Launch NY 2013 Annual Report
Launch NY

Launch NY 2013 Annual Report 



New Launch NY CEO Contiues to Boost Area Entrepreneurs
Stephen T. Watson. Buffalo News

Marnie LaVigne spent nearly a decade at the University at Buffalo working to grow the area’s life sciences economy, first as director of business development for the school’s bioinformatics center and later as associate vice president of economic development.

Last month, she took a new job, as president and CEO of Launch NY, but she’s got the same office in UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences. And she’s got the same mission of promoting startup activity in the region.



PreSeed Funding Seen as Challenge in WNY
Dan Miner, Reporter. Buffalo Business First

The Western New York entrepreneurial scene has made progress on the subject of venture capital in recent years, but stakeholders say one area remains a major vacuum.

“First money in,” or pre-seed capital that doesn’t require matching funds or a working business model, is seen as a key bridge over the proverbial Valley of Death, the gap between a great idea and early-stage business.  More....



Marnie LaVigne to become CEO of Launch NY
Dan Miner, Reporter. Business First

Marnie LaVigne, one of the University at Buffalo’s most recognizable faces in the area of economic development, is leaving the university to spearhead a nonprofit she helped found.  LaVigne will become chief executive officer of Launch NY, which was created in 2012 to support high-growth business ventures.



University at Buffalo’s LaVigne named CEO of Launch NY
Matt Glynn, News Business Reporter. The Buffalo News

Marnie LaVigne, an economic development leader at the University at Buffalo, was named chief executive officer of Launch NY, a nonprofit organization that aims to promote startup activity in upstate New York.

LaVigne, associate vice president for economic development at UB, will leave the university and take over as CEO in July, according to a joint announcement by UB and Launch NY.



43North Competition Receives 6,932 Applications
Dan Miner. Buffalo Business First

Entrepreneurs submitted 6,932 applications to the inaugural 43North business plan competition, roundly besting organizers’ initial hopes of at least 1,000.



Launch NY receives $125,000 Grant to launch Entrepreneur Institute
David Bertola. Buffalo Business First

Launch New York Inc. has been awarded a $125,000 grant to fund The Entrepreneur Institute.  The institute is being created to develop the pool of entrepreneurs and enhance relationships among those who provide resources to them in Upstate New York. It will connect entrepreneurs, resource providers and investors.



43 North Business Competition
David Robinson. Buffalo News

State officials Wednesday launched a global business plan competition that dangles $5 million in prizes to attract entrepreneurs with the best ideas for starting a new business in the Buffalo Niagara region.  Like the reality TV show, the 43North business plan competition, named for Buffalo’s latitude, dangles a grand prize of $1 million, plus free office space and support services for a year, to the entrepreneur whose idea is picked by a panel of local judges as being the most promising venture to emerge from the contest.  In return, the winning business must agree to start its venture in Buffalo and remain here for at least a year.

Overall, the competition aims to help launch 11 promising new businesses – with prizes ranging from $250,000 to $1 million – in an attempt to ramp up small- business growth in a region that has trailed the rest of the country in new business startups.



Global $5 Million Business Competition Launched in Buffalo
David Robinson. Buffalo News

State officials today launched a $5 million competition that aims to attract entrepreneurs from across the globe with the best ideas for starting a new business in the Buffalo Niagara region.  The 43 North business plan competition, named for Buffalo’s latitude, kicked off today with the launch of a website ( that organizers hope will attract upwards of 1,000 ideas for new businesses, all competing for a $1 million grand prize to help get that venture off the ground.  The competition, which plans to announce its winner at the end of October, also will include six runner-up prizes of $500,000 apiece and four more for $250,000 each.



‘43 North’ and Buffalo’s $5M carrot
James Fink. Buffalo Business First

Buffalo’s next Synacor or Liazon may come from a global business plan and start up competition that is offering a $1 million grand prize. The “43 North” competition, formally announced Wednesday morning — but in the works for more than one year, is aimed at attracting the attention of entrepreneurs hoping to earn some of the $5 million allocated to bring cutting-edge start up companies to Buffalo. 



Nation' largest business competition launched
Rick Moriarty. Post Standard

Gov. Andrew Cuomo today launched what he said is the largest business competition in the country — $5 million in cash prizes for those with the best business plans and who agree to operate their business in Buffalo.   Details of the competition were announced at a press conference at One Canalside, a newly rehabbed building overlooking Buffalo's waterfront.  The competition is called 43North. It gets its name from the latitudinal line that runs through Western New York.  The competition's top cash prize is $1 million. In addition, 43North will award six $500,000 prizes and four $250,000 prizes.



Entries Open for Rochester Business Plan Contest
High Tech Rochester

The goal of the 2014 Rochester Regional Business Plan Contest is to encourage entrepreneurship among all who enter while recognizing and rewarding the most promising new ventures and start-up companies. Registration opens on Monday, January 6, 2014 and goes thru Friday, January 24, 2014.  The registration fee is $150 per company and includes participation of two company representatives in a series of preparatory workshops.



New Website Lists Resources for Entrepreneurs
Tracy Puckett, University of Buffalo News Center.

The University at Buffalo and Launch NY announce the debut of a new website connecting current and would-be entrepreneurs to upstate New York resources that offer assistance in starting, growing and managing a business.he website,, is structured according to five stages of business development: explore, start, demonstrate, launch and grow. Each stage is defined, with recommended activities identified and appropriate resources listed.



Exec on Board to Lead Competition
David Bertola. Buffalo Business First

The  $5 million international business plan competition being run through Launch NY,  includes a $1 million top prize and requires the winner to relocate to Buffalo, is gearing up for an early-February launch.  The international business plan competition, part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion Investment Development Plan, will be the largest annual business plan challenge in the U.S., based on award amount and is intended to attract entrepreneurs and investors from around the world.



$5 million Business Plan Competition Spotlights Region
Matt Glynn. The Buffalo News

The competition is part of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative. Organizers of the competition – whose official name is yet to be announced – say it will be the largest annual business plan challenge in the nation based on award amount. It will award a total of $5 million in prizes, with a top prize of $1 million.



Build It Buffalo to Attract Entrepreneurs Worldwide
Ashley Hirtzel. WBFO 88.7

A new business competition is expected to attract entrepreneurs from around the world to Western New York. The “Build It Buffalo” business plan competition is expected to be the most ambitious the United States has ever seen.  The competition is expected to attract 1,000 applicants from around the world.  The estimate comes from similar competitions held at Rice University and Mass Challenge in Massachusetts that attracted 1,000 people, but didn’t have a prize pool like “Build It Buffalo.”



Build It Buffalo: $5 Million Business Competition
David Bertola. Buffalo Business First

Entrepreneurs from around the world will be invited to Buffalo to take part in a business plan competition where winners will divvy up $5 million.    John Seman, CEO of Launch NY, said the business plan competition, called Build It Buffalo, would seek to attract 1,000 applicants worldwide. The top award will be $1 million, with additional secondary awards of $500,000. 



Bright Buffalo Niagara Forum September 30
Dan Miner. Buffalo Business First

The event will begin Monday, Sept. 30, with a reception and VIP dinner for investors at UB’s Clinical and Translational Research Center. The main programming will take place at 8 a.m. the next day, Oct. 1, at Statler City on Delaware Avenue. Participants will give 10-minute presentations to potential investors.

All presenters will also automatically make the first cut of Launch NY’s inaugural business plan competition, which includes more than $5 million in prizes and is expected to culminate in mid-2014. That competition is part of the Buffalo Billions initiative championed by state Gov. Andrew Cuomo.



Launch NY Working to Grow Companies
Bennett J. Loudon, Staff writer. Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

If you’re trying to start a new company Ed Bizari wants to help.   Bizari has been the Rochester area’s entrepreneur-in-residence since June 1 for Launch NY, a non-profit organization with the mission of creating jobs by providing assistance to new companies in 27 upstate New York counties.  Launch NY has headquarters in Buffalo and staff in Rochester, Syracuse, and Ithaca. 



National Grid Invests $250,000 in Launch NY Programs
Posted by WCPerspective In College, Regional. Buffalo Rising

National Grid also provided a grant to Launch NY’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program, which provides entrepreneurs support in the initial growth stages of business development while offering mentorship and long term advisement by matching experienced professionals with high potential startup companies. 



National Grid to Announce Award to Launch NY Program
Associated Press. Wall Street Journal

National Grid CEO Steve Holliday also is expected to announce a separate grant to the Launch NY Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program. That program matches experienced professionals with high potential startup companies.



Local Initiative Seeks to Eliminate Brain Drain
Christopher Michel. Olean Times Herald

Continuing its mission to improve the local economy, Family Partners Group Inc. has started a new initiative aimed at helping fledgling businesses succeed. 

“Many of us are very concerned about what is considered the ‘brain drain’ in our community — the migration of young people and families out of this area,” said Larry Sorokes, chair of the Family Partners Group. “At the same time, there’s been a change in the picture of economic development because there really isn’t anyone that’s going to come in here and save us, but we can help ourselves. Our economic future is really in our hands.”



NYPA awards Launch New York $5.4 million
David Bertola. Buffalo Business First

The Western New York Power Proceeds Act authorized the New York Power Authority to deposit net earnings from market sale of unused electricity into Western New York Economic Development Fund.  This grant to Launch NY will be utilized as seed capital to assist area startup companies gain market traction in their commercializing of transformational technologies and ideas.



Brooks named Entrepreneur in Residence for Launch NY
Kevin Tampone. Central New York Business Journal

"Launch NY's goal is to have an entrepreneur in residence in each major city it covers",  said John Seman, Launch NY president and CEO. "We want to be the group that connects the different organizations that currently exist" he added. " We want to work with them and help support their efforts and the entrepreneurs in residence are a key to achieving that goal"



Launch NY Introduces IdeaCrossing

LaunchNY, a non-profit organization which devotes financial and managerial resources to accelerating the growth of high-potential startups in order to create jobs in the region, has teamed with a variety of cross-regional economic development and entrepreneurial support organizations to introduce IdeaCrossing® to Upstate New York.



New Business Ecosystem Nurtures Startups
Jonathan D. Epstein. The Buffalo News

“The entrepreneurial environment is really where the future is going to be,” said John J. Seman, president and CEO of Launch NY, a new nonprofit entrepreneurial support organization that brings management expertise and investment dollars to encourage the growth of technology and other startups in 27 counties, including Erie.

“It’s light-footed, it’s flexible, it’s adaptable, it’s changeable. You don’t know where the next opportunity comes from, but you continue to look, because you know it’s going to be there. You accept some level of failure because you get some … success,” he said.



Guiding startups through ‘valley of death’
David Robinson. Buffalo News

For years, entrepreneurs throughout the Buffalo Niagara region have been complaining about how hard it is to get the financing they need to take their ideas for promising new products through the cash-gobbling development stage and bring it to market.



Launch NY targeting high-growth startups
David Bertola. Buffalo Law Journal

Launch New York will target high-growth entrepreneurs - those that project $20 million to $30 million in annual sales within a five-year period.

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