Buffalo Niagara: The Fam Tour

Buffalo Niagara Enterprise recently hosted a group of Site Selectors for a two-day Familiarization Tour. As you can tell by one attendee’s comments below, it was truly perception changing:

I wanted to thank you for your hospitality and that of your entire team during last week’s program in Buffalo.  I came away with an entirely new perspective on Buffalo, many ideas about how I might use what I saw and learned, and the knowledge that your team is knowledgeable, professional, personal, and enthused about Buffalo. I look forward to working with the people I met, both from BNE and the various organizations we met with, and I must say that there has not been a day since I returned that I have not told someone about things I saw and learned there.

Here are some highlights of the exciting (and busy) event:

Niagara Falls Tour

The weather was perfect and we had a great view – including a rainbow.  We can’t visit the Falls with Site Selectors without having good discussion about low-cost hydropower available from the New York Power Authority.


Bak USA Tour

Ulla Bak, president of Bak USA, the first pc tablet manufacturer in the US, hosted a tour of their new facility. Karen Utz, director, program administration, University at Buffalo Office of Economic Development and Robert Leteste, commercialization coordinator, New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, provided an overview of StartUP-NY and discussed how the program helped drive Bak’s decision to locate in Buffalo Niagara. Attendees each received a WIFI Bak tablet as a memento of their visit.


Buffalo Manufacturing Works & Manufacturing Panel

Steve Levesque, operations manager, and Nadine Powell, business development and engagement, gave an in-depth look at Buffalo Manufacturing Works, part of Governor Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion Investment Development Plan.  Moog, GM Powertrain, Tapecon, and Remedy Staffing all participated in a panel discussing manufacturing opportunities in terms of workforce, real estate, infrastructure and affordability in Buffalo Niagara.


Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus

Vic Nole, director of new business development, Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc, delivered an in-depth tour of the booming Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus while Dennis Penman, Ciminelli Real Estate Corporation gave an inside peak at the Conventus, including a rooftop tour.



Site Selectors enjoyed meeting business leaders and elected officials during a reception hosted by Phillips Lytle LLP overlooking Canalside.


Professional Service Provider Panel

IBM Buffalo Innovation Center, Delaware North and Liazon provided insight to the attraction, hiring and retention of key talent  that businesses can expect when starting or growing in Buffalo Niagara. They delivered strong testimony to the quality and talent of the region’s workforce.


SolarCity GigaFactory Tour

Empire State Development Corporation’s, Peter Cutler, director of communications and special projects showcased construction and discussed progress on the SolarCity site at RiverBend, the largest solar panel manufacturing facility in the Western Hemisphere.


Development Site Tour

Peter Cammarata, president, and David Stebbins, vice president, Buffalo Urban Development Corporation along with Christopher Pawenski, coordinator of industrial assistance programs, Erie County showcased available properties at RiverBend (southside), Buffalo Lakeside Commerce Park, (former) Bethlehem Site, and Northlands.


When asked about their perceptions of Buffalo after their visit, site selectors responded:

“Very impressed with the development, transition and opportunities. I like what’s going on.”

“An area that is absolutely in the process of transforming itself. A vibrant, diverse economy with business owners that care about the community. A cooperative economic development approach across multiple departments.”

Thank you to the wonderful site selectors that visited with us in Buffalo Niagara and to all of the organizations and people that supported this event!

by Jenna Kavanaugh, Marketing Director

Hey Buffalo Niagara, Opportunity Knocks…

Originally posted on Buffalo Niagara Enterprise Blog | Economic Development Discussions:

Do you have a dynamite business idea? Do you want to be part of the new Buffalo momentum?  Check out these incredible opportunities that reflect the changing tide and join the growing community of entrepreneurs who are living their dreams, contributing to the region’s renaissance and growing jobs in Buffalo Niagara.

Applications are open for not one but TWO amazing investment opportunities:


During the nationwide “Rise of the Rest” tour, Steve Case — cofounder of AOL and CEO of Revolution — will visit Buffalo to discuss the importance of startups to the city and invest $100,000 in a local startup during a pitch competition.  Case will also host a happy hour celebration for supporters of the startup community.

If you are interested in pitching your startup to win the $100,000 investment from legendary entrepreneur Steve Case on September 30th, start your application today.


Get busy! …

View original 264 more words

Hey Buffalo Niagara, Opportunity Knocks…

Do you have a dynamite business idea? Do you want to be part of the new Buffalo momentum?  Check out these incredible opportunities that reflect the changing tide and join the growing community of entrepreneurs who are living their dreams, contributing to the region’s renaissance and growing jobs in Buffalo Niagara.

Applications are open for not one but TWO amazing investment opportunities:


During the nationwide “Rise of the Rest” tour, Steve Case — cofounder of AOL and CEO of Revolution — will visit Buffalo to discuss the importance of startups to the city and invest $100,000 in a local startup during a pitch competition.  Case will also host a happy hour celebration for supporters of the startup community.

If you are interested in pitching your startup to win the $100,000 investment from legendary entrepreneur Steve Case on September 30th, start your application today.


Get busy!  The application deadline is Sunday 9/13 at 11.59pm EST.

For further details and to start your application visit: https://www.f6s.com/riseofrest/apply

To learn more here is a recent Buffalo News piece on Rise of the Rest, and here is a blogpost from Steve Case announcing the upcoming tour.


University at Buffalo will host the Seventh Annual Bright Buffalo Niagara Entrepreneur Expo on October 28, providing business owners the opportunity to present live pitches and make connections with venture capitalists at the entrepreneurial trade show. This dynamic forum, designed to increase exposure for startup businesses and develop valuable relationships, will feature Daymond John, founder and CEO of the FUBU (“For Us, By Us”) clothing line, and star of ABC’s business reality show “Shark Tank.”

If you are interested in pitching your startup to venture capitalists at Bright Buffalo Niagara, start your application today.


You can apply here: http://www.brightbuffaloniagara.com/

The application deadline is Friday 8/14 at 11.59pm EST.

But these events aren’t for startups only. You can support the growing startup community by registering to attend the Rise of the Rest pitch competition and cheer eight startup finalists as they compete for the $100,000 in prize money.  Come see why and how entrepreneurs and the startup community are vital to the success and future of our region.

And if that’s not enough excitement, we hope to see you October 29 when 43North Finalists pitch for $5 million in prizes! 43North is part of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative and operates through the support of the New York Power Authority.

By Jenna Kavanaugh, Marketing Director

Buffalo’s New View

Recently, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise had the opportunity to tour the facility currently under construction at 250 Delaware Avenue courtesy of property owner Uniland Development Company.  High above the busy intersection of Delaware Avenue and Chippewa Street, you can experience wonderful new views of the city thanks to the 12-story structure. The building will offer 330,000 square feet of the most modern and dynamic space for office, retail and hotel use. It also provides a five-level parking garage, including underground parking. 250 Delaware will serve as the new world headquarters for Fortune 500 company, Delaware North, Inc., which is scheduled to be the first tenant to occupy the building in the Fall. Enjoy the photos below featuring views both of and from Buffalo’s newest commercial development in the Central Business District.






by Jenna Kavanaugh, Marketing Director

Buffalo Niagara by the Numbers


Site selectors and corporate real estate executives look to match business with locations that meet specific project criteria. Communities need to have comprehensive and accurate data readily available to respond to such opportunities.

We developed the Buffalo Niagara Economic Guide to provide a snapshot of our region and feature some of the data most frequently requested by companies locating investment projects including:  major employers, new companies, average salary by occupation, average cost of sites, infrastructure, education, quality of life and more.

Click here to download the 2015 Buffalo Niagara Economic Guide

Click here to generate demographic reports on the Buffalo Niagara Commercial Listing System

by Jenna Kavanaugh, Marketing Director

43 Reasons to Apply for 43North

43North incubator

With 43 days until applications for the 43North Business Idea Competition are due, we’ve compiled 43 reasons to apply to 43North and move to Buffalo:

  1. Work in One of Buffalo’s Coolest Workspaces (for FREE!)
  2. Center for Computational Research – leading super-computing site
  3. A new way to fulfill seed round financing
  4. Start-UP NY (tax free for ten years)
  5. 22 local colleges and universities
  6. Accessible local business leaders/ advisers
  7. Canalside Buffalo
  8. Z80 Labs (high-tech incubator)
  9. Niagara Falls
  10. Buffalo Startup Weekend
  11. Burgeoning Craft Brewery and Distillery Scene
  12. Livable, walk-able communities
  13. One Million Dollars
  14. Startup Grind Buffalo
  15. Affordable, funky housing
  16. VCamp (healthcare technology accelerator)
  17. Experience 4 full seasons every year
  18. Food Truck Tuesdays at Larkin Square
  19. International border community
  20. Ranked as a top arts & culture destination for mid-sized cities
  21. Second largest city in New York State
  22. #OneBuffalo – Two major franchises, and more
  23. Great Lake City on the Erie Canal terminus
  24. Free facilitated mentorship
  25. Culture of innovation
  26. Home to masterworks of America’s Greatest Architects
  27. Dynamic entrepreneur community
  28. Buffalo Manufacturing Works (resource center for advanced manufacturing)
  29. Ranked third best food city worldwide by National Geographic
  30. Locate on the growing Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus
  31. Playing Ping Pong on your breaks
  32. Forbes Magazine ranked America’s Most Affordable City
  33. Home of America’s First PC tablet assembler
  34. Average commute time 20.6 minutes (5.2 min. faster than the national average)
  35. Center for Advanced Technologies Research Funding (CAT) from University at Buffalo
  36. A revitalized downtown core
  37. Bike friendly city
  38. D!G (brand-new innovative co-working space)
  39. Buffalo Olmstead Park System
  40. Water, water everywhere
  41. Annual Pre-Seed Workshop
  42. Apartment rent $/sq. ft. $1.20
  43. And finally, Chicken Wings!

With $5M in prizes for 43North Business Idea Competition, there are millions of reasons Buffalo, NY could be the right place for you.

By BNE Staff


START-UP NY: Six Lessons Learned

StartUP NY panel

On April 16, I attended a University at Buffalo (UB) START-UP NY panel discussion moderated by Karen Utz, Director, Program Administration, featuring seven impressive program recipients. One of 67 schools (10 in WNY) approved for START-UP NY, UB has nearly 40 companies accepted in the program. Acceptance is just the beginning; UB becomes a partner, mentor, trusted advisor and resource to these companies.  Here are my top six take-away lessons from the panel discussion:

  1. People make the program

The panelists represented a variety of industries, development stages and challenges. What they all shared is deep gratitude for the support and collaboration of their university partners. Participant Brendon Dever noted that there are numerous programs that help companies grow, but it’s the personal commitment of UB staff that takes START-UP NY to another level. “HeadsUp Display exists today because of the efforts of UB,” were his exact words.

  1. Great talent

If you want a great hire, contact UB. The panelists gave UB grads and interns glowing reviews. BAK USA raved about the marketing graduate that optimized their website and the computer science and biomedical engineers who developed a new plug-in device for their product. Assisting with Hemogenyx’s research is a UB intern working with Children’s Hospital.

  1. Money isn’t everything

According to Illuminating Diagnostics, while there are financial benefits to START-UP NY, the REAL value is the validation, publicity and mentorship UB provides.  Sarah Scouten says that the days that count the most are when failures occur. UB is her go-to team; the people and resources she turns to when she has to answer “what now?”  Sandra Small, UB Workforce Development Associate and Tom Murdoch, WNY Innovation Hot Spot Manager have been particularly vital to her company’s development.

  1. Apply for 43North

Hemogenyx was a $500,000 43North winner last year and according to Vladislav Sandler, “Buffalo is the ideal place for a Biotech company.” Other panelists said they would apply this year.

  1. START-UP NY isn’t just for startups

New Era Cap is a successful, multi-generational Buffalo-headquartered company. They participate in START-UP NY as NE Innovations. Sportswear is a highly competitive industry with evolutions in 3D printing and wearable tech game-changers. New Era needed a mechanism to quickly develop and commercialize new products. Working with Karen Utz and UB’s NYS Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics Business Development Executive Chris Janson, NE Innovations found space at Baird Research Park–where they work with Dr. Mark Swihart and have access to top-notch R&D and testing facilities.

  1. Contact UB

UB’s resources are available to any local business looking to grow, remain competitive, or seeking to solve a business challenge. Reach out to UB to find out how you can collaborate; they’ll leverage statewide resources through the SUNY network to help you succeed.

by Jenna Kavanaugh, Director Marketing & Communications

Koike Aronson Thinks and Builds Big in Wyoming County


I recently had the opportunity to tour Koike Aronson–a manufacturer of high quality metal cutting, welding and positioning equipment. They make the equipment that builds some of the world’s most critical and enduring products. Koike’s facility is well suited for production of the large-scale equipment they design, manufacture and ship globally. Situated in Arcade, NY, the company says that it benefits from its close proximity to international ports, affordable power, and exceptional workforce.

Since 2007 Koike has increased its size three times, including a 30,000 sq. ft. expansion aptly coined the “Big House.”  Additionally, they have doubled their workforce from approximately 75 employees to nearly 150. Currently hiring electronic technicians, machinists and welders, Koike says they have no difficulty recruiting or keeping good employees. According to President Jerry Leary, the region’s workforce is mechanically skilled, highly productive and innovative. Much of Koike’s success can be attributed to their workforce, well served not only by its operations staff but great teams in purchasing, customer service, engineering, and software development.

Koike provided a ringing endorsement for Western New York and in particular Wyoming County, noting the support New York State and Wyoming County IDA provided for their expansions and workforce programs. This is a company that invests in product development, facilities and equipment, as well as in their employees and community… and all are reaping the benefits.


by Jenna Kavanaugh, Director, Marketing Communications

Science Inspires Business Opportunities in the New Buffalo

Norma Nowak, PhD, executive director of the University at Buffalo’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences

Norma Nowak, PhD, executive director of the University at Buffalo’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences

Dr. Norma Nowak didn’t plan to become an entrepreneur. This renowned researcher, passionate about science since high school, didn’t think she had the necessary business chops. But when her 38- year-old husband succumbed to a cancer that typically responds well to treatment, she was inspired and motivated to improve patient outcomes.

In 2006, Empire Genomics, a molecular diagnostics firm focused on enabling personalized medicine, was born. At the time, formalized support systems for entrepreneurs were limited, with few resources to help catalyze ideas into businesses.  But Dr. Nowak still found doors that opened to opportunity.

Relationships Lead to Support

Around the same time Nowak was launching Empire Genomics, the New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics (CBLS) was being developed on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, the University at Buffalo’s first foray downtown.  Dr. Marnie LaVigne, currently president and CEO of Launch New York, was leading those efforts at the CBLS and Nowak credits her for the inspirational encouragement and support she provided in the early stages of Empire Genomics’ development.   LaVigne helped Nowak identify funding through UB Center for Advanced Biomedical and Bioengineering Technology (UB CAT) programs and advising investor pitches and providing matchmaking to potential CEO’s. It was through that matchmaking process that Nowak met Anthony Johnson who became Empire Genomics CEO, guiding strategic vision and managing day-to-day operations for the last seven years.

A Statewide Network to Build Businesses

Nowak was recently named executive director of the CBLS, where she will use her experience building Empire Genomics to support other entrepreneurs. CBLS is a concierge to the University at Buffalo, a leading AAU research university with strengths in life science sectors such as molecular diagnostics, medical device, and health care informatics. By listening to businesses and understanding their products and processes, the CBLS provides access to all SUNY institutions in non-traditional engagement and support, supply chain sourcing, access to patient populations, recruiting and more.

Opening More Doors

Nowak expresses tremendous gratitude to the people who helped her get where she is today. From the Canisius College professor that provided encouragement and opportunity as an undergrad to the countless UB colleagues, community partners and investors that provided capital support to Empire Genomics.  Now she intends to be the one to open the doors of opportunity to entrepreneurs and businesses as well as to students in the Buffalo Public schools through STEM programs.

Today there are many more resources available for entrepreneurs, such as Governor Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion and initiatives like 43North. Buffalo is building an environment that nurtures, enables and grows small companies and promotes what it takes to establish business here. There’s not one institution, program or initiative that can be credited for the development of the community’s entrepreneurial resources.  Rather it is a collective of talented and passionate people like Norma Nowak, willing to open doors and motivated to see others and ultimately our community, become successful.

by Jenna Kavanaugh, Marketing Director

Promoting STEM Jobs to Support a Growing Economy

iSciWNY bring STEM Program to Buffalo Public Schools

iSciWNY brings STEM Program to Buffalo Public Schools

The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus is now home to more than 100 companies that will employ approximately 17,000 workers by 2017.  IBM recently announced the creation of 500 new Buffalo-based IT jobs to develop next generation software in the areas of molecular research, genomics, energy efficiency development and defense.  New York State announced SolarCity GigaFactory will be located at the Buffalo High-Tech Manufacturing Innovation Hub at RiverBend.  And Genesee County is aggressively marketing its 1,279-acre, shovel-ready site developed to support large scale SEMI and nanotechnology-based R&D and manufacturing.  These and other developments are shaping our community.

Our region boasts a productive and talented workforce inspired by challenge and change. But with an aging population, it is crucial that we continue to cultivate a workforce able to grow lock- step with these new opportunities.  STEM positions offer a lucrative field for those evaluating a career, with an average starting salary of $50,000. Programs like iSciWNY and Dream It Do It! continue to place emphasis on developing our region’s workforce from grade school through college.

Genome Day is a wonderful example of a local initiative that will help shape young minds.  Taking place during Science Week on March 17, 2015, the University at Buffalo and Roswell Park Cancer Institute will host 400 7th and 8th grade students from the Buffalo Public Schools where UB graduate students and post doctorates will lead a series of activities that promote genomic and bioinformatics literacy.

This initiative is a collaboration between BPS, SUNY and the City of Buffalo, led by Norma Nowak, PhD, executive director at UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, a pioneer in the field of human genomics and Sandra Small, PhD, representing workforce development for iSciWNY.  Students will have the opportunity to extract their own DNA and take it home in a necklace using Bio-Rad’s “Genes in a Bottle” kit; complete a karyotyping activity to look at chromosomal differences to identify a disease; and to promote understanding of DNA structure, create and take home an origami model. Finally, the students will have the opportunity to identify mutations by interpreting sequences from healthy and tumor cells.

What other ideas and great programs do you know of that are connecting students to STEM careers?  Comment below.


by Jenna Kavanaugh, Director, Marketing & Communications