Author: Robert Creenan
On Monday, June 2nd, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the 43North global business idea competition has received 6,932 applications, with 2,603 moving on to be judged. The entrees came from all 50 states and 96 countries, representing sectors such as software development, information technology, business services, media and entertainment, green and clean energy, agri-business, e-commerce, web and mobile technology, sports and fitness, healthcare and biotechnology, advanced manufacturing, and business services.
The 43North competition, named after the latitudinal line that runs through Western New York, is part of Gov. Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative, which intends to drive new economic opportunities to Buffalo and the Western New York region. It features $5 million in prize money; a top prize of $1 million, six $500,000 prizes and four $250,000 prizes.
“We set out to attract 1,000 applicants for the competition and we blew that number right out of the water,” said 43North Steering Committee Chairman Jordan Levy. “I think the huge response 43North has received demonstrates the viability of our strategy to build a local entrepreneurial eco-system, and what we have to offer startups in terms of support, talent, mentorship and services, and a low cost environment to help get businesses started.”
43North started when the New York Power Authority (NYPA) approved $5.4 million in funding towards the competition. The funding came out of revenues for un-utilized hydroelectric power. In addition, the NYPA is funding awards of more than $8 million to more than 20 Western New York enterprises to help job creation and capital investments in the region.
The semi-finalists will be announced on June 30th. In September, the semi-finalists will present their business plan to 43North’s judging panel, and the finalists will be announced afterwards. In October, the finalists will pitch their business in person to a panel of celebrity judges, after which the winner will be announced. Said 43North Executive Director Andrew Pulkrabek. “Buffalo is now part of a wider entrepreneurial conversation thanks to 43North and other complementary efforts, such as Launch NY, Start-Up NY, and the advancement of new local incubator and co-working spaces like Z80 Labs and dig.”