Buffalo’s Newest Entrepreneurs to Pitch Their Businesses for a Chance to Win Seed Funding

15 New Business Owners Will Showcase their Companies on December 5, 6, 7

BUFFALO NY– The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) will present its latest pitch competition for its IC Success Summer 2023 cohort on December 5, 6, and 7. The IC Success program provides new and early-stage entrepreneurs with the tools and resources they need to launch and grow their business—all at no cost.

The cohort members have almost completed the program’s intensive 10-week business accelerator program, received extensive mentoring from business experts, and are now ready to take the stage to make their business pitches to a panel of expert judges from an array of industries.

Competing for seed funding for up to 5 businesses are:

  •             Danielle Byrd, Founder, Long Life Yoga
  •             Tracey Taylor, Owner, The Blend, LLC
  •             Ashley Dolson, Founder, Melanin Skyn Co.
  •             Mohamed Yakub, Owner, Yakub’s Consulting, LLC
  •             Frank Handley, Founder, Handley Holding, LLC
  •             Thomas Preston Page, Owner, The Traphaus
  •             Rhonda Wells, Owner, Buffalo Plant Burger
  •             Elise Cominsky, Owner, Felise Design
  •             Stephanie Peete, Founder, Second Chapter Bookstore
  •             Mubarek Idris Said, Owner, iNRev Cycle
  •             Chanel Rowe, Owner, Caribbean Arts and Culture Foundation
  •             Tesha Parker, Founder, Rooted in Love, Inc.
  •             Lamiah Jabbar, Owner, LoveMeOnsie
  • Anisa Umugwanera, Owner, Welcovery
  • Jacqueline Cherry, Owner, Buffalo Dance and Movement Center

Companies that are part of an IC Success cohort also have additional opportunities to earn seed funding each quarter as their businesses are developed.

“We are so proud of how far this group of entrepreneurs has come over the past 10 weeks,” said Juweria Dahir, who has worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs and business owners as BNMC’s Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “It has been a joy to share in their progress in the IC Success program and we welcome everyone to join us at the Innovation Center for the Competition and graduation ceremony.”

Winners will be announced at a special graduation ceremony on December 14. All are welcome to attend the pitch competition on December 5, 6, and 7. Those wishing to attend can register here. Anyone who would like to attend the graduation ceremony on the 14th can register here.

Twice each year, a cohort comprised of 15 talented Buffalo entrepreneurs begins the IC Success business accelerator program. This program provides classes on all aspects of running a business, including finance, law, accounting, and marketing. In addition, each participant is matched with three mentors who support entrepreneurs throughout the program, and beyond.

IC Success is focused primarily on underrepresented entrepreneurs, and the unique obstacles they face. For example, Black business owners who apply for funding were three times more likely to be rejected by banks than white business owners, according to a report from Goldman Sachs.

“We started this program because there are entrepreneurs all over Buffalo who still don’t feel welcome in the flourishing startup ecosystem here—especially people of color and women, who often face discrimination and other obstacles when building a business,” said Matt Enstice, President of BNMC. “By purposefully integrating networks—and caring for those connections on a long-term basis—we can help communities grow from within, driving the next wave of our region’s economic development.”

IC Success is the latest equity-focused program from BNMC, which has helped drive Buffalo’s economic growth and development for more than 20 years.


Adriana Viverette
Digital Marketing Manager

Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc. 
Innovation Center at 640 Ellicott St. | Buffalo, NY 14203
C 716.348.4126 | aviverette@bnmc.org

 About Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus  

For more than twenty years, The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus organization (BNMC) has been a driving force in Buffalo’s economic renaissance. Throughout its management of the growth of Buffalo’s premier innovation district, the BNMC has foregrounded smart economic, social, and environmental development, prioritizing health & well-being, and sustainability. Today, the BNMC is focused on the next phase of Buffalo’s ongoing resurgence, cultivating inclusive innovation in partnership with our community, and launching the IC Success (Innovation Community Success) program to support aspiring entrepreneurs from all backgrounds to help them start or grow a business. Program graduates will form the heart of Buffalo’s growing Innovation Community comprised of businesses large and small in an array of disciplines leading the region’s next wave of economic development and growth.   www.bnmc.org