A competition is awarding $5 million in cash prizes to business startups and it is happening here in western New York. The global business plan competition is called 43North and it was revealed Wednesday at One Canalside.
The competition was launched by Governor Andrew Cuomo, and is part of the Buffalo Billion initiative. It is intended to generate new business ventures in the area, while providing support for the entrepreneurs. Winners must agree to operate their business in Buffalo for at least one year.
The top cash prize is $1 million, they will also award six $500,000 prizes and four $250,000 prizes. Winners will also receive free space for one year, guidance from mentors in their field and other incentive programs.
Applicants must be 18 years or older, and can be from anywhere in the world and in any industry except retail and hospitality.
Below you can find the details on how the competition is broken down:
The competition will be broken down into three rounds, with each round being judged independently of one another.
Round 1 (February 5 – May 31): applications from prospective businesses will be accepted via the competition’s website, 43North.org. The purpose of Round 1 is for applicants to provide a vision for their venture, including their business concept, target customers, industry overview, competitive landscape and revenue potential. This submission is not intended to be as comprehensive as a detailed business plan, but should provide the judges with a summary of the major elements of the venture.
Round 2 (September 15 – September 20): the semifinalists will present further detail on their plan, along with a 10-minute online presentation to 43North’s judging panel, followed by 10 minutes of questions. The plans put forward in Round 2 will include the venture’s business concept, value proposition, competitive analysis, communication and distribution channels, client relationships, key stakeholders, resources and activities, cost structure, revenue streams and financial considerations.
Round 3 (October 27 – October 31): the final stage of the competition is for finalist teams to pitch their business in person to a panel of judges in Buffalo. Each team will have 10 minutes to sell their business idea, followed by 10 minutes of questions. Teams will be assessed on overall organization of the presentation; the team’s ability to ‘sell’ the idea and need for the company; the team’s ability to defend the plan and be responsive to questions; and the quality of the overall plan. The competition concludes with the selection of winners and celebrations.