Buffalo’s First Test: Can City Keep Its Entrepreneurs?

By David Robinson
The Buffalo News, N.Y.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Women in business looking for startup funding, listen up! The 43North competition is one you definitely want to know about. The contest out of Buffalo, NY offers $5 million in prizes, including a top prize of $1 million.

The Buffalo News, N.Y.

The 43North business plan contest has met its biggest competition: Home.

With its first class of winners now free of the mandate that they spend a year in Buffalo, six of the 11 prize-winners remain here.

Five have left town, mostly to go back home or return to school.

43North organizers say that’s to be expected. Despite all their efforts to nurture the contest’s first class of prize winners, they say it never was realistic to expect all of them to stay in Buffalo. Equally important, they say, is that they had a good experience here and can be Buffalo boosters back home.

“That isn’t always the objective,” said John Gavigan, 43North’s executive director. “I don’t think we ever went into it where our measure of success would be how many companies stayed. We want to give our businesses the greatest chance to optimize their own success and also be great ambassadors for Western New York.”

A year and a half ago, moving to Buffalo to build his startup energy business was the furthest thing from Daniel Shani’s mind.
He was working in suburban Boston, trying to launch Energy Intelligence, a business built around technology that can generate electricity from the momentum of braking vehicles.

“Buffalo wasn’t on our radar,” the 29-year-old entrepreneur said.

Then Shani heard about the 43North business plan competition, offering $5 million in prizes, including a top prize of $1 million, to 11 companies that agreed to move to Buffalo for one year.

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