A new competition has been launched to encourage startup businesses from across the globe to grow in Western New York.
Lt. Governor Robert Duffy and local officials announced the 43North initiative Wednesday morning. The competition, named after Western New York's latitude, will give away $5 million in prizes to winning companies.
The top prize is $1 million. Six $500,000 prizes are also being awarded, along with four prizes of $250,000. It's part of Governor Andrew Cuomo's recent billion dollar pledge to Buffalo.
43North Executive Director Andrew Pulkrabek says this is the largest business competition in the United States.
"What this really represents is an opportunity to grab the attention of innovators and entrepreneurs throughout Western New York and the entire United States, even internationally. It's something that is going to define Buffalo and will be defined by Buffalo itself," Pulkrabek says.
Winners will also receive a year of free incubator space and mentoring services from experts in their field. The competition is being broken down into three rounds, each judged independently. Winners will be announced in late October.
To spread the word about the competition, 43North officials will travel to cities across the U.S. and Southern Ontario, as well as China, India, and Israel.
Businesses can apply online at 43North.org.