43North, which began on Feb. 1, is the latest in a series of economic development initiatives aimed at encouraging private sector investments in the immediate Buffalo Niagara region. While $1 million is the top cash prize, the competition is also offering six additional awards of $500,000 and four $250,000 awards. Winners also get free incubator space in downtown Buffalo, guidance from area mentors and access to other public-sector incentives like Start-Up NY.
The competition will be broken down into three rounds, with each round being judged independently.
- Round 1 (February 5 – May 31): applications from prospective businesses will be accepted via the competition’s website, 43North.org. The purpose of Round 1 is for applicants to provide a vision for their venture, including their business concept, target customers, industry overview, competitive landscape and revenue potential. This submission is not intended to be as comprehensive as a detailed business plan, but should provide the judges with a summary of the major elements of the venture. Applications will be vetted over the summer months.
- Round 2 (September 15 – September 20): the semifinalists will present further detail on their plan, along with a 10-minute online presentation to 43North’s judging panel, followed by 10 minutes of questions. The plans put forward in Round 2 will include the venture’s business concept, value proposition, competitive analysis, communication and distribution channels, client relationships, key stakeholders, resources and activities, cost structure, revenue streams and financial considerations.
- Round 3 (October 27 – October 31): the final stage of the competition is for finalist teams to pitch their business in person to a panel of judges in Buffalo. Each team will have 10 minutes to sell their business idea, followed by 10 minutes of questions. Teams will be assessed on overall organization of the presentation; the team’s ability to ‘sell’ the idea and need for the company; the team’s ability to defend the plan and be responsive to questions; and the quality of the overall plan. The competition concludes with the selection of winners and celebrations.
The objective of this competition is to position Upstate New York and the Buffalo Niagara region squarely on the map of America’s newest innovation and entrepreneurship hotbed. 43North is open to applicants ages 18 and over from anywhere in the world in any industry, with the exception of retail and hospitality. Winners agree to operate their business in Buffalo, New York for a minimum of one year.
43North is hitting the road to spread the word about this ambitious competition. National and international stops include 12 U.S. cities, Southern Ontario, India, China and Israel. Find out when 43North will be in a city near you!