The 43 North business plan competition is attracting people from around the world to Buffalo. Entrepreneurs, start-ups and teams from 56 countries and 48 states have applied to participate in the world’s largest business idea race.
Contestants are competing for $5 million in cash prizes, including a top award of $1 million. Winners of the competition would be required to stay in Buffalo, specifically in a Start-Up NY zone, for one year and grow their business, while receiving mentoring and support services.
43 North Executive Director Andrew Pulkrabek says there has been interest from countries in Europe, India, Canada, China and South Africa.
“We’re seeing clean-tech, bio-tech, life sciences. We’re seeing a lot of high-tech, so a lot of computer related business opportunities. What’s really going to be successful with this is scalable business. We want something that has the potential to grow big and do something significant that is going to attract worldwide attention and to grow to global markets,” said Pulkrabek.
In the United States, Vermont and North Dakota are the only states that haven’t submitted an application. Pulkrabek says he believes the uniqueness of the competition is what’s attracting so many participants.
“I think the testament as to why they’re coming from all these areas is 43 North represents an answer to a problem in the marketplace that’s existed for many years, and that is access to what I consider democratized capitol. In other words it’s really about the merit of you, your team, and your idea as opposed to the network you have. We’ve made it so that anybody can step up and apply and submit and idea, not just because you know somebody,” said Pulkrabek.
The competition is part of Governor Cuomo’s pledge of a billion dollars to Buffalo. Pulkrabek adds that there’s still time for entrepreneurs, start-ups, or teams to apply at 43North.org. The deadline for applications is May 31, 2014. If people are interested in volunteering in the competition or judging can also visit the website.