Millennials staying local: No better time than now for Buffalo startups

A 2016 Pew Research study shows that only 20 percent of millennials, including entrepreneurs, have moved away from their home in the last year.

This phenomenon is not entirely surprising or new. With the lack of jobs available in their fields, new graduates are, more times than not, forced to find an entry-level position close to home to pay their bills.

But many young entrepreneurs see opportunity in these realities. They recognize that the lower cost of living in their hometowns (compared to Silicon Valley or New York), coupled with less competition, presents them with the opportunity to take a chance on creating a successful startup of their own.

And more and more young entrepreneurs are taking this risk. The 2016 BNP Paribas Global Entrepreneur Report showed that twice as many millennials (aged 35 or younger) are creating businesses, as compared to their parents (eight to every 3.5). And luckily for young Buffalo entrepreneurs, startups have been extremely successful in the Queen City in recent years.

A 2017 article by Inc., Forget Silicon Valley. Move Your Startup Any of These 3 Places, tabbed Buffalo as one of the best places in the country to create a startup. It cited the city’s proximity to larger cities like Toronto, New York, and Chicago, along with “an impressive amount of funding from both the state’s Buffalo Billion initiative and private investors.” It also noted that companies are not forced to run on tight budgets, with employees barely being able to afford rent.

The piece also mentioned 43North (a competition created out of the Buffalo Billion project in 2014) as a major asset to Buffalo entrepreneurs, calling it “the world’s largest idea competition.”

According to the 43North website, the organization gives $5 million in capital to local startup companies each year, with a grand prize of $1 million (eight winners overall). In addition to the capital, winners also receive office space, mentorship, and 10 years of freedom from New York state taxes.

Even if you are not one of the lucky companies to win money from 43North, you still have a strong chance to succeed, because many venture capitalists are willing to invest in companies in “second-tier” cities like Buffalo, where less competition can lead to greater growth for startups. And today’s technology enables companies to easily connect with current or potential investors, whether they are in the area or not.

With Buffalo on the rise in many areas, now could be the ideal time for young entrepreneurs to take the chance to go after their dreams, even if it is in their own backyard.

Read more articles by Sean Brock.

A native of Western New York, Brock has worked in the field of writing and public relations over the past several years, while also gaining a master’s degree from Canisius College this May. He has worked for several universities and professional sports teams in a public relations capacity during that time, and has always kept a love for writing. In his free time Brock enjoys hiking, history, reading and watching as many baseball and football games as he can.   
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