Buffalo Niagara : Cultivating relationships between entrepreneurs and investors

by Megan Rasbeck, Marketing SpecialistBrightLogo-2011

In 2009, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise (BNE) joined an advisory board of community leaders made up of academic, public, private, and nonprofit sectors from both Canada and the United States who came together to form what is known today as Bright Buffalo Niagara or “Bright” for short.

The purpose of Bright is to provide programming to help connect entrepreneurs and investors, with the end goal of bringing start-up companies of all stages to commercialization.  Bright focuses its efforts on the energy, life sciences, IT, and advanced manufacturing industry sectors. The geographic reach of this initiative extends further than Buffalo Niagara, as Bright works to make connections across New York State, Southern Ontario, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Bright believes that working to make connections as a super- region provides a larger pool of entrepreneurs and investors, bringing more benefit to Buffalo Niagara and all other regions involved.

The success of this effort relies on several key partners:

  • Inventors who bring innovation
  • Entrepreneurs who merge ideas into business opportunities
  • Investors, both Angel and Venture Capital, who financially propel      commercialization forward
  • Professionals who support the operations of these new companies
  • Others in the public and private sectors

Bright Buffalo Niagara’s primary focus is the annual Bright Buffalo Niagara Venture Forum. This year’s 2013 forum is just around the corner, taking place September 30-October 1.

The event will include: an investor dinner, Angel and Venture capitalist breakfast, 10-minute and 1- minute entrepreneur presentations, panel discussions, networking time, and remarks from keynote speaker Victor Hwang, CEO of Silicon Valley venture firm T2 Venture Capital and primary author of The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley.

A new, exciting twist on this year’s venture forum is Bright’s partnership with Launch NY’s business plan competition, a global contest with $5 million in prizes that opens for applications this fall and culminates in spring 2014. All 10 -minute company presenters in the Bright Buffalo Forum automatically make it past the first round of “cuts” when applying to Launch NY’s business plan competition. 

 So how can you get involved in the Forum?  Start by visiting www.brightbuffaloniagara.com, get involved with the Bright Buffalo Niagara committee, register to attend the forum in the fall, and consider sponsoring and joining the Bright Buffalo Niagara committee. To learn more about all of these opportunities, contact Suzanne Chamberlain at the University at Buffalo at 716.881.1706 or chamberl@buffalo.edu.

BTRG Interview: A Canadian Business Expansion One Year Later

by Megan Rasbeck, marketing specialist, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise

The Electric Tower in downtown Buffalo, NY – home of BTRG’s new U.S. headquarters

The Business & Technology Resource Group (BTRG), headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario, opened their first U.S. headquarters in December, 2011. Nearly a year later, Rob Kopf, director of shared services, reflects on his company’s expansion.BNE: Tell us a little bit about BTRG:

BTRG: The Business & Technology Resource Group is a software consulting company operating across North America. We manage and support full lifecycle human capital management, financials and supply chain implementation projects.

BNE: Tell me about your location at the Electric Tower, what do you do here specifically and what BTRG customers are served by this facility?

BTRG: The Electric Tower, located on the corner of Washington and E. Huron in downtown Buffalo, serves as our U.S. corporate headquarters. The primary purpose of our Buffalo Niagara office is back office support, meaning: employee recruitment, information technology, and finance and human resource functions. We also conduct some inside sales from this location.

BNE: What was the driving factor behind BTRG’s decision to expand to the U.S.?

BTRG: In 2011, we reorganized our company to better rationalize our back office functions – finance, human resources, recruiting, systems, making it necessary to establish a U.S. headquarters.

BNE: Did you consider other areas of the U.S. besides Buffalo Niagara, if so why did you choose Western NY?

BTRG: When looking for a location for our U.S. headquarters we considered the Washington, DC area. We also considered expanding one of our existing offices in Media, PA or Springfield, MA.

Buffalo Niagara was of interest to us because we have a long history of successful clients here such as: Delaware North, FidelisCare, HealthNow, HSBC, Moog, National Fuel, Niagara County and New Era Cap. Our U.S. attorneys, accountants, and banks are also located here in Buffalo.

A motivated workforce, proximity to BTRG’s corporate headquarters, client history, co-location with our support vendors and the ease and cost of travel all led to the decision to locate BTRG’s Shared Services Center in Buffalo Niagara. This location is also the preferred location for our management meetings. Continue reading

Buffalo Niagara Business Expansion in 2011

During 2011, company expansion projects resulted in 13 wins, 467 new jobs pledged and 330 jobs retained, with nearly $448 million in pledged investment. These projects varied across advanced manufacturing, logistics/distribution, agribusinesses, advanced business services and life science industries.  Out of 13 wins, 8 were Canadian businesses who sought a cross border expansion to take advantage of the larger U.S. market.
Listed below are all the companies that BNE assisted in expanding to the Buffalo Niagara region this past calendar year. Click here for a more detailed list of our businesses expansion projects.
Fashion Village
Alpina Foods
Kingswood Millwork
Greenpac
US Off Track LLC
For a deeper look at the expansion process and how Buffalo Niagara Enterprise has provided assistance to companies who have located to our region, visit our success story page.
Marketing Specialist

Buffalo Niagara Jobs

Megan Rasbeck, marketing specialist, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise
The Buffalo Niagara region has many great employment opportunities, throughout a wide range companies and industries. Our region has a number of useful tools to connect job seekers and employers. Two very effective websites are the NYS Job Site and Buffalo Niagara Jobs.  Both have hundreds of job postings at any given time, are user friendly and have been found successful in helping individuals find jobs and employers fill positions.
The NYS Job Site allows New Yorkers from all regions to browse job opportunities throughout the state, while providing specific industry growth information.  
Buffalo Niagara Jobs provides job opportunities for only the Buffalo Niagara region, yet it lists a multitude of open positions. In the past two days just over 40 jobs have been listed that include jobs titles such as; Sample Control Technician, Senior Quality Engineer, Insurance Authorization Specialist, Clinical Assistant, Human Resource Director, Web Developer, Paralegal, and Accountant.

“A Million Reasons to Expand to Buffalo Niagara”… “Because we Love it Here”

 When we work with projects considering expansion or relocation to the Buffalo Niagara region, there are often hundreds of criteria that need to be addressed. Because each project is unique, that’s often hundreds of data points that need to be researched and compiled– and more often these need to be completed in a very short timeframe. During the last few years we’ve been developing new tools for our website – industry mini-sites, a commercial listing system and demographics reporting tools, regional economic guide, just to name a few – because more site selectors and commercial real estate professionals are narrowing down their short list of communities before they issue a request for information (RFI).  

Having readily available information is critical, as well as having the ability to respond quickly, accurately and comprehensively when we do receive a RFI. But sometimes the data just doesn’t tell the whole story. So we asked prominent Buffalo Niagara business and community leaders to tell their story and talk about why their business is located in the Buffalo Niagara region.  Billion dollar companies, companies focused on life-changing research for cancer patients, companies investing in cutting edge technology – you’ll find it all here.

I had the opportunity to be a part of the interview process by sitting down with Eric Taylor, the President of Canadian wholesale electronics distributor, Electro Sonic.  BNE helped Electro Sonicmake their first expansion into the U.S. in December of 2010.   One of the best parts of being in the field of economic development is seeing a project such as Electro Sonic go through the entire economic development process.  In October of 2008 Electro Sonic was a Canadian company who was exploring the idea of entering the U.S. marketplace.  They are now a very successful company with over 50 well paying jobs located in Tonawanda, NY.  When interviewing Eric about his experiences expanding his company to Buffalo I quickly find out how pleased he is in his decision.   His sales have grown to unexpected numbers, he has found a workforce with a work ethic beyond his expectations, and now he avoids shipping issues at the border. 
When listening to Eric and other business and community leaders in the video you can immediately tell that they genuinely enjoy and benefit from doing business here.  You will find it in their words, voices and even body language.  In the words of Jeremy Jacobs Jr., Principal of Delaware North Companies, “Our company’s headquarters could be in any community, but we choose Buffalo Niagara because we love it here”.
I encourage you to see the millions of reasons businesses come to Buffalo Niagara, and ask you to share it with others
- Megan Rasbeck
 
 
 

Buffalo Niagara Offers Great Opportunities for Investors and Entrepreneurs

The Buffalo Niagara region is an ideal place for investors,  in fact a recent study conducted in June 2010, found the gap between the demand for funding and what is available locally is between $8 and $25 million. This gap, coupled with the fact that Buffalo Niagara Angel Investors funded 37% of presented opportunities over the past five years, twice the national average, demonstrates that our area holds many promising ideas, but not enough investors to fulfill the need. Furthermore, 60% of these deals are in the early or seed stage, almost twice the national average, meaning that future funding sources will be necessary. For investors, or people looking to start investing, this gap provides the opportunity to carefully select the startup that is the best fit.  Since Buffalo is within a short drive from Southern Ontario, Northwestern Pennsylvania, Northeastern Ohio and other parts of New York State, investors from these places can discuss co-investment opportunities.
So how can an investor find the right deals in Buffalo Niagara?

There is a group called Bright Buffalo Niagara (Bright) who works to connect regional investment across the east coast through to the mid-west of both the United States and Canada to the high-tech industry. Bright promotes early-stage investments, quality deal flow, business partnering, and entrepreneurial activities across various high-tech sectors through a series of events. On May 4th, Bright with be hosting two separate educational workshops in collaboration with The Angel Capital Education Foundation.  The event titled “Trends in Raising Capital” is targeted toward the entrepreneur while the other; “The Power of Angel Investing” is for investors.  In addition to the workshops, Bright will present the Bright Forum on June 9th   at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.  The forum is a daylong event will provide investors, entrepreneurs and other professionals a full day of networking and deal making.  Attendees of the Forum will hear entrepreneurial pitches, panel discussions, and a keynote address by Hatim Tyabji, Chairman and CEO of Bytemobile.

These Bright events are coming up quick! To find more event details and how you can get involved visit http://brightbuffaloniagara.com/.
Marketing & Communications
Buffalo Niagara Enterprise