July 15, 2014
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Semifinalists for World's Largest ($5M) Business Idea Competition

TOP Governor Cuomo Announces Semifinalists for...

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the selection of 113 semifinalists for the 43North global business idea competition, whose advancement brings them one step closer to the grand prize of $1 million out of a total of $5 million in cash awards. Nearly 7,000 business ideas were received by 43North, the worlds largest competition of its kind that brings entrepreneurs and their ideas to Buffalo as part of Governor Cuomos Buffalo Billion initiative, which is intended to drive new economic opportunities throughout Western New York.


By attracting talented entrepreneur and promising businesses to Buffalo, the 43North business competition is helping to bring new life into the economy in Western New York, Governor Cuomo said. This competition is all about bringing the most innovative start-up ventures from around the globe to Buffalo, where they can tap into a world-class workforce and unparalleled environment to thrive for years to come. I congratulate these semifinalists on reaching this stage of the competition, and wish them the best of luck in the next phase.?


A total of 6,932 business ideas were initially submitted for the 43North competition. The semifinalists were then announced from a pool of ??2,603 qualified submissions through a formal, month-long review period conducted by more than 269 experienced judges from an array of professional sectors. In addition to the top cash prize of $1 million, 43North will award six $500,000 prizes and four $250,000 prizes. Winners also receive free incubator space for a year, guidance from mentors related to their field and access to other exciting incentive programs, including START-UP NY.


On July 15, 2014 at 10 a.m., a list of the 113 semifinalists was posted to www.43North.org.


The 113 candidates chosen to advance to the semifinal round submit business ideas rooted from as far away as India and Switzerland, and California and Washington, and represent nearly every economic sector, including healthcare and biotechnology, information technology, software, mobile technology, green and clean technology, life sciences, advanced manufacturing, media and entertainment, sports and fitness, agri-business, business services, education, e-commerce and logistics.


43North Steering Committee Chairman Jordan Levy said, 113 applicants are now one step closer to a shot at $1 million for their startups. We are thrilled to welcome the semifinalists to the second round and excited to see which teams will rise to the top to participate in our finals.


In May 2013, the New York Power Authority (NYPA) trustees approved $5.4 million in funding for the 43North global business idea competition. The award came from a recommendation by the WNY Power Proceeds Allocation Board (WNYPPAB) to apply the revenues from the sale of unutilized hydropower toward the concept of a competition and the contest is named after the latitudinal line that runs through Western New York.


NYPA Chairman and Erie County resident John R. Koelmel said, "As a lifetime resident of Western New York,  it is exciting to contemplate what can be achieved when thoughtful public policy is driven by  dynamic entrepreneurial thinking. Governor Cuomos leadership, through the Buffalo Billion initiative and programs like 43North, is changing the way we do business in Western New York and providing opportunities for a better future. The Power Authority is pleased to be an integral partner in the business idea competition and provide the important seed money to attract innovative talent and attract new companies and new industries to our area.


Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-chair and Managing Partner at Larkin Development Group Howard Zemsky said, I congratulate the semifinalists and look forward to learning about the business ideas that have brought them this far in the competition.  43North is offering the winning entrepreneurs the level of funding and support necessary to position their businesses for long-term viability. Thanks to Governor Cuomo and the New York Power Authority, we are using this unique business competition to attract top startup talent to our region. 


Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-chair and President of the University at Buffalo Satish K. Tripathi said, Governor Cuomos commitment to spur innovation and job creation in Western New York is clearly paying off. 43North certainly captured the attention of many in the global startup community, causing people to truly take note of the unique business opportunities that are growing in our region. The work of the impressive semifinalists who have made it this far in the competition is a perfect illustration. Their success shines a light on the great potential Buffalo holds for entrepreneurs as they explore new ways of doing business in our region.   


Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said, We are counting on these exceptional semifinalists in the 43North competition to keep the economic momentum going in Buffalo.  Governor Cuomos support for developing the business idea competition has resulted in some of the best and brightest entrepreneurs and startups from around the globe being interested in relocating to Buffalo. With low residential and commercial property tax rates and a skilled and dedicated workforce, Buffalo is a great place to buy property, live, work and invest. I look forward to seeing the 43North winners turn their ideas into high growth enterprises that will provide more good paying jobs for the people of Buffalo.


Here is a breakdown of the application and judging process:


February 5 May 31, 2014: 6,932 applications were received via the competitions website, 43North.org. The purpose of Round 1 was for applicants to provide a vision for their venture, including their business concept, target customers, industry overview, competitive landscape and revenue potential.


June 2, 2014: Of the 6,932 applications, 2,603 were deemed qualified submissions, meaning that they included a response to each application question and chose to formally submit their application. A pool of more than 269 judges then reviewed the qualified submissions.


July 15, 2014: 113 semifinalists were announced for advancement to the second round.


September 2014:  The 113 semifinalists will be asked to present further details on their business idea to 43Norths judging panel via videoconference,, followed by 10 minutes of questions. At the conclusion of the week, the 11 finalists moving on to round three will be announced. Each finalist will be guaranteed a cash prize.


October 30, 2014: The finalists will pitch their business in-person to a panel of star judges in Buffalo, where an awards ceremony will be held. Events will take place in the week leading up to the pitches and award ceremony. Details on finals week will be announced at a later date.