The Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board voted on Monday to recommend $2,490,000 in funding to three entities in the region, including Campus Labs, 43North and PostProcess Technologies. The WNYPPAB recommendations capitalize on the business and entrepreneurial investment strategies laid out in the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council strategic plan and the "Buffalo Billion" investment development plan.
WNYPPAB's recommendations are expected to be considered by the New York Power Authority board of trustees at its Dec. 15 meeting.
"The funding award recommendations by the Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board support projects that will expand innovation and investment in our region," said WNYPPAB Board Chairman Anthony J. Colucci III. "Western New York is transforming into a high-tech hub with successful entrepreneurs leading the way. I am proud that the Power Proceeds Board supports these important projects."
Details of the latest projects recommended by the Allocation Board:
Recommended Award Amount: $400,000
Campus Labs, the leading platform and service provider for assessment in higher education, may continue its growth in Buffalo, adding 75 new jobs to its existing 101 positions in Buffalo.
In October 2015, Campus Labs was sold to Leeds Equity Partners LLC. After being acquired and to accommodate plans for continued growth, Campus Labs' local founders are pursuing a long-term presence by locating in more efficient space in Western New York.
Campus Labs has identified a mostly vacant, underutilized building at 298 Main St., in downtown Buffalo, as ideal for establishing its headquarters. Renovations would include floor plan and electrical system upgrades to modernize commercial space and facilitate software development activities.
Since 2001, Campus Labs has evolved from serving one campus to more than 1,000 campuses and quickly became the leading platform and service provider for assessment and data analytics in higher education.
Empire State Development, the state's economic development agency, has also awarded Campus Labs up to $2 million in performance-based Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits in return for job creation commitments.
Recommended Award Amount: $2,000,000
43North is a catalysts for entrepreneurship and business investment in Western New York, attracting entrepreneurs and venture capital investment to Buffalo from around the world, as well as enhancing Buffalo's image as an attractive place for start-ups to locate.
Power Proceeds funding will help continue to operate the world' largest business plan competition in 2017 and 2018. The continuation of this program has the potential to result in creating several direct new start-ups in Buffalo, including "trailing" semifinalists who choose to start their business and venture capitalists who invest in Buffalo due to the pool of growing start-ups. This, in turn, could catalyze direct and indirect job growth, and aligns with the WNYREDC to support entrepreneurial development.
The fund benefits would be used to reimburse 43North for working capital.
Recommended Award Amount: $90,000
PostProcess Technologies is an early-stage company that has developed patent-pending high-frequency surface machines, detergents, abrasives, polishers and other agents to automate the finishing of 3-D printed parts, currently conducted through manual approaches.
With this $602,000 project, PPT will retain 12 jobs and create nine new jobs. As demand for 3-D printed metal parts grows, manufacturers are seeking efficient, cost-effective methods for meeting large-scale production.
PPT, a StartUp NY company, is requesting fund benefits to purchase demonstration equipment for a training and benchmarking lab that will help promote sales for finishing large metal parts. The company is looking to make Western New York a 3-D manufacturing hub.
The fund benefits would be used for a portion of costs associated with new machinery and equipment.
The latest recommendations for proceeds awards stem from legislation signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, known as the Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Act. The legislation authorizes net earnings from the sale of unused hydropower from NYPA's Niagara Hydroelectric Power Plant to be deposited into the Western New York Economic Development Fund to support economic development in Western New York. The fund has accrued approximately $41 million to date. Approximately $32.6 million from that amount has been approved for awards by the NYPA trustees on the basis of earlier recommendations by the WNYPPAB. These earnings are designated to spur capital investments and job growth.