43North, in collaboration with the City of Buffalo and New York Business Development Corporation/Excelsior Growth Fund, is proud to announce that the application period for the 2nd Annual THE PITCH business plan competition is now open. The competition, which has more than doubled its prize pool to $50,000, is designed to support minority and female entrepreneurs in Erie County.
NYBDC/Excelsior Growth Fund is the Signature Sponsor of THE PITCH, with additional support from KeyBank, ECIDA, Kaleida Health, Foit-Albert Associates, and Iroquois Construction Services.
This year, there will be two categories to the competition: Growth Companies and Main Street Business. They are defined as follows:
- Growth Companies aim to be leaders in their industries based on a stronger level of growth than other companies in their respective fields. Growth companies typically require significant cash flow and have an innovative product or a service that draws in more consumers and income. Many tech startups are in this category because they are designed to grow quickly and sell to a very large market.
- Main Street Businesses are also known as community small businesses. Examples may include local restaurants, professional service providers and retailers that are part of the fabric of our daily lives. Many owners are focused on earning a living and contributing to the community by hiring employees. The primary focus is not on high growth expansion.
Each category will have one grand prize of $15,000 and one runner-up prize of $5,000. There will also be the Five Star Bank People’s Choice Minority and Women Small Business Award of $10,000. In addition to cash prizes, each winner and finalist will get the opportunity to participate in Allstate’s Minority and Women Emerging Entrepreneurs Program.
The application deadline is Friday, Sept. 1, at noon EDT. To be eligible for consideration, a business must be minority or women-owned and located in Erie County, but do not need to be MWBE-certified. The business must not have more than 50 full-time employees and it must have been operating for a minimum of one fiscal year by the application deadline.
Submit your application at this link: https://thepitch.43north.org/
"Building a culture of entrepreneurship in Buffalo means that everyone has an opportunity to get involved. Through THE PITCH, we are working together with local leaders and businesses to support the growth and advancement of women and minority-owned companies in our community," said John Gavigan, Executive Director of 43North.
“I am very happy that THE PITCH Competition will once again provide an opportunity for area minority and women-owned enterprises to compete for funding to grow their companies. This type of competition is important to growing a diverse entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Buffalo region,” said Jennifer J. Parker, 43North Inclusion Consultant, owner of Jackson Parker Communications and founding organizer of THE PITCH.
“The second year of THE PITCH, with its enhanced prize structure, is a wonderful opportunity for our City’s diverse and creative home-grown entrepreneurs to take their business dreams to the next level. The more applicants the better, because we know there are so many innovators here in Buffalo looking for the seed money to launch their ideas or expand their businesses,” Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said.
“New York Business Development Corporation and Excelsior Growth Fund are proud to sponsor THE PITCH, a collaborative MWBE business plan competition designed to elevate the profile of minority and women business owners in the city of Buffalo. For more than 60 years, our companies have been dedicated to the small business community, inclusive of women and minority entrepreneurs, by providing access to capital and resources needed to thrive. Together with our partners, we’re working to build healthy, diverse communities. NYBDC and Excelsior Growth Fund have a rich history serving minority and women-owned business owners, including our continued support of THE PITCH business plan competition now in its second year,” said Pat MacKrell, CEO of NYBDC and Excelsior Growth Fund.
“Diversity and inclusion are at the core of what we do at KeyBank, so we’re proud to support THE PITCH in its efforts to advance women and minority-led businesses,” said Gary Quenneville, Regional Sales Executive for KeyBank in Upstate New York.
Steve Weathers, President & CEO of ECIDA, said, “The ECIDA is committed to advancing the participation of minority and women-owned businesses in the economic growth of Erie County. Partnering with 43North on THE PITCH contest is a great way to support this important part of our mission.”
Gregory R. Carballada, President of Foit-Albert Associates, said “As a full-service, minority-owned architectural, engineering and surveying firm with headquarters in downtown Buffalo, NY, Foit-Albert Associates is excited to partner with 43North for The Pitch, an event which reflects in such a positive way our firm’s commitment to diversity and innovation in the Buffalo area. Together with 43North, we are pleased to support the transformation and growth in Buffalo, and THE PITCH showcases the entrepreneurial spirit and core values on which Foit-Albert Associates was founded.”
“As a minority-owned business in Western New York, we know the importance of diversity and inclusion to the success of our region. Every entrepreneur deserves to have an equal opportunity to pursue their passion, and THE PITCH is a great way to bring local business owners together in support of this mission,” said Tom Saia, President of Iroquois Construction Services.