An annual competition that awards business startups up to one million dollars, as well as other incentives to develop in Buffalo, is now beginning the task of picking its 2017 winner. They'll continue to award startups much-needed cash boosts for years to come. One of Governor Andrew Cuomo's top economic development leaders explained why the program is working.
Created and funded as part of Governor Cuomo's Buffalo Billion, 43North is an annual competition that provides winners with cash to help grow a startup company, along with work space and a period of state tax freedom.
Late last month, 43North closed its application process for 2017 and, after semifinal rounds later this year, will announce winners in October. Those winners will then move to Buffalo in January.
"We're excited about the partnership between 43North and UB, in particular, where you've got this synergy around different schools of engineering and schools of business and centers of excellence," said Howard Zemsky, president and CEO of Empire State Development, a public corporation that works to attract business to New York State using various incentives including tax credits and grants.
Following a 43North meeting held last Friday on the Darwin Martin House grounds, Zemsky attended an unrelated ceremony but, while talking to reporters, recalled the governor's recent financial commitment to extend 43North for five more years.
WBFO asked Zemsky what he feels 43North is doing best.
"I think it's really pushed the reset on entrepreneurship here in Buffalo," Zemsky said. "We've been attracting world-class companies here for a few years to a city that wasn't really thought of as a startup nation. We're excited about that."
That, Zemsky added, is making Buffalo more attractive to younger people.
"I've been hearing from a lot of people that their kids are coming back," he said. "I hear from a lot of people that their kids are interested in staying. At the end of the day you can talk all you want about a million metrics but the real question is are you staying? Are you moving here? Are companies able to recruit people here? Is it a great place to be young?"