At the turn of the last century, the city of Buffalo was a thriving metropolis with a burgeoning industrial economy. Nestled on the eastern shore of Lake Eerie, it had become a valuable point of trade and distribution between the East Coast, Canada, and Midwestern cities such as Chicago. Hydroelectric power drawn from nearby Niagara Falls made Buffalo the first American city to make extensive use of electric lighting.
By the latter half of the century however, the Rust Belt had been born and Buffalo had fallen on hard times. A new canal system on the St. Laurence River deflated Buffalo’s role as a trade hub while factories began closing their doors and residents retreated to the suburbs.
Finally, after decades of social and economic struggle, denizens of Buffalo are beginning to knock out the dents, polish out the rough spots, and take their city back. A recent article in the Toronto Star outlines a plan for a five million dollar initiative, which aims to encourage entrepreneurs from all over the world to bring startup businesses to Buffalo.
The program, called the 43 North Initiative, is seeking 1,000 applicants to compete for cash prizes to help cover the cost of starting their new businesses. The prizes, which will range from $250,000 to $1 million, will be distributed based on three rounds of judging which will end in October. As collateral for the prizes, the winners will be required to operate their businesses within Buffalo for at least one year.
Andrew Pulkrabek, executive director of the program, is optimistic about Buffalo’s prospects as an emerging startup hub. In the article, he emphasizes the tight-knit network of small business owners that characterizes the city’s recovering economy.
“There are tremendous support systems that exist here, by way of infrastructure and then individual subject matter experts and mentors. There’s a lot of overall community support, grass roots support, to help folks that are ultimately going to come here, set up a business, be successful.”
Well put, Mr. Pulkabrek. We love our home, and we are as excited as you to see how the 43 North initiative will unfold. As new businesses and industries continue to set up shop in Buffalo, Speed Global Services will be there to help get your goods where they need to be, when you need them.
Post by Mike Diati