On October 26, 2016, hundreds of spectators descended on the Innovation Center and Atrium @ Rich’s, the company’s world headquarters in Buffalo, NY, for an invigorating celebration of the entrepreneurial spirit: the 3rd Annual 43North competition. The qualifying round saw judges narrow an elite group of 15 competitors down to 10 finalists, each vying for a chance to win a share of the $5 million prize pool.
Richard Ferranti, Rich’s EVP & COO, had the pleasure of welcoming government officials, local dignitaries, distinguished judges, eager competitors and guests to the Innovation Center, a fitting location for the extraordinary competition dedicated to innovation.
“43North exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to investment in innovation that is part of the fabric of Western New York,” Ferranti said in his opening remarks. “This innovative competition shows the world what we have to offer and helps us attract the next generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs to build an even stronger Western New York.”
Also present to welcome guests and witness the competition was Bill Maggio, Chairman of the 43North Board of Directors. In his remarks, Maggio celebrated the entrepreneurs, Buffalo’s resurgence, and New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo as a visionary and initiator of change in Buffalo.
“In 2012, Governor Cuomo announced his Buffalo Billion Initiative, a billion dollar investment in the Western New York economy. One of the pillars of the Buffalo Billon plan is building a culture; a culture of entrepreneurship in Western New York,” said Maggio. “At the time, Buffalo lagged behind peer cities in several key indicators of a healthy start-up ecosystem. From that challenge emerged a bold, ambitious start-up competition that was in a league of its own. That competition is 43North.”
Howard Zemsky, President & CEO of Empire State Development and Commissioner of the New York State Department of Economic Development, introduced Governor Cuomo who addressed the crowd and painted a vivid picture of the “old Buffalo” and his excitement and passion for the revitalized city he fondly refers to as the “new Buffalo.”
“The new Buffalo realizes that the future doesn’t happen,” said Governor Cuomo. “What happens is what you make happen. It’s what you people understand innately, it’s what brought you here. You make your future. You make your destiny. Fortune favors the bold. And it’s true for a young entrepreneur and it’s true for a city. And Buffalo now has that same entrepreneurial spirit that you bring here today, which is markedly different than the culture of Buffalo five or ten years ago, it’s a 180 degree difference.”
Once the competition was underway, spectators watched with anticipation as the 15 finalists pitched their innovation to a panel of international judges, hoping to earn one of ten spots in the final rounds held at Shea’s on October 27. Beyond cash prizes, winners have access to staff and mentors, healthy tax-breaks and free incubator space right here in Buffalo.
For full event details, including pitch videos and the winners, visit: www.43north.org.