Ulla Bak, co-founder of Bak USA LLC, a new Buffalo-based company that will be the first US-based business to assemble its own-branded electronic tablets outside Asia, was selected to introduce Governor Cuomo at yesterday’s launch of the new “Global NY” initiative.
The governor unveiled the program, aimed at boosting international investment and trade in New York, before a gathering at the Jacob A. Javits Center of more than 500 participants from a variety of groups that included corporate, trade and civic organizations and featured panel discussions highlighting the diverse business opportunities that exist in New York State.
Ms. Bak, a native of Denmark, who established her business model in Haiti, was asked to address the audience and introduce the Governor based on her company’s decision to establish a global headquarters in New York State.
“If you asked me 10 years ago where I would be in 2014, I never would have guessed that I would be running my own company in New York. Back then, I was a lawyer in Denmark. Of course I had heard of Buffalo, I had even been to Buffalo, but I did not expect I would move there to found a global company, Ms. Bak told the audience.
She explained that she and her husband, JP Bak, had had a vision for a U.S. operation and had carefully considered multiple locations before ultimately setting down roots in Buffalo.
“There was one major difference between New York and our other options,” Ms. Bak said, “And that difference was Start-Up NY. The Start-Up NY program offered us an opportunity to make our vision become reality with no sales tax, no income tax, a place to do business, and the tools that we needed to succeed for our first 10 years.”
In July, the Governor came to Buffalo to announce that Bak USA and seven other companies were selected to be part of the Start-Up NY program.
The company’s business model is an original one: in addition to assembling tablets in Buffalo, the operations will also serve as Bak USA’s model to establish similar assembly plants in African countries and create a global franchising program based on the success of the Buffalo factory. In short, Bak USA’s ideas mirror those of the Global New York concept: a homegrown product and process with the potential for international impact and resonance.
The initial company’s implementation in Buffalo was not straightforward for Bak USA and Ms. Bak expressed her gratefulness for New York State’s cooperation and guidance in the matter.
“The State had guided us through all of the regulatory and logistical requirements that were completely foreign to us, and the State is always there to lend a hand when we have a question”, she explained. “Bak USA’s achievements in Buffalo are a result of our commitment to growth, and Governor Cuomo’s leadership has given us access to the tools and resources that we need to fulfill our commitment to growth and compete on the global scale. Governor Cuomo’s Start-Up NY has made my own dream become a reality.”
The Global NY talk was the latest step in a series of exciting developments for the up and coming technology company. Bak USA has established offices and a training center in the Compass East building, located at 425 Michigan Avenue, on Buffalo’s east side, where McGuire Development Co. is in the process of building out approximately 10,000 square feet of space in the former Sheehan Hospital site to house the new project. Bak USA has begun recruiting its first group of employees, who will be trained to assemble Bak-branded tablets later this year.
The Baks place socially responsible business practices as a high priority by hiring and training highly motivated individuals from communities in need. Their goals include paying workers a living wage, nurturing staff loyalty, embracing racial and gender equality, and re-investing in local communities.
In addition, Bak USA will work closely with the University of Buffalo in a collaborative research and development program, which will be facilitated at the premises in a specially designed workshop. The factory plans to officially launch in the first weeks of January, although training and work will begin in November for Bak USA’s newly hired operators.
Get Connected: BAK USA, 716.867.7335