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Cuomo launches year three of 43North, $5 million startup competition

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Fri, Mar 4th 2016 02:40 pm

Program offering $5 million in cash awards

Accepting applications now through May 31

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo today announced applications are now being accepted for the third year of 43North. The $5 million competition attracts entrepreneurs from around the world to compete for prizes that turn startups with high growth potential into funded enterprises in the Western New York region. 

"After two years, the 43North competition has attracted some of the world's brightest and most innovative entrepreneurs to Buffalo and, in year three, we will continue to carry them momentum forward," Cuomo said. "With Western New York rapidly becoming home to so many forward-thinking businesses, we must commit to making the targeted investments that are critical to growing the industries on the cutting-edge of innovation."

The 2016 competition includes a revised prize structure that now features a grand prize of $1 million, a runner-up prize of $600,000, and six $500,000 awards. An additional $400,000 will be awarded to winners as incentivized follow-on funding.

Part of the Cuomo's "Buffalo Billion" initiative, the competition operates through $6 million in support from the New York Power Authority and $1 million from Empire State Development. The funding beyond the prize money is used to cover operational costs and to help ensure 43North continues to both attract new competitors and support last year's winners as they begin their work in Buffalo. 

"The 43North competition is a proven investment in innovative ideas that will continue to transform Buffalo and the entire Western New York economy," Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said. "Each winner has the potential to grow into a thriving business that will create jobs and help our economy. As someone who calls Buffalo home, I can speak to the Renaissance underway - and it's because of pioneering projects like 43North, supported by Gov. Cuomo's visionary 'Buffalo Billion' initiative." 

43North Executive Director John T. Gavigan said, "Anyone with a rock-solid startup has a legitimate chance to make their dreams come true through the 43North competition. The 43North team is excited to spread Gov. Cuomo's message of opportunity throughout North America and around the globe, as we will yet again undertake several roadshow stops to engage entrepreneurs from all backgrounds, sectors, industries and walks of life. We also look forward to sharing the many wonderful qualities of Buffalo's startup culture with these bold, exciting businesspeople."

New York Power Authority Chairman John R. Koelmel said, "We knew that Gov. Cuomo's 43North initiative would forever alter the business landscape in Western New York and the state, but the results to date have far exceeded NYPA's expectations. I am proud that our funding will continue to play a vital role in ensuring that the region remains at the epicenter of a global movement toward a more innovative and technically diversified economy."

NYPA President and CEO Gil Quiniones said, "Two of Gov. Cuomo's highest priorities, securing vital manufacturing jobs and protecting the environment, are reflected in NYPA's allocation of low-cost, clean renewable hydropower to Tulip Manufacturing. The use of locally generated hydropower allows Tulip to continue its historic commitment to the community, Western New York, for decades to come." 

Similar to last year, the 43North competition will be broken down into three rounds:

•Round 1 (March 4-May 31): Applications will be accepted via the competition's website, 43north.org. The purpose of round one is for applicants to provide a vision for their venture, including their business concept, target customers, industry overview, competitive landscape and revenue potential. This year, 43North will charge an application fee of $100, with an early bird fee of $50 for companies that submit their applications by March 31.

•Round 2 (Summer): Semifinalists will be announced.

•Round 3 (October): Up to 20 finalist teams will pitch their business in-person to a panel of judges in Buffalo. The competition concludes with a celebration of eight selected winners.

43North is open to applicants ages 18 and older in any industry, with the exception of bricks-and-mortar retail and hospitality. Applications to the competition will be accepted through May 31 at 43north.org. To view the 43North 2016 application terms and details, CLICK HERE.

Energy Intelligence Founder and CEO Daniel Shani said, "With the funds we received from the inaugural 43North competition, our company has grown and evolved in ways we never thought possible. Buffalo has become a key part of our identity, and the funding and resources from 43North have helped to build a strong foundation needed for us to be viable and competitive. We were so pleased to be a part of the inaugural competition, and can't wait to see the businesses that will come out of year three." 

Caitlin MacGregor, co-founder and CEO of Plum, said, "The prize we were awarded from the second 43North competition was a transformational moment for our company. Like so many entrepreneurs, we look to introduce the next great idea that will revolutionize our industry. With the resources, support and collaborative environment spearheaded by 43North, we are closer to realizing that vision."

To learn more about the past 2014 and 2015 winners, CLICK HERE.

43North winners also receive free incubator space in Buffalo for one year, guidance from mentors in related fields, and access to other business incentive programs such as START-UP NY. 43North operates through the support of the "Buffalo Billion initiative," grants of $6 million from NYPA and $1 million from ESD, and additional support from National Grid, EY, the State University of New York at Buffalo and several other sponsors. For a full list of sponsors and more information about 43North, visit www.43north.org.

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