Field narrowed in Buffalo business contest

Jul 16, 2014

The state-sponsored contest 43North has reduced its field of contestants from 7,000 to 113 semifinalists. The businesses are looking to win a top prize of $1 million.

Howard Zemsky is the co-chair of the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council.
Credit WBFO File Photo

The proposals came from such varied places as Toronto, Buffalo, Switzerland, Haifa and Perth, Australia.

Each category was winnowed down by those who looked at the innovation ideas and the business plans in a competition which is getting world-wide attention.

While the grand prize winner earns $1 million, the next six will get $500,000; four other entrepreneurs will get $250,000. Each will get rent-free space in an incubator as part of the state's Start-Up NY.

Regional Economic Development Council co-chair Howard Zemsky says those proposals are coming to an increasingly high-tech community, like the RiverBend solar energy project in South Buffalo.
"It's not just RiverBend by the way. IBM, Human Genomics with Roswell and our collaboration with the Human Genome Center in New York City. The whole point of the Buffalo Billion is next generation jobs and industries," Zemsky said.

"We are shedding our whole image of Rust Belt and looking forward."

The surviving ideas range from a local company which makes stronger and lighter steel to an Israeli company with a new method of testing for cancer from a tiny blood sample.