers

Details on the program can be found at Empire State Digital’s website which includes additional services available to small businesses from Empire State Development’s statewide resource partners, including hands-on assistance, training and counseling.



New York State has also announced a new app to track exposure.  COVID Alert NY is New York State’s official Exposure Notification App. This is a free smartphone app for anyone 18+ that lives and/or works in New York available for download in the Google Play Store and Apple App Store starting October 1st.  The COVID Alert NY app notifies users if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Upon receiving an exposure notification, the app will encourage users to contact their physician or the State Health Department hotline (1-833-227-5045) to get more information about quarantining and testing.


Anyone who downloads the app does not have to worry about being tracked, identified or having their personal information shared. The app is completely anonymous and does not track your location or movement. No personal data is collected. COVID Alert NY uses Bluetooth proximity-enabled exposure notification technology provided by Apple and Google which is safe and secure.


To learn more about COVID Alert NY, visit ny.gov/covidalerts.