Make Movie Magic in Buffalo Niagara

With the magic of movies and television, people all over the world Tax graphicare familiar with the landmarks of New York State, whether it’s the soaring towers of the Manhattan skyline or the natural wonder of Niagara Falls.  But creating a movie or television show isn’t just about pointing a camera and filming.  Once a production has completed its principal photography, it then goes into post-production work.  This is when New York State can continue to benefit.

In 2012, Governor Cuomo signed a bill increasing the tax credit for production studio that contract to have post-production work completed in New York State.  Originally only a 10% tax credit, it was enhanced to 30%, with an additional 5% credit available for post-production costs incurred in upstate New York.  The Post Production Tax Credit is available where the project was filmed predominantly outside of the State and the film production company contracts their post-production work to companies in NYS specializing in post-production work.  The tax credit is also fully refundable.

Enhancing the tax credit to 35% for upstate NY offers a great opportunity for Buffalo Niagara businesses in musical composition, music rerecording and mixing, visual effects, graphic design, animation and sound editorial to capture work in this industry.  It will also attract post-production facilities to expand in the region to take advantage of the low cost of doing business in Buffalo, as we offer affordable real estate options, a highly educated workforce, proximity to major film production markets in New York and Toronto and an advanced telecommunications infrastructure to stay connected with those areas. In addition, Daemen College now offers a unique Visual Effects Certificate Training Program to help students enter the growing visual effects/post production industry workforce in Western New York.

The Buffalo Niagara region has already seen the establishment of a new post-production facility in the City of Buffalo when Empire Visual Effects opened its studio in July 2013.  With the pledge to create 150 new visual effects and other post production jobs within five years, it will pave the way for the creation of a new post-production and visual effects industry in the Buffalo Niagara region.

To learn more about the Post-Production Tax Credit, please visit NY Loves Film.

by Lorrie Abounader, Business Development Manager

BNE Gives a Lift to Petrolift’s U.S. Expansion

Located in the northeast corner of the continent of Africa, Egypt bridges the worlds of the Sahara and the Middle East.  Its long and storied history is centered on the Nile River, whose fertile banks and logistical value have helped establish the prosperous Egyptian economy.  Evidence of Egypt’s economic strength is in its Gross Domestic Product of $272 billion, ranking the country 40th globally, according to the World Bank.

It’s not surprising that Egyptian companies are seeking opportunities for growth and expansion in the U.S.  Recently, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise was instrumental is assisting an Egyptian manufacturer to locate in Western New York.

Petrolift is a Cairo-based manufacturer of web slings and lifts for industrial applications in the oil and gas industry. From manufacturing to inspection and safety training, Petrolift is a one-stop for specialized lifting equipment.  The lifting industry is growing in North America due to the increase in demand of domestic oil and natural gas production.  After 15 years of successful business in Cairo, Petrolift recognized the opportunity to expand its manufacturing operation into the U.S. to capture this growth.

A key driver for U.S. expansion is the acquisition of a coveted “Made in USA” label for its products.  In its consideration of possible American locations, the company began exploring Buffalo Niagara because of its proximity to Canada. The company saw great benefit in locating to a region that allowed easy access to two international markets.

Petrolift appreciated BNE’s experience in assisting Canadian and International companies in making direct foreign investments into the Buffalo Niagara region.  Through our connections with a host of professionals experienced in international business — including attorneys, bankers, and human resources — BNE was able to aid Petrolift in establishing a $1.7 million operation in Eden with ten employees.

View this and other success stories on our website

By Lorrie Abounader, BNE Business Development Manager

The Data on Data Centers

Increasing smartphone usage and information stored on the “cloud” have made data centers a necessary part of IT infrastructure. According to an IBM study, 90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years. To keep up with demand for capacity, over 80% of data center owners/operators have built new or upgraded a facility within the last five years. Competition to host a data center is fierce for the status a well-known brand holds as well as economic benefits to the region.

Tracey Hyatt Bosman, a Managing Director with Biggins Lacy Shapiro & Co., a leading site selection firm, recently wrote How Data Centers Benefit Communities. (See pg. 12 of http://cdn.7x24exchange.org/downloads/Fall_2013_7x24_Exchang-%20Magazine.pdf)

Data centers demand sophisticated server equipment and state-of-the-art systems for cooling, security and power generation and need to be continually updated and “refreshed.” Typically this occurs every three years, as increased storage capacity is required. Investing in building and maintaining a data center operation can deliver a steady stream of tax revenue to the host community.

Operating a data center requires engineers and IT administrators with advanced level degrees earning average annual wages exceeding $60,000. Non-IT related staff is necessary as well as jobs in security, maintenance and marketing.

Data centers generate a significant amount of property tax, as the assessed value of the site increases with the development of a multi-million dollar project. Other revenue includes sales tax, income tax, and more depending on the community’s tax structure.

Data centers use power 24/7/365 to run servers and maintain temperatures controls. Utility companies appreciate data centers for the revenue they generate and the consistency of their power consumption, making it easier for the utilities to balance the system with other users.

And last, having a “tech” image enhances a location’s competitive advantage. Being labeled a tech community can help attract IT businesses seeking to cluster with like-minded companies. A company like Google or Microsoft attracts others seeking to benefit from proximity to an anchor data center, increasing the quality and quantity of talent to pull from.

by Lorrie Abounader, Business Development Manager

Click here learn more data center opportunities in the Buffalo Niagara region.

 

 

Yahoo! breaks ground on $150 million expansion in Lockport, NY

by Lorrie Abounader, Business Development Manager

On October 18, internet giant Yahoo! broke ground on the expansion of their Lockport, NY data center.  Their current facility that opened in 2010 is roughly the same size as the deck of the aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan.  The expansion will add another 150,000 square feet and use 7.2 megawatts of power, enough to power half a million homes.  Typically a data center that size IMG_20131018_112125004_HDRwould use more power and water to run and cool the server rooms but Yahoo! chose the Western New York region for it’s cool climate, allowing the ambient air to circulate through and cool the computer equipment.  This is an enormous cost savings for the data center.  Operating costs are dramatically reduced on top of the low-cost power awarded through the New York Power Authority.

The groundbreaking was well attended by elected officials, economic development representatives and local businesses as Yahoo! has been a great neighbor to the business community.  Local business may experience an uptick in activity as the expansion will provide at least 115 more jobs in the future through the establishment of Yahoo!’s customer care contact center on the IMG_20131018_114701343_HDRcampus.  Yahoo! refers to the department that resolves customer issues their “center of excellence” as these employees are the first line to giving Yahoo! users a great customer experience.   Due to the fact that Yahoo! is extremely happy with the quality of the talent recruited, company execs consider their Lockport facility the one they could replicate into all their data centers worldwide.

Click here to learn more about the previous Yahoo! Data Center expansion in 2010 and here to view a video about their expansion.

Click here to read about Data Center opportunities in Buffalo Niagara.

Start With A Business Plan

Lorrie Abounader, business development manager, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise

Canisius College Women’s Business Center

Many people dream of starting their own business.  Whether they want to be their own boss, supplement current income, or turn a hobby into a career, over 600,000 Americans start a new business every year.  So how does one start a business?  How can one reduce the risks or avoid the pitfalls that cause businesses to fail?  There is not foolproof method but a strong, healthy business starts with a strong business plan.

A business plan is your roadmap for success.  It outlines the route an entrepreneur intends to take to reach, maintain and grow their business.  Not only does a business plan act as the guidebook for the business owner but also expresses the goals that the owner has for their company.  It tells the story that you have envisioned for your future business and provides the storyboard in which an outsider can follow the intended progress you have imagined.  Very few of us have the eloquence to translate verbally our ideas and a plan is a consistent message that can be easily shared and viewed.  This can be especially important in earning the support of banks and investors for raising capital.

There are several resources to use online that provide templates for a business plan, but just as two entrepreneurs are never alike, so are their businesses.  The elements of a business plan are fairly consistent but what you do with your business is unique to what your goals are for it.  It is important to customize the plan according to your ultimate ambitions, your commitment to working on the business and your creativity to shape the business.  To avoid a cookie-cutter business plan, work with the professionals at your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC).  Hosted by local colleges and universities, a SBDC is a one-stop source for professional guidance on writing, researching and constructive feedback on your plan.  In the Buffalo Niagara region, we have three excellent SBDCs at Buffalo State College, Niagara County Community College and Genesee Community College.  At Canisius College, women entrepreneurs can use the resources of the Women’s Business Center.

Remember that your business plan is a living document – it changes as the business changes.  What you planned for the business in year one will differ after the business has matured.  Update the plan every 3-5 years with the assistance of the SBDC.  They are not just for start-ups but for any business needing guidance.

Starting a new business can be daunting but an entrepreneur knows that the risk of starting a new business is often outweighed by the rewards.  Having your guidebook in-hand and up-to-date is important to the success of your business.

To learn more about starting a business and to find additional resources, please visit:

Small Business Administration www.sba.gov

Small Business Development Centers www.asbdc-us.org

Canisius Women’s Business Center www.canisius.edu/wbc/

New York Consolidated Funding Application – Round Two!

Lorrie Abounader
Business Development Manager
A second round of funding has opened up through the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) process.  This is a process where an organization can apply for multiple programs from various New York state agencies through one application. 
The deadline to complete the CFA is July 16, 2012 with supporting documentation due July 23, 2012 through online submission. A variety of programs are available through the CFA process.  To start the process, visit:  http://regionalcouncils.ny.gov/
$750 million in program funding is available in this CFA round for private businesses, not-for-profits and communities.  For a full description of the programs and to evaluate if they are applicable to your organization, please review:
Highlights of key programs categorized by state agency and their funding amounts geared towards direct business assistance are as follows:

Empire State Development
• Up to $ 150 million for Regional Council Capital Fund
• Up to $ 70 million for Excelsior Jobs Tax Credits
• Up to $ 20 million for Empire State Economic Development Fund
• Up to $ 4 million for Urban and Community Development Program
• Up to $ 3 million for Regional Tourism Marketing Grant Initiative (I LOVE NEW YORK Fund)
• Up to $ 350 million for government tax-exempt bonds for private projects with a public
purpose
• Up to $ 1 million for Environmental Investment Fund
Department of Labor
• Up to $ 5 million for Workforce Investment Act-related training and workforce development
activities.
Agriculture and Markets
• Up to $ 3 million for Agriculture Development Program
Environmental Facilities Corporation
• $ TBD million Green Innovation Grant Program
Department of Environmental Conservation
• Up to $ 2 million for Clean Water State Revolving Fund Engineering Planning Grant Program
Energy Research and Development Authority
• Up to $ 50 million Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Projects and Programs
• Up to $12 million for Regional Economic Development and Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program
New York Power Authority
ReCharge New York-low cost power
A few eligibility requirements to keep in mind – the state will not fund your entire need but will limit the award to 20% of your project costs and require the business to have 10% equity in it as well.  Also keep in mind that funding is offered as an inducement to start the project but funds are generally disbursed until after the expense is incurred.  All applications are reviewed by the Western New York Regional Council for compatibility with our strategic plan.
Following the first round of CFA applications, the state has incorporated feedback which will allow the funding process in this round to be more efficient.
If you require assistance, BNE Business Development staff can guide you in the right direction:
·         Alan Rosenhoch, arosenhoch@buffaloniagara.org 716.541.1724
·         Carolyn Powell, cpowell@buffaloniagara.org 716.541.1740
·         Lorrie Abounader, laboundader@buffaloniagara.org 716.541.1744
·         Tony Kurdziel, tkurdziel@buffaloniagara.org; 716.541.1780

Resources for Small Business Startups

Small businesses employ about half of the workers in the U.S. and accounted for 65 percent (9.8 million) of the 15 million net new jobs created between 1993 and 2009.

There are over 450,000 small businesses in New York State, 55,000 of which are located in the Western New York/Finger Lakes regions.  Small businesses are major economic drivers within 14 counties of Western New York and employ in excess of 450,000 people.
Credit conditions for small business are improving, making it a little easier to get started. In 2010, Commercial banks began to ease the tight lending conditions on small businesses that began a few years back.  Credit has also continued to flow, as loans under $1 million totaled $695 billion in FY 2009.  Venture capital investment which had been on the decline increased in mid-2010 as well.  Further, the Small Business Administration (SBA) offers a variety of loan programs to small businesses and entrepreneurs.
In addition towww.sba.gov, theUS Small Business Association Website, following are links to a few great resources for entrepreneurs looking to get started:
Technical Assistance:
·       U.S. Business Advisor, http://www.business.gov/
·    Sample Business Plans (no endorsement), http://www.bplans.com/
·       Angel Capital Foundation, http://www.angelcapitaleducation.org/
·       Manufacturing Extension Partnership, http://www.mep.nist.gov/
Finance:
·       Grant Opportunities, http://www.grants.gov/
·        Foundation Center, http://www.fdncenter.org/
·        Community Development Financial Institutions, http://www.cdfi.org/
·        Council of Development Finance Agencies, http://www.cdfa.net/
·        Export-Import Bank of the United States, http://www.exim.gov/
·        U.S. Department of Energy Inventions and Innovations, www.1.eere.energy.gov/industry
·        Peer Lending (no endorsement), http://www.peerlendingnetwork.com/
·        Factoring (no endorsement), www.factorhelp.com/associations.php
Foundations & Organizations:
·        Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, http://www.kauffman.org/
·        Edward Lowe Foundation, http://www.edwardlowe.org/
·        National Federation of Independent Business Owners, http://www.nfib.com/
·        National Business Incubation Association, http://www.nbia.org/
·        Angel Capital Association, http://www.angelcaptialassociation.org/
·        Association for Enterprise Opportunity, http://www.microenterpriseworks.org/
More local information is available at www.buffaloniagara.org/Doing_Business/StartingOut .
Buffalo Business Online also notes some great resources for local entrepreneurs and highlights useful tools for businesses just getting started.
I also encourage you to check out the upcoming 2012 Venture Forum May 16-17, 2012. To register, go to http://www.brightbuffaloniagara.com/
Lorrie Abounader
Buffalo Niagara Enterprise
Business Development Manager

Sustainable Buildings in Buffalo Niagara

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) 2008 Annual Energy Outlook, buildings in the U.S. consume 40% of all energy, 72% of all electricity generated and account for 38% of all CO2 emissions.  The CO2 output from buildings is more than the transportation sector.  The interest in sustainable buildings and “green” design has grown out of the demand from businesses, communities and individuals to find efficiencies in energy, water and materials use and to improve the quality of our workplaces, schools and homes.  A look into sustainable buildings will be offered through the Business of Energy Series, sponsored by Directed Energy, a NYSERDA funded program at UB, UB School of Architecture & Planning and Buffalo Niagara Enterprise.
The conference is an all day event at the Buffalo Niagara Marriott on November 17, 2011 from 8:30am to 4:30 pm.  The agenda includes case studies of unique and noteworthy sustainable buildings, highlighting the Bank of America Building in New York, the first LEED Platinum skyscraper in the world; Stratus Vineyards in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, the first LEED certified vineyard in the world; and the Ecology & Environment Building in Lancaster, a LEED Platinum building built before the LEED system was created.
To learn more about the Business of Energy Series and register for this event, please visit the Directed Energy website here .  Registration for the Sustainable Buildings Conference includes a pre-conference reception the night before at the Darwin Martin House at 6:00pm. 
To learn more about LEED certification and the positive impacts sustainable buildings have in our communities and on our environment, please visit the U.S. Green Building Council’s website .
Lorrie Abounader, Business Development Manager

BNE Connects with Industry at WindPower 2011

WINDPOWER is the annual exhibition and conference on wind energy hosted by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).  The world’s largest wind tradeshow was held in Anaheim, CA from May 22-25.  After 36 years, the show has grown from a handful of industry specialists to a total of nearly 1,200 exhibitors and 20,000 attendees.

The U.S. wind industry has added over 35% of all new generating capacity since 2007, second only to natural gas, and more than nuclear and coal combined.  Today, there is over 41,000 MW of installed U.S. wind power capacity, representing more than 20% of the world’s installed wind power.

Today, the U.S. wind industry represents not only a large market for wind power capacity installations, but also a growing market for American manufacturing.  Over 400 manufacturing facilities across the U.S. make components for wind turbines, and dedicated wind facilities that manufacture major components such as towers, blades and assembled nacelles can be found in every region.

The Buffalo Niagara region is uniquely positioned for the manufacturing, assembly and distribution of wind turbine components. Our region is in close proximity to emerging North American markets, has a robust logistics and supply chain network and has an experienced and highly skilled workforce.

This year’s WINDPOWER marks BNE’s third visit to the show and another great opportunity to network with industry professionals and learn more about this growing renewable energy sector.

-Lorrie Abounader, Business Development Manager
Buffalo Niagara Enterprise

Green, Clean Hydropower puts Yahoo! on Top

It’s no secret that data centers are energy hogs and there is growing concern regarding their environmental impact. Companies choosing to reduce their carbon footprint and use renewable energy sources are getting praise from environmental advocates – and realizing a significant cost savings.
A recent report by Greenpeace, “How Dirty Is Your Datacenter” gave Yahoo! high marks for locating their data center facilities in sites where they can access renewable electricity such as hydropower.  Read a recap of the study on Forbes: “Apple Data Centers Use Least Clean Energy, Yahoo! Most”.

Yahoo!, opened its state-of-the-art, $150 million data center in Lockport, NY last September and has started work on Phase II.  Key factors Yahoo! used to evaluate their site location included the region’s physical characteristics, such as abundant fresh water resources, climate advantages and green, clean hydropower.  In 2009, Yahoo! had committed to moving away from a carbon neutral policy and the western New York location supported their commitment to reduce their operational footprint through clean energy as well as energy efficiency improvements. Yahoo! has boasted their Lockport location as a multi-million dollar cost savings due to the ambient air cooling and hydropower allocations.
The Buffalo Niagara region has potential data center locations available similar to the site chosen by Yahoo!. The high-tech friendly sites include more than 4,600 acres, all situated in close proximity to power transmission and within approximately 25 minutes of the Buffalo Niagara International Airport.
Business Development Manager
Buffalo Niagara Enterprise