October 23, 2014, BUFFALO, NY – The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc. and First Niagara Bank N.A. announced today two of the first awardees for its Seed Capital Accelerator Program.
The first grant recipients – Public Health Communications LLC and F Bites – will use the funds to help improve the physical and economic health of the communities on and around the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
“We are pleased to announce our first round of grant recipients,” said Vic Nole, director of new business development for the BNMC, Inc. “These two companies are terrific examples of what we were hoping to see with this funding – entrepreneurs with innovative ideas that can positively impact our community, not only in creating jobs but also in supporting a healthier community.”
“First Niagara is committed to boosting business development and job creation in our City, and playing a pivotal role in the redevelopment taking place on and around the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. We are proud to provide the resources business owners need to help create a vibrant downtown where people can live and work,” said Buford Sears, First Niagara Regional President, Western New York.
Public Health Communications, LLC, led by local businessman John Seman and working in collaboration with the Erie County Health Department for content development, received $9,900 for a pilot project to deliver vital public health, safety, and wellness information via a network of digital signage installed in physician waiting rooms, health care clinics, emergency rooms, and other health related areas.
“Digital signage is emerging as a powerful medium for delivering dynamic, engaging and impactful messages,” Seman said. “Patients spend an average of 20 minutes in physician waiting rooms, creating an ideal environment for presenting information that empowers them to take a more active role in the health care.”
The pilot will also serve as a market research initiative to gauge the impact, recall, and action taken based on information presented on the digital signage. Arbitron Research studies indicate that 76 percent of people watch digital signage, 63 percent recall the messages, and 28 percent take previously unplanned action based on the information presented. The goal is to install 100 digital signs across Erie County over the next 3-5 years, thereby improving the health of the entire region.
The second company to receive funding in this round is F Bites, a youth empowerment and training company led by Chef Bobby Anderson, which will receive $10,000. F Bites founder and executive director Chef Bobby, as he is known, wp-contenteared on the national television series “Hell’s Kitchen” several years ago, and returned to Buffalo with a goal of improving the lives of youth in the region. His company offers vocational training as well as nutrition and financial literacy education to youth and young adults through after school programs and at special events within Erie and Niagara Counties.
“I have always known that cooking was a universal language, and it’s a very effective tool to teach the soft skills necessary for career advancement and increase awareness about healthy eating,” said Anderson. “We have been successful with what we have been doing, but receiving this grant will allow us to expand our operations and increase collaborative efforts with other local youth organization, thereby having an even greater impact on kids and families in our region.”
The company has been in operation for five years in Niagara County and seeks a larger presence in Erie County. F Bites will use its funding for business consulting and operating expenses, including hiring attorney services to obtain 501(c)3 status. They also plan to open an eatery on or near the Medical Campus to provide healthy food options prepared and served by the youth in the training program.
More than 85 percent of students graduating from the F Bites program over the past five years are currently enrolled in school or employed part- or full-time. These students are trained for existing employment opportunities, and with the expansion of F Bites will have an opportunity to go to work directly for the organization.
The BNMC Inc. is still accepting wp-contentlications on a rolling basis for the balance of the funding. For more information, visit bnmc-old.local/seedcapital.
About the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc.
The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc. (BNMC, Inc.) is a self-sustaining social enterprise successfully combining innovation, job creation, and urban revitalization. It serves as the umbrella organization of the anchor institutions that make up the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus located within the 120-acre campus bordering Allentown, the Fruit Belt and Downtown. The BNMC Inc. fosters conversation and collaboration among its member institutions, its partners and the community to address critical issues impacting them, including entrepreneurship, energy, access and transportation, workforce and procurement, neighborhoods, and healthy communities, with the goal of increasing economic development and building a strong community. bnmc-old.local