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

A “Gold” Moment for Buffalo

With a high energy crowd, Advertising Club of Buffalo celebrated some of Buffalo’s leading advertising and design work last week at the 2015 Western New York Addy Awards. Congratulations to all! And Special Kudos to John Paget and team for Next Things Now: Innovation & Entrepreneurship in Buffalo, Gold recipient.

After watching the video again, I’m looking forward the launch of the next 43North competition!

The Buffalo Billion Evolution

Sunset Downtown Buffalo, New YorkPhotographer: Douglas Levere

Sunset Downtown Buffalo, New YorkPhotographer: Douglas Levere

The change in Buffalo Niagara’s collective psyche and economy – a renewed optimism, cranes in the air, and growth of new and existing businesses – is not a figment of our imaginations.  The after-effect of the “Buffalo Billion” is tangible and much-deserved credit goes to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s investment in Western New York’s future.

From downstate all the way to Asia, Buffalo Niagara is benefiting from a renewed interest and greater appreciation of our assets.  Our affordable workforce, infrastructure, low-cost power, educational institutions and enviable location have been promoted by BNE since its inception 16 years ago.  The Buffalo Billion was the shot in the arm that our region needed, and where preparation met opportunity.  And the momentum it has created, the change in attitude from within and without, must be sustained. Thanks to thoughtful planning and execution, that is an attainable goal.

The involvement of local universities in the development of start-ups has the potential to retain and attract highly educated graduates and create jobs for some of the talented 25 – 34 year olds who left for greener pastures.  I don’t know a single parent who wouldn’t be pleased to have their kids come back, and now that is more than a pipedream.

Cooperation among counties, including IDAs and elected officials, is another positive outcome.  The BNE has been involved with and provided support for many of the Buffalo Billion’s initiatives, and we will continue to build on strategies such as smart growth, diversity, and workforce development, working cooperatively with nearby regions.

It’s no accident that Buffalo Niagara caught the Governor’s attention and earned his trust and investment. More than a decade of hard work, cooperation and thoughtful planning are paying off in dividends that can and will sustain this positive momentum and become of a model for the rest of the state to follow.

by Tom Kucharski, President & CEO

If We Develop It

The latest report from the CBRE Buffalo office sets industrial vacancy rates at a record-low, 4.5%. On the plus side, we can celebrate the fact that there is growing interest in relocating or expanding a business in Buffalo Niagara.  On the minus side, our inventory of existing commercial real estate, especially in the industrial market, is shrinking.  Large, modern, open facilities with high ceilings and other industrial amenities are difficult to identify in any western New York market. Now is the time for local developers to turn their attention to this pressing lack of industrial inventory.

Spec space can be challenging and partially leased space has been difficult to impossible to finance since the recession. While spec space can be a risky and costly endeavor, properly done, it could benefit both the developer and the Buffalo-Niagara region.

Preparing an industrial site for development can take months, maybe years. This means looking both within, and beyond, the city limits, identifying potential parcels that will suit a manufacturing business’s substantial needs — like access to transportation, low cost power, water, parking and more.

The recent spotlight on Buffalo Niagara has led to even more attention from site selectors. Thanks to our industrial past, there is an available and affordable workforce, attractive to out-of-market manufacturers. But without the real estate, our region is going to miss out on golden opportunities that translate to jobs lost for both younger and older workers.

by Steve Blake, CCIM  Partner, CBRE|Buffalo


UB CMI – Connecting Advanced Manufacturers to Solutions

Manufacturing remains the third largest employment sector in Buffalo Niagara, representing 50,000 employees and $6.3 billion in gross regional product. To grow and remain competitive, companies require assistance and assets to innovate, update their business models, develop new products to enter emerging markets, and enhance manufacturing capabilities.

Established in 2012, UB’s NYS Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics (CMI) is a community-based resource to help manufacturing firms grow. With a designated business development executive and more than 50 affiliated faculty members, CMI has assisted more than 100 companies in Buffalo Niagara. Across the industry sectors of advanced manufacturing, clean energy, and life sciences, CMI facilitates access to shared equipment, high-performance computing, funding sources and exceptional research and development capabilities.

CMI works with companies of all sizes, from start-ups to Fortune 500 – they understand the processes, products, and programs that drive success. As business development executive, Chris Janson explains,

“Each company and opportunity is unique. When they explain their situation we listen and then customize a solution that best fits their needs. Every day I connect companies with UB’s vast R&D assets and cultivate relationships between industry and the material scientists who are making the next great breakthroughs in technology. And, if we don’t have the right capabilities in-house, we will connect them with valuable members of the ecosystem and collaborative resources.”

Buffalo Niagara offers many benefits to advanced manufacturers such as skilled workforce and low-cost power, but tools like CMI elevate the strength of our region.  CMI, along with Insyte Consulting, World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara, and EWI is a leading partner in Buffalo Manufacturing Works, one of Governor Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiatives. Together, they will help companies with applied R&D, market expansion, and process improvement. BNE proudly promotes these resources to companies looking to expand here; demonstrating our region’s commitment and expertise in this industry.

If you are ready to develop or improve your products and services and bring your industry-changing ideas to market contact:

Christopher Janson

Business Development Executive



Watch this video to discover what the CMI can do for you:

by Jenna Kavanaugh, BNE Marketing Director

WNY NYSCAR Awards Highlights Regional Momentum

A staple in Buffalo’s commercial real estate community is the annual awards dinner for the WNY Chapter of the New York State Commercial Association of Realtors (WNYNYSCAR). The best attended event across all of New York’s regional groups, the dinner allows for brokers, realtors, and commercial real estate service providers the opportunity to network and honor their peers. This year’s awards ceremony took place just over a week ago and reflected the great opportunity and momentum happening in Buffalo’s real estate community. Winners included:

  • Meritorious Service Award: Michael Schmand, Buffalo Place Inc. executive director. Chosen for his, and Buffalo Place’s, dedication to make Buffalo’s central business district a thriving neighborhood with amenities and activities for all to enjoy.
  • Stuart Hunt Lifetime Achievement Award: V. Jeffrey LiPuma, immediate past managing director of the CBRE/Buffalo, for his tireless work to rebrand and raise the profile of the commercial real estate Realtor in western New York.
  • Largest Sale of the year ($): Dorothy Stahlnecker, MJ Peterson Commercial Real Estate for brokering the deal to sell the Williamtowne and Garden Village Apartments in Cheektowaga for $40,000,000.
  • Largest Lease of the Year ($): David Schiller, Pyramid Brokerage Co. of Buffalo for the long-term lease he secured for KeyBank moving its offices into 250 Delaware Ave., also the soon-to-be headquarter location for Delaware North.
  • Transaction Volume Award (Team): Patricia Collins and Eric Tudor, Coldwell Banker Commercial Meridian
  • Transaction Volume Award (Individual): Joseph Deck, RealtyUSA Commercial

Congratulations to this year’s winners and thank you for making the Buffalo-Niagara commercial real estate community so dynamic!

by Christopher Finn, Research Manager