The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council met this week and for the first time released its full report on the "Buffalo Billion" investment development plan.
The plan, which serves as a roadmap for implementation and details the market analysis, stakeholder interviews and best practices that led to the the council's six signature investable initiatives, can be found athttp://regionalcouncils.ny.gov/themes/nyopenrc/rc-files/westernny/BB_Plan_Cover_Page.pdf. The move kicks off the council's implementation of the "Buffalo Billion" strategic initiatives. In the coming weeks, implementation committees will be formed with area stakeholders and council members.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has committed an historic $1 billion investment in the Buffalo area economy to create thousands of jobs and spur billions in new investment and economic activity over the next several years. This $1 billion commitment to economic excellence in the Buffalo area has the potential to set a new growth trajectory for jobs and the regional economy.
"Because of Gov. Cuomo's leadership in recognizing the critical opportunities at stake in our city and region, we are experiencing significant forward momentum right now - this is truly an exciting time to be a Western New Yorker," said Satish K. Tripathi, president of the University at Buffalo and Regional Council co-chair. "The council is moving forward with an aggressive timetable so we can take full advantage of this window of opportunity. As the first wave of investment for the 'Buffalo Billion', the signature initiatives detailed in this report provide a strong and very broad-based foundation for sustained economic growth and opportunity in our region. From health care, education, and business and industry to cultural tourism and community development, this investment strategy is designed to maximize our region's diverse and distinctive strengths, now and for generations to come."
"It's implementation time," said Howard A. Zemsky, managing partner at Larkin Development Group and Regional Council co-chair.
The council will soon launch six implementation councils, represented by a diverse group of area stakeholders who will bring expertise in the council's areas of concentration (health and life sciences, manufacturing, tourism, workforce, entrepreneurship and revitalization), and will provide guidance on signature initiative design, issue resolution and execution of the signature initiatives.
The WNYREDC co-chairs, along with Bruce Katz, vice president of the Brookings Institution, and his colleagues worked with a group of local institutions - the WNYREDC, University at Buffalo's Regional Institute, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, and Empire State Development, among others - to assess the region's market position, identify distinctive assets and advantages, and lay out a series of investment options in light of the best innovations under way in the U.S. and around the world.
The "Buffalo Billion's" six signature investable initiatives include:
•Buffalo Center for Manufacturing Innovation, a state-of-the-art facility to support the growth of the region's manufacturing sector. It will be a shared services enterprise that provides support in commercializing applied research, developing more efficient operational processes, enabling entry into new markets, and up-skilling the existing workforce.
•The Buffalo Science Productivity and Research Catalyzer, to help bring breakthrough health care innovations to market. The accelerator supports researchers in developing translational research, acquiring patents, and then licensing those patents or developing them into businesses.
•Buffalo Niagara Tourism Program, a regional tourism program to leverage the world-class tourism assets in Niagara Falls and the City of Buffalo through a more coordinated and sophisticated marketing strategy; investments and increased programming in Niagara Falls State Park; investments in other regional tourism assets and amenities; and the creation of regional offerings.
•The Buffalo Skills Partnership, a skills broker with initial investments in rapid right skilling. The partnership will make Buffalo's workforce system the most flexible, diverse and responsive in the nation by aligning education and training behind the skills employers need to expand and workers need for job success.
•Buffalo Breakthrough Business Challenge, a world-class business plan competition to catalyze the region's entrepreneurial ecosystem. Winners will receive initial funding, incubator space, mentorship and introductions to leading venture capital firms.
•Better Buffalo Fund, to make targeted investments through a dedicated fund to support high-impact economic and community development projects. A competition will determine the best investments, based on overall strategic fit, impact, proven capacity for execution and commitment of additional funds.
In the coming weeks a "Buffalo Billion" website will also be launched.
The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council - a top economic development plan award winner - will play a key role in how funding is used to support the expansion of local companies and how to target the attraction of new businesses across the country and around the globe to come to Buffalo. Those businesses will likely be related in some manner to the cluster industries identified by the WNYREDC in its strategic plan, which include, advanced manufacturing, agricultural/food processing, binational logistics and distribution, energy, life sciences/medical devices, professional services.
To learn more about each regional council and their economic development plans, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.