The Buffalo Billion Momentum

by Tom Kucharski, president and CEO

It’s been two years since New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the allocation of a billion-dollar investment – the “Buffalo Billion” – during his January 2012 “State of the State” address.Buffalo Billion Logo 2

It could have been just another political maneuver. But this time was different.

Today, that promise is coming to fruition with vigorous development and unprecedented job growth in Buffalo Niagara. The Buffalo Billion:

  • Is a strategy – not a silver bullet – that rewards growth-oriented development in focused, forward-looking fields like genomics, clean energy and advanced manufacturing and results in progressive projects like RiverBend
  • Wraps training and education around high-skill jobs, via the Buffalo Niagara Advanced Training Institute, to ensure our workforce is ready when expanding and relocating businesses open their doors here
  • Promotes opportunities for entrepreneurs through high-stakes competition for new ideas and new businesses – like 43North, with $5 million in prizes
  • Leverages public funds to deliver exponential private investment while ensuring that local and state entities retain the power to direct the region’s vision and growth

And we have tremendous advantages that other regions only dream of:

  • Central proximity to major U.S. cities as well as a shared border with our country’s leading trade partner, Canada
  • Low-cost energy available to power high-tech manufacturing and computing
    Affordable commercial and residential real estate
  • Outstanding entertainment, arts and culture and vibrant colleges and universities
  • The collective support and buy-in of our region’s and our state’s government, for-profit and community-based leaders

We’ve got all this – backed by a billion bucks.

Already, over $300 million has been awarded to businesses, higher education and research, and special projects that enhance quality of life and increase tourism and that will produce thousands of jobs in life sciences, clean energy, digital arts and sciences, and more.

And there’s nearly $700 million in the new State budget ready for investment.

Could your business be next? Contact Buffalo Niagara Enterprise today to learn more about opportunities in the Buffalo Niagara region.

Connect with BNE at Trade Events

by Tony Kurdziel, Business Development Manager

BNE’s 2014 travel schedule is already in full swing, with each trip carefully planned around our industry attraction strategy. Thus far, we have already exhibited at the Canadian Home Furnishing Market Trade Show ( held at The International Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, and featured hundreds of manufacturers and distributors from across North America. We participated in this as part of business development/networking event that the American Chamber of Commerce in Canada (Halton Peel Chapter) coordinated. Many thanks to those folks for inviting us to their event.

In the next several weeks, BNE’s Business Development team will be increasing our travel as the trade show industry emerges from its winter lull. There is great deal of research that goes into researching and selecting these shows, followed by more effort to schedule appointments with attendees at each show. We also try to maximize the downtime before and after trade shows by meeting with site consultants and real estate brokers that work in our market but do not have an office presence here. It is an efficient way for us to keep Buffalo Niagara “top of mind” with key service providers and influencers across North America.

Here is a partial list of the shows we will be attending in the upcoming months:

If anyone would like to connect with BNE prior to- or at – these shows, simply reach out to me, Alan Rosenhoch or Carolyn Powell.

Top 10 Reasons Canadian Businesses Expand to Buffalo Niagara

Since 2000, BNE has helped more than 60 Canadian companies expand their business to Buffalo Niagara. Each of these companies was unique and had their own reasons why they wanted to enter the U.S. market however there were certainly some common themes. See the following infographic for the top ten reasons Canadian companies expanded here:
Buffalo Niagara Can Jan2014

Q&A with For-Robin on cancer therapeutic development

Dr. Kate Rittenhouse-Olson is Director of University at Buffalo’s (UB) Biotechnology Undergraduate Program and Founding President of For-Robin Inc.

Kate Rittenhouse-Olson, Professor of Biochemistry Photographer: Douglas Levere

Kate Rittenhouse-Olson, Professor of Biochemistry Photographer: Douglas Levere

For-Robin is a company developing a promising drug: an antibody that stops breast cancer tumors from metastasizing to other parts of the body. The product, called JAA-F11, binds to the Thomsen-Friedenreich glycoantigen (TF-Ag), which is a unique target expressed on the surface of about 80% of breast, colon, bladder, prostate and other carcinomas. The key is that JAA-F11 is highly selective and is not expected to bind on normal tissues. JAA-F11 was discovered in Dr. Rittenhouse-Olson’s UB laboratory and she then spun off the company with the mission of translating the product from the laboratory to commercial/clinical use.

Dr. Rittenhouse-Olson was a post-doctoral fellow at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) wherein she gained clinical tumor immunology experience with Dr. T. Ming Chu, (the discoverer of Prostate Specific Antigen for diagnosis) and then carbohydrate experience with Dr. Khushi Matta. For over 25 years, her UB laboratory has been involved in studying carbohydrate tumor associated antigens, and primarily TF-Ag. Last year, she and her colleague Ernesto De Nardin published a textbook, “Contemporary Clinical Immunology and Serology,” for which she drew the original diagrams for many of its illustrations of molecules.

Dr. Rittenhouse-Olson is also interested in exploring JAA-F11’s utility as a cancer imaging agent and tumor killer. The antibody is only expected to bind with cancer cells, which means doctors could use it to locate tumors, or to deliver cancer-fighting compounds straight to cancer cells. In addition, the alterations that researchers are making to the antibody may make it possible for the antibody to directly kill tumor cells.

Q. What is the significance of the name of your company, For-Robin?



A. For-Robin is named in memory of my sister, Robin, who died in 1986 due to breast cancer at the age of 31. My sister Robin was a special person, a mix of many things funny and serious. She was a hard worker and also an entrepreneur. She was a leader and was in charge of a group of counselors in Fairport, NY. She told the teenagers she counseled that there would be people in their lives that would say mean or hurtful things to them, sometimes even under the guise of a normal conversation. She taught them to answer not with their fists or with mean words, but with the simple and controlled sentence “How do you expect me to feel now that you have said that?”. This was a great way to turn around a situation without escalating it. She had teenage foster children, children that had drug or criminal records and would have been difficult to place anywhere else. She loved them and they loved her.

Q. What assistance has For Robin received in its early stages, both monetary and otherwise?

A. For-Robin, established in 2012 and renting laboratory space at University at Buffalo, has received the following assistance:

  • A Phase I STTR grant from the National Cancer Institute Grant #: 1R41CA176951, in the amount of $282K for the project period 5/1/2013 to 4/30/2014. The Grant was awarded based on a peer review of the science and its promise as a future therapeutic for the treatment of breast cancer.
  • A matching University at Buffalo Bruce Holm Catalyst grant in the amount of $50K.
  • A matching University at Buffalo Center for Advanced Biomedical and Bioengineering Technology (UB CAT) grant in the amount of $30K.
  • Business development help from UB-STOR in the form of an entrepreneur-in-residence, Robert Redd, and innovation interns Connor Flynn, John D. Fraczek and David Huoh.
  • Development guidance from the pre-seed workshop sponsored by the Center of Excellence (COE), prior to business formation and set-up

Q. Did you consider other areas for start-up beside Buffalo Niagara, if so why did you choose Western NY?

A. I choose Buffalo, and will choose to remain in Buffalo because of the

Lab of Kate Rittenhouse-Olson, Professor of Biochemistry Photographer: Douglas Levere

Lab of Kate Rittenhouse-Olson, Professor of Biochemistry Photographer: Douglas Levere

support network here, including UB STOR, the COE, and the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences faculty and students.

Q. What were the first steps you took in your process of starting up?

A. I began by talking to area biotech entrepreneurs who were very generous with their time and advice. Buffalo’s greatest asset is the collegiality of the members of the biotech sector. Even a year later, attracting talent from this area and specifically from UB is easy. I recently recruited an excellent post-doctoral fellow, Loukia Karacosta.

Q. At what stage of development is JAA-F11? What are the next steps?JAAF11diagram

A. We are in our first year of funded support from the NCI STTR. Our most recent data is moving us rapidly forward and the next step is to ready the antibody for human clinical trials by replacing some mouse parts with human parts. The alterations, which are underway, will decrease the chance of patients’ immune systems rejecting the antibody. My husband, James Olson a toxicologist who is also at UB is deeply involved in supporting this venture, and my good friend Sally Quataert, Director of the Human Immunology Center (HIC) Core Laboratory, at the University of Rochester, is facilitating our business efforts as well. Through a subcontract to my lab at UB, Susan Morey at lab manager at UB, Julia Abdullah, a Ph.D. student in the Microbiology Department at UB, Jing Ying Eng a master’s student in Biotechnical and Clinical Laboratory Science at UB, Bethany Cross and Ashley Rohl, undergraduates at UB are involved in the development of the JAA-F11 antibody.

My life works in Buffalo Niagara because of the support of the scientific, business and academic communities in the Buffalo Niagara region.

Read interviews with other Life Sciences professionals in Buffalo Niagara

by Alan Rosenhoch, Business Development Manager

From Rusty to Radiant: Buffalo’s Transformation

Read Buffalo Niagara’s story as recently featured in TrustBelt, a platform that focuses on telling the story of the economic resurgence of the Greater Midwest Region of the USA.

Buffalo, NY Photograph by Douglas Levere

Buffalo, NY Photograph by Douglas Levere

From Rusty to Radiant

Silver bullets don’t bring shine back – but years of hard work can, and nowhere is this more evident than in Buffalo Niagara. Here, a spirit of collaboration emanates from a shared vision, with strategic goals for business and community development that are fueled by wind, water and more than $8.1 billion in public and private investment over the last five years.

A new Buffalo Niagara is rapidly taking shape: It’s a region enjoying success today and positioned for long-term growth tomorrow in advanced manufacturing, life sciences and biotechnologies, finance, education, advanced agriculture – all within one of the most affordable and enjoyable regions of the country.

A Vision for the Future, Realized Today

A driving force behind the region’s remarkable resurgence has been the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC). Conceived in 2003 with a 20-year master plan focused on bioinformatics, life sciences, clinical care, innovation, and research, the BNMC’s goals were achieved in only eight years – thanks to collaborative public-private partnerships supported by essential seed funding and streamlined processes to get new projects off the ground.

As a result, state-of-the-art, multidisciplinary entities are having a tremendous impact on Buffalo Niagara’s economy:

  • more than $1.5 billion invested, including the relocation of the highly ranked University at Buffalo medical school to the BNMC
  • 5,000 jobs created or relocated to this innovation hub since 2003
  • another 5,000-7,000 more jobs expected in the next five years

A More Diversified Region, a More Secure Future

While the success of the BNMC has been unprecedented, Buffalo Niagara’s business, government, education, non-profit and philanthropic leaders learned long ago that economic diversification is critical for sustained strength. That’s why Buffalo Niagara’s growth isn’t limited to one economic engine. Instead, a high level of creative cooperation is resulting in a total evolution of the region’s economy, with another $1.5 billion in projects underway in the City of Buffalo’s central business district and the waterfront.

From California’s Silicon Valley to Canada, and from life sciences technology to shipping, businesses like Geico, Yahoo, Greenpac, Welded Tube of Canada, and Alpina are relocating and expanding here because Buffalo Niagara offers everything they need to succeed: a skilled and dedicated workforce, highly competitive commercial and industrial real estate costs, low-cost energy, research and development partnerships, proximity to numerous major North American cities and a vast transportation network for imports, exports and cross-continental shipping. The region also offers reasonable business development costs and easy access to major markets like New York, Chicago, Boston and Toronto without the hassles or high costs of locating in major metropolitan areas.

The region’s slow-but-steady growth over the last decade also meant that while other areas experienced “boom and bust” economies, Buffalo Niagara’s housing market continued to strengthen and our employment rates remained stable. In addition, our strong bi-national business ties and our proximity to Canada’s largest city benefited our region in everything from retail to restaurants to manufacturing.

And, thanks to Buffalo Niagara’s geography – within the largest freshwater basin in the world and surrounded by two Great Lakes and the mighty Niagara River – the region is uniquely positioned to support forward-looking energy production, like wind and solar energy, and to supply inexpensive hydroelectric power to new and expanding manufacturers in Buffalo Niagara.

Growth Fueled by State-Level Support

In 2012, New York State pledged $1 billion in state funding for growth in key industries and to leverage an additional $5 billion in private investment. This unprecedented state commitment to the continued revitalization of the western New York economy means that new and relocating businesses get the support they need for companies to take root and grow. Investments from the “Buffalo Billion” are decided through collaborations like the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council, with input from the Buffalo Niagara Enterprise (BNE) and other partners and will continue to be for several years to come.

Further fueling this growth is the Start-Up NY initiative, in which businesses opening or expanding in select economic development zones – determined largely by proximity to New York’s remarkable higher education institutions – operate tax-free for 10 years, offering extraordinary opportunities for partnerships between Buffalo Niagara’s numerous colleges and universities and business. Continue reading

Buffalo Niagara In the News

Industry publications and national media are taking note of developments and opportunities in the Buffalo Niagara region. Take a look at some of the latest features:Buffalo Niagara Press nov2013

Welcome Nulife Glass – NY’s First CRT Recycler

Nulife Glass Furnace in Kent, England

Nulife Glass Furnace in Kent, England

by Alan Rosenhoch, Business Development Manager

This past year, I had the pleasure of working with UK-based  Nulife Glass, and particularly owner and founder Simon Greer, as they established their first U.S.-based operations and introduced their ground-breaking recycling technology to North America.  The following is their story of US expansion with links to information about their unique technology.

Project Background:

Nulife Glass, a highly specialized recycling company based in Manchester, England has developed a unique method to recycle the leaded glass found in Cathode Ray Tubes, or CRT’s (glass components commonly found in older style televisions and computer monitors). This technology is the first of its kind, and has yet to be used in the U.S.

A growing market awaits Nulife, as its technology solves a rapidly growing problem in the electronics recycling industry. Sweeping changes in flat screen technologies have made most CRT products obsolete, causing glass waste materials to accumulate in massive stockpiles. Previously, CRT glass was recycled with relative ease into new CRTs; but today, there are nearly no new CRT products being manufactured. CRT glass contains lead oxide; Nulife’s proprietary technology extracts the metallic lead from the glass which is immediately ready for re-sale to the metal markets and the remaining recycled glass can safely be used in other products.

Project Problem:

Nulife was looking to bring its new technology to the North American market with three to four locations geographically dispersed, one being in the Northeast. The company was drawn to the Buffalo Niagara region due the opportunity for an allocation of low-cost hydropower from the New York Power Authority (NYPA). The recycling process uses an electrically heated furnace which consumes a large amount of power, making this Nulife’s most expensive overhead cost. They are also a steward of the environment and green technology. The company practices this ideal in every aspect of its recycling process when possible, making hydropower extremely attractive. Nulife also needed to find a building suited to their manufacturing needs and in a location that could easily access a supply of CRT Glass.

Project Solution:

The largest hurdle to the project occurring in Buffalo Niagara was the company’s ability to navigate state regulatory agencies. Because Nulife’s technology is new and the first of its kind in the U.S., New York State’s regulatory bodies needed to evaluate the potential impact of the company’s operation. With BNE’s help, Nulife was able to move forward with their project, as the company demonstrated that its recycling process would have no negative effects on the environment. BNE also provided assistance with site selection, access to incentives and professional service providers.

The Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency, the county’s Department of Economic Development and the Town of Sheridan also played important roles in site selection and assisted the company with the permitting process for their new facility.

Nulife will invest $3.7 million to renovate a 50,000 square foot manufacturing plant in the Town of Sheridan where they will create 25 new jobs.

Read about Nulife’s road to New York :

Read about Nulife’s technology:

Continuing the Conversation with Canadian Businesses

by Tony Kurdziel, Business Development Manager

During the month of October, BNE has maintained a busy schedule in southern Ontario. During the first week of the month, we attended the Canadian Manufacturing Technology Show ( in Mississauga, Ontario. Over two days, we had conversations with several dozen companies and came away with a handful of in-depth meetings that could germinate into new investment opportunities in our region. At the very least, this show provided a great opportunity to meet with companies across a wide spectrum of industry, and from across almost all provinces. As with all trade shows, it is largely a matter of “working the floor” and aggressively seeking companies that might have a business reason to locate in western New York.

On October 10, we attended the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR) Canada East- Fall Seminar in Toronto. In addition to the the educational component of this event, we were able to network with the approximately 50 real estate professionals in attendance. These events are a great opportunity for us to keep the southern Ontario real estate community thinking about Buffalo Niagara when one of their clients decides to expand to the U.S. Hopefully these casual discussions will someday lead to inbound referrals for our locally-based developers and real estate brokers.

Prior to the SIOR event, we also had individual meetings with southern Ontario companies that are considering investment in our region. Again, more promising activity that is being driven by the strong Canadian dollar and our targeted marketing efforts.

This month Canadian also featured two Canadian companies that expanded their businesses accross the border in Plenty of Perks for Canadians Mulling Move to NY as a result of a visit we hosted in September.

A decade of hard work – and it’s just the beginning

by Tom Kucharski, president & CEO, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise

A recent article in Buffalo Business First, “Steelmaker picks Buffalo for new $102M plant,” says it all: Another win for Buffalo – after more than a year of courting and negotiations by a coalition developed through Buffalo Niagara Enterprise.

That’s another $102 million in new development and an estimated 172 jobs with great salaries and benefits. Success breeds success, too, and there’s widespread optimism that Buffalo Niagara’s future looks brighter than most people thought possible – most, but not our team at BNE.

For years, we’ve known that Buffalo Niagara’s got all the hallmarks of the greatest places to live and do business and for more than a decade, we’ve been laying the groundwork for today’s success.

Working with our investors and our public and private economic development partners, we’ve built coalitions of business leaders, elected and appointed officials, academics, researchers and entrepreneurs to develop strategies for business attraction.   Governor Andrew Cuomo and Empire State Development Corporation, the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council, County Executive Mark Poloncarz and the Erie County Industrial Development Agency, Mayor Byron Brown and the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation, Buffalo Niagara Partnership and Visit Buffalo Niagara are just a few of the many elected officials and partner organizations we work with to bring about the change necessary to move our economy forward.

From Silicon Valley to the United Arab Emirates, businesses are expanding and relocating here because we offer everything they need to succeed: a skilled and dedicated workforce, highly competitive commercial real estate, low-cost energy, research and development partnerships, proximity to numerous major North American cities and a vast array of networks for imports, exports and cross-continental shipping.

Buffalo Niagara is once again developing a reputation as a world-class region that’s competitive for businesses and attractive for employees.  But we’re up against some pretty tough competition including some of the largest cities in the country and the fastest-growing global hotspots. Continued success will take more than just “being in the game.”  Capitalizing on this momentum will require even more focus on long-term growth and continued economic diversification.   It will demand teamwork, and a unified regional approach.

That’s why BNE will keep working hard to build relationships, bring people together, and tell our great story to the outside world.

We’re proud of the work we’ve accomplished with our partners and we look forward to many more articles about Buffalo Niagara’s continued resurgence – the result of visionary planning, input and insight from a variety of stakeholders, and meticulous and consistent coordination.  Exciting things are happening in Buffalo Niagara again, with even brighter days ahead of us.

Check out these other recent success stories to learn more about why businesses like Geico, Yahoo, Greenpac and Alpina are relocating and expanding here – and if you’re interested in learning more about how the region can benefit your company’s expansion, relocation or startup, contact us today.

What’s in a (Code) Name?

by Christopher Finn, Research Manager

A standard practice across the business attraction industry, code names are a critical component of BNE’s work. From shareholder concerns to competitive advantages, the companies we work with demand confidentiality. Once a company gets a code name within BNE, it becomes rare to hear the company’s true name again. But how are the names chosen?

The project could come to us with a name already in place, but if not, a quick brainstorming of BNE staff begins. The project manager provides the team a few basic details: company name, stakeholders names, products, etc., and then the magic happens. (And by magic, I mean usually a Seinfeld reference). We try to create at least two degrees of separation from the code name to the company to thwart any would-be sleuths. So, for better or worse, we’re pulling back the curtain on our “super-secret “ process!

Project Bayside

Project Bayside

Project Goalie (Sentient Science, advanced manufacturing testing software) Company CEO’s name is Ward Thomas. Cam Ward + Tim Thomas (Both NHL goalies) = Ward Thomas = Project Goalie

Project Hello (Alita USA, Dubai-based steel tube manufacturer) Shortly after the successful Welded Tube project announcement we were contacted by another steel tube manufacturing company. “Oh hello there second steel tube company!”…turned into this.

Project Flux (Name withheld) A company whose power requirements were so large (120MW) that we felt they needed a flux capacitor to run the place!

Project Pilgrim (Yahoo! data center) This one from the company. One of the project leaders was from South America and was not familiar with the east coast of the United States…except for it being the location of the Pilgrims’ arrival.

Project Wave (Originally dubbed Project White Wave before BNE was involved) (Muller/Quaker yogurt manufacturing facility) This is a multi-corporate endeavor, including Pepsico. White Wave…Pepsi. Some are so obvious in hindsight it’s sad we didn’t crack them first.

Project Bayside (Name withheld) A company executive is named Mario = Mario Lopez = AC Slater, champion wrestler for Bayside High School on Saved by the Bell.

I even had my six year old daughter name one. Project Shadow (Name withheld) Working from home one day we began working with a company whose name reminded me of the word voodoo. I turned to my daughter and asked her what she thinks of when I say “voodoo” and she said the Shadow Man from Disney’s Princess & the Frog.

We ensure that a code name could never lead someone back to the actual company, but now that you have an understanding of how we think, it’s fun to try!