BNMC Announces New Partnership with EforAll and Eforever to Launch Small Business Support Programs

Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll), the nonprofit whose mission is to accelerate economic and social impact through inclusive entrepreneurship, and Entrepreneurs Forever (eforever), a nonprofit focused on supporting established small businesses, announces their partnership with the nonprofit Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) to launch their free programs in Buffalo this fall. Together, these organizations will work to provide under-represented individuals with the training and support needed to start, grow and sustain their businesses.
“There’s a great need for organizations like EforAll and eforever in our community, especially as we aim to recover from the pandemic’s impact,” said BNMC CEO Matt Enstice. “A survey conducted by Buffalo Niagara Partnership (BNP) found that 93% of Buffalo area businesses have seen a revenue decline, most by 50%. Through the implementation of these organizations, we will be able to revitalize our region and build a more equitable place for future startups, beyond the technology industry.”

To help launch these initiatives, BNMC connected with financial partners, including lead sponsor KeyBank. “EforAll and eforever are exceptional organizations that will bring dreams to life and bring great opportunity and transformational change to the community,” said Elizabeth Gurney, Director of Corporate Philanthropy at KeyBank and Executive Director of the First Niagara Foundation. “We’re thrilled to work alongside BNMC to bring these initiatives to Buffalo, and remain dedicated to supporting our citizens, investing in their future, strengthening our regional economy and helping Buffalo and all of the communities we serve thrive.”

EforAll helps to start and grow small businesses or nonprofits across a wide range of industries, including personal and professional services, food, retail, manufacturing and technology. The program offers a unique combination of immersive business training, dedicated mentorship from local business and community leaders, and access to a large professional network – along with the opportunity to win seed money.

To oversee EforAll Buffalo, former External Affairs manager for the City Hall Division of Citizens Services, Juweria Dahir, has been hired as the Executive Director. In her former role, Dahir served as a liaison between various city departments and nearly 500 block clubs, identifying and implementing neighborhood development projects from beautification to restoration initiatives.

“EforAll has done inspiring work for various communities in the U.S.,” said Dahir. “I’m eager to lead this organization in Buffalo as we have many talented and creative entrepreneurs who simply need the support and training that only a program like EforAll can deliver. My priority will be to seek out like-minded community partners who share our vision for a more inclusive and entrepreneurial Buffalo.”

Among the over 500 businesses started by EforAll participants, 74% are owned by women, 58% are owned by people of color, 46% are owned by immigrants, and 39% are owned by people who were previously unemployed. These businesses generated over $25M in revenue and created 720 local jobs in 2019.

With a successful track record of helping established small businesses in their continued growth and development, eforever will provide support to existing Buffalo businesses through professionally moderated monthly peer-to-peer group meetings. Peer group members share their entrepreneurial journey with others on a similar path and work through a progressive three-year competency program, ensuring that they build necessary skills for long-term success. Together, these nonprofits will service local communities to build thriving businesses and neighborhoods.

“Over the past eight years, we’ve served entrepreneurs in 27 communities in Southwestern Pennsylvania, including our recent expansion into Massachusetts, connecting small business owners with the people and skills they need to thrive,” said A.J. Drexler, CEO at eforever. “We’re excited to extend the same support to Buffalo, as they recover from the pandemic.”

On May 4, BNMC hosted a press conference announcing the forthcoming launch of these initiatives. Attendees included EforAll CEO David Parker, eforever CEO A.J. Drexler, KeyBank Corporate Responsibility Manager Kawanza Humphrey, Dean at the University of Buffalo Robert Shibley, and others.

To learn more about these organizations and their Buffalo programs, or to donate to these initiatives, visit: and

About EforAll

Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) is a nonprofit organization that partners with communities nationwide to help under-represented individuals successfully start and grow a business through intensive business training, mentorship and an extended professional support network. To date, EforAll alumni have launched more than 500 businesses and created more than 700 local jobs. Programs are available in both English and Spanish. EforAll is currently available in Longmont, Colorado, Northwest Arkansas, and the following Massachusetts communities: Berkshire County, Cape Cod, Fall River/New Bedford, Worcester, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, and Roxbury. To learn more about EforAll, please visit

About eforever

Entrepreneurs Forever (eforever), a program of the Mansmann Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, supports small business owners and entrepreneurs who live or operate in evolving communities. Entrepreneurs Forever gives entrepreneurs the power to persist by providing know-how, skills, training, and support in the form of professionally facilitated peer-to-peer small groups that meet monthly. Eforever welcomes partnerships with referral agencies and underwriting sponsors. To learn more or become a member, visit

About Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus

The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) seeks to re-imagine our city’s future through the dynamic intersection of technology, health, discovery, and collaboration. The BNMC is an enterprise focused on cultivating inclusive innovation in partnership with our community. We do this by improving infrastructure, managing our sustainable transportation system, creating a culture of health and wellbeing, facilitating and nurturing innovation, and working with our partners to drive equitable economic development and growth. www.bnmc-old.local.

About KeyBank

KeyBank’s roots trace back 190 years to Albany, New York. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, KeyCorp is one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies, with assets of wp-contentroximately $176.2 billion at March 31, 2021. Key provides deposit, lending, cash management, and investment services to individuals and businesses in 15 states under the name KeyBank National Association through a network of wp-contentroximately 1,100 branches and more than 1,400 ATMs. Key also provides a broad range of sophisticated corporate and investment banking products, such as merger and acquisition advice, public and private debt and equity, syndications and derivatives to middle market companies in selected industries throughout the United States under the KeyBanc Capital Markets trade name. For more information, visit KeyBank is Member FDIC.


EforAll Media Contact

Molly Powers

Matter Communications

(401) 487-3661


eforever Media Contact

Roya Kousari

Entrepreneurs Forever

(412) 448-4712


BNMC Media Contact

Maria Morreale

(716) 218-7163


IC Success: Back to School Business Academy Virtual Series Begins Oct. 6th

IC Success: Back to School Business Academy

This free, eight-week webinar series will help you build and grow your business. Now is the time to invest your time and effort in yourself!

The BNMC’s IC Success: Back to School Business Academy webinar series runs every Tuesday from October 6th – November 24th from 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm via Zoom. See below for the topic each week.

Register now for the entire series.

Zoom links will be shared after registration. We recommend attending all 8 sessions to get the most out of this series.

IC Success is an education series started by the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc. (BNMC) in 2019 as way to create pathways and building blocks for success in the small business community. BNMC is committed to helping all small businesses, including women, minority, and Veteran-owned businesses and enterprises to reach their full potential.

Attend all eight sessions and receive one free month at dig at the Innovation Center, the region’s best co-working space!

October 6th – So You Want to Start a Business – Now What?

20 questions to ask yourself, including: Who is my customer and how can I make them feel valued?; What is my product(s)/service(s)?; and What type of legal structure would be best for me to operate my business?

October 13th – Working through Start-up Costs

To properly understand if this will ultimately be a profitable business, we must do an analysis of all of the costs you will encounter to start and run your business. We will work through those on a provided worksheet. This will ultimately help us to determine what the price should be for your various product(s) and/or service(s).

October 20th – Creating Pricing and Revenue Projections – Will This Company Be Able to Make Money?

We will use provided Excel worksheets to determine fixed costs and variable costs to set a price for your products and services. From there, we can create revenue projections. Also, if the company is profitable, what are some investment options to manage the excess cash flow?

October 27th – Putting It All Together and Creating Pro-forma Financial Statements

We will use our Projected Revenue worksheets created in Excel and our Fixed and Variable cost worksheets to create the major pro-forma financial statements including an income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow projections.

November 3rd – Marketing and Building Parts of the Business Plan

We will create a marketing plan including a definition of your customer and how to make those customers feel valued through customer satisfaction. We will include a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Opportunities, Weaknesses and Threats) for your specific business.

November 10th – Management/Operations/Human Resources, Completing the Business Plan, and Legally Filing Your Business in Erie County

We answer questions such as, “Do I need a license to operate my business,” and “How do I file a business name in Erie County?” And, operationally, “What software packages can help me operate my business?” In addition, we will go over the “Guide to doing Business in Erie County” that is on the Erie County website. We will cover the major laws that you will need to know about if you hire employees, and how to retain and motivate those employees.

November 17th – Local Guest Speakers who have had Business Success

Open questions for entrepreneurs in our area who have already had success! Ask them what you would like to hear about! Perhaps, “How do you manage the life/work balance with this business operation taking up so much of your time.” Ask anything!

November 24th – Panel of Subject Matter Experts, Including CPA, Attorney, Insurance and a Banker

We will cover basics of taxes and the legal structure of your business. And, “Do I need an insurance agent, an attorney and a banker?”

This series will be led by Kerry Collard, MBA, a former banking executive who has taught in the field of Business Administration and Entrepreneurship for over nineteen years at local colleges in the Buffalo area.

M&T’s New Tech Startup Makes Business First

Congratulations to M&T Bank on its feature in Buffalo Business First for the establishment of new tech company Nota! Nota – a digital banking solution — functions like any other fast-growing startup in the Thomas R. Beecher Jr. Innovation Center. The only difference? It was created by one of the region’s largest companies. To read more about M&T’s new tech company, CLICK HERE!
(Pictured: Paul Garibian, who leads M&T’s new tech startup, Nota.)

REDDY BikeShare Has Best Year Yet!

Big things are hwp-contentening on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus! As REDDY BikeShare celebrates 2019 being its fourth and most successful season – including its bike fleet hitting 200 and expanding to Niagara Falls – the Innovation Center tenant gears up for another successful season with even more in store for the 2020! (Not to mention handing out some free REDDY memberships to some lucky Buffalo bikers!) CLICK HERE to read REDDY’s full Buffalo Rising feature and learn more about what they have going on!

IC Success to Kickoff 2020 Cohort

Are you an entrepreneur or business professional who needs to grow their network but have trouble starting a conversation with new people? Do you like to play Uno? If you said yes to either of these, join us at our IC Success 2020 Kickoff! This event will be held March 11, 2020 at 6:00 pm in dig @ the Innovation Center (640 Ellicott St Buffalo, NY 14203). The first session of IC Success 2020 – Turning Passion in to Profit – will run March 17-April 7, 2020 with Power 93.7 WBLK’s ADRI.V the Go Getta facilitating. For more information, or to register for the networking event, please visit

IC Success Series Rewind

IC Success Series Rewind


The BNMC is proud to have launched our first IC Success series at the Innovation Center, a 6-week curriculum featuring two separate tracks on digital media marketing and financial literacy and credit building. These workshops were facilitated by all minority & women owned small businesses, and designed to inspire creativity, leadership and entrepreneurial thinking in an inclusive, welcoming environment. Stay tuned for brand new IC Success classes coming soon!

Opportunity for Cleantech Companies

You’re Invited to Learn More About the Cleantech Scene in Buffalo, NY!

On April 29th, LaunchNY’s ECO incubator and the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus are hosting a half-day session highlighting opportunities for cleantech companies.

The agenda includes:

  • Panel of cleantech and regulatory experts
  • Exclusive site-visit to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and off-site partner companies
  • An inside look at Buffalo’s entrepreneurial ecosystem
  • An introduction to LaunchNY, one of the most active seed funds in the country
  • Networking lunch with closing remarks

Invitation-only, space is limited. Please contact Paul Tyno by April 5th at ptyno@bnmc-old.local for more information.

What’s next for the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus?

What’s next for the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus?

By | The Buffalo News | Published | Updated

The newly opened $270 million John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital was a page turner in the latest chapter of the burgeoning downtown Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

So was the December opening of the University at Buffalo’s $375 million new home for its Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

The completion of the new projects mark a turning point for the 120-acre campus at the epicenter of Buffalo’s renaissance.

In 2002, the campus was in its infancy with just three companies. Now boasting 4.5 million square feet of development and $1.4 billion in investments, the campus has moved beyond just medical institutions. It has taken shape with a diverse mix of health care, life science and technology companies, becoming fertile ground for entrepreneurs and their startups.

There is still more to come.

Campus planners are aiming for BNMC to rival medical campuses in places like Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Among the next steps are strengthening ties with higher education and the private sectors.

“We are so well positioned with all the institutions and assets that are here and now want to embrace the excellent universities and colleges,” said Matthew K. Enstice, CEO and president of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Inc. “We plan to build out” – meaning renovate – “more space for them to have a location so they can interact and be a part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem that we have here.”

A big part of that vision is twp-contenting into local small and large companies, especially mature ones, and including them in the campus’ vision for its innovation district. “The world is changing so quickly in technology, that we’re putting a structure in place to help multiple, different companies innovate,” Enstice said.

Here’s what’s coming next on the Medical Campus:

• Design work is expected to start for renovation of existing buildings on the former Osmose Holdings site. In 2016, BNMC bought the 4.4-acre parcel, which is located at the northern edge of campus at Ellicott and Best streets and has parking for 200. It is expected to be a magnet for mature private-sector companies, along with universities and colleges, but will not be a second incubator, BNMC officials say.

• Ellicott Development Co. has a $4 million adaptive reuse development project underway at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, just north of the campus at Main and Best streets. To the south, Ellicott is planning a six-story retail and office building at 1091 Main St.

• Along the western edge of the campus, design work will begin for a redo of a critical stretch of Main Street from Goodell toward Canisius College. Meanwhile, a $7.5 million overhaul of Allen Street, including redesigned sidewalks and widened sections of the street, is expected to begin. Work will be done in phases, stretching from the eastern end of Allen toward Wadsworth.

• Workers will put the finishing touches on the exterior of UB’s Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, which opened to students earlier this month at 955 Main St. Final terra cotta panels are being installed on the Washington Street side of the building by spring. Most of the university’s labs are being moved in from mid-January through mid-March. With the medical school fully operational, 2,000 faculty, staff and students will be there daily.

• The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority’s newly renovated Allen Medical Campus Station has been integrated into the medical school. The station features “Gut Flora,” a colorful public art sculpture by Shasti O’Leary Soudant, and a newsstand opens this month. A one-block tunnel that serves as a pedestrian passageway to Washington Street will open beneath the medical school.

• The campus’ ninth pedestrian skybridge will be designed and constructed later in the year. It will span High Street, linking the Conventus medical office building to the UB Medical School. The new $1.5 million connector comes after three other skybridges just opened in November: one from Conventus to Oishei Children’s Hospital, another from Children’s Hospital to Buffalo General Medical Center/Gates Vascular Institute, and a third leading out the back of Children’s Hospital to a new parking ramp at 854 Ellicott St.

• By late May, the $40 million, 1,825-space parking ramp behind Oishei Children’s Hospital at 854 Ellicott will be completed. The top half of the eight-story ramp has been under construction since late 2017. The bottom half of the eight-story ramp opened Nov. 10 with Oishei Children’s Hospital.

• The 128,000-square-foot Thomas R. Beecher Innovation Center at 640 Ellicott St. will be completely full by the end of March.

Biz Talk: Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus CEO talks about future growth

Biz Talk: Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus CEO talks about future growth

By | The Buffalo News | Published

After Amherst native Matthew K. Enstice wrwp-contented up stints in the entertainment industry that took him to Broadway Pictures in Los Angeles and “Saturday Night Live” in New York City, his career dramatically swerved back to Buffalo.

He landed at the helm of the nonprofit organization overseeing the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. Now, 17 years later, Enstice finds himself at the pulse of the expanding campus footprint, as he guides a shifting momentum in the campus’ growth.

With a collective projected workforce of 16,000 this year, the Medical Campus continues to make its mark – from hospitals to clinical and research facilities.

“We deliver health care here, and we’re going to do high-end health care here, but it’s changing,” said Enstice, president and chief executive officer of BNMC Inc. “Health care, as you know it, is a very, very different place. As that changes and evolves, you’re going to see opportunities in our community to utilize technology to develop companies for the future.”

The Medical Campus is already home to startup companies, entrepreneurs building businesses and high-tech companies. The momentum shows no signs of tapering off.

The future vision for the campus reflects a dedicated shift toward making room for local companies as they cut their teeth on new initiatives. The Medical Campus also looks to expand its innovation district to a 4.4-acre site on the northern edge of campus that once was the home of Osmose Holdings.

A visionary with high energy, Enstice is related to the prominent Jacobs family. His late father-in-law, Dr. Lawrence D. Jacobs, was a neurologist and world-renowned researcher specializing in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.

Often wearing a blue or white button-down shirt and khakis, he is known for his casual attire and carefree manner. He rarely breaks out a tie or suit.

Enstice recently met with The Buffalo News inside the campus Innovation Center to talk about the campus’ growth and future.

Q: What do monumental projects such as Children’s Hospital and the UB medical school say about the future of the campus?

A: People talked in years past that Children’s wasn’t moving over and there was a lot of controversy. But I think it showed how the community coming together can do great things, and that’s what Children’s is a true sign of.

Right now, the (medical school) has a major presence in the city. That, to me, is a game changer that I don’t think we can define right now.

I was sitting there at the opening, looking right out the window down Allen Street, and it was just amazing to envision what is Allen going to be like. What was so wild to see, was that I used to never see people walking there and there must have been 20 or 30 people coming out of that subway. It’s just the fact that we have so much traffic starting to develop down here. And that’s a real positive.

It’s just the beginning of more opportunities for our community to leverage these great assets and great organizations being here on the campus.

Q: How does Buffalo’s regional health care hub fit within the national mix?

A: I think that we’re one of the leading innovation districts. I just don’t think about it as health. If you look back to what Jerry Jacobs commissioned for looking at the future of medicine, it’s changing dramatically. And I believe we’re very well positioned because of our computer science school, our school of engineering and our ability to be leaders in the technology field. That’s what I think of.

So, we’ve been on the map. Having Children’s and the medical school down here, puts it on the map even more.

What we need to figure out how to do, and what we really want to do, in our next phases of development is to integrate the school of engineering and the schools of business.

How does Canisius College play a role here? How does Niagara University play a role here? How does Buffalo State College play a role here? We are so well positioned with all the institutions and assets that are here. So we plan to build out more space for them to have a location so they can interact and be a part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem that we have here.

Q: What kind of involvement?

A: Let’s look at the future of medicine and all the work that we’re doing in energy, all the work that we’re doing in transportation. What’s the major driver behind those industries as they’re changing? It’s technology. We’re well positioned in building our community out to have a technology foundation that can enable health care, energy, transportation.

I’m talking this campus. We have all the resources. I don’t think we’ll build a building for a college. We want to build an environment where local businesses, big companies, are going to have a presence here.

Our plan is to build out space to embrace the local economy. I think, for too long, a lot of local businesses have not been engaged, because there hasn’t been a vehicle.

I believe that if you look across as to what’s going to help strengthen local companies, they have to be a part of what we’re doing. I think we can all help one another. That is what this is all about. How do we build a platform and a foundation in technology for everybody? Tech is not the next chapter. It’s the current chapter. It’s really what is going to be our great opportunity for the future.

We’ll use the footprint of the existing (Osmose) space that we have. As of right now, we are not planning to build a new building in the near future. We are planning to renovate the existing space. I think, over time, various companies will start to come in, but within the year is our goal is to start to see this development really start to take off.

Q: What would you say to naysayers who didn’t think this vision for the campus would ever materialize in the fashion that it has so far?

A: If you stay together and you’re straightforward and honest with one another, great things can hwp-contenten. That is at the core of what builds all the great stuff that’s down here on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus … If you look at the 4.5 million square feet of development, the $1.4 billion worth of investment, that was because people worked, planned, developed together.

Q: What is the greatest challenge facing the campus?

A: I think the greatest challenge is that people continue to work together and support one another … I think the biggest challenge you have is that sometimes people forget what got you here.

Q: Parking is a constant complaint or concern, and there’s a huge push to get people to use public transit more.

A: We have off-campus shuttles running. We have public transportation being utilized and programs in place. And it’s starting to work. People are actually trying it and it’s working. While it’s not perfect, it is an option. And so to me, we will always have a parking spot here for every patient and visitor that comes down here.

What we would hope to see is that more people live in and around the campus, in and around the subway station.

The mayor continues to talk about reinvesting in Main Street with infrastructure. He’s committed $10 million so far, going toward Canisius. We want to see the mayor continue on that and go all the way and connect us to Canisius College. … I believe if you continue to do that, you’ll see more residential units pop up on Main Street. You’ll see more people using the transit. That’s what we want to see.

Q: There are signs of spinoff development in Allentown. But for the Fruit Belt neighborhood, there always seems to be an undercurrent of concern, gentrification, trying to preserve the Michigan Avenue corridor, and a push for more parking. What do you foresee for the Fruit Belt?

A: For the Fruit Belt, I hope that there’s continued investment there in the infrastructure. The mayor has done a great job at fixing the streets, the sidewalks, the trees and the lights. I hope they continue to do that because I want to see more people invest in that neighborhood. … We believe that will be a positive if the community is part of the solution there.

I’m really intrigued by what’s going on in Masten, Fruit Belt and Allentown – to me, they’re very similar in the sense that they’ve always been engaged in a part of the process with what’s going on with the campus. Everybody’s always talked about it. Everybody’s had a light on it.

What I’m interested in is what is going on to the north. We believe there’s going to need to be more of an engagement there. I think it’s a community that people maybe have not paid as much attention to. But they’re on the border of all this stuff that’s going on here. So, it’s probably already hwp-contentening and we don’t know it.

Impact of 2017 Topcoder Open on Our Community

Impact of 2017 Topcoder Open on Our Community



This fall, our team was proud to host the Topcoder Open (TCO), a prestigious global programming, design, and data science competition, and welcome the world’s top technology talent – representing 29 different countries – to our Innovation Center on the BNMC.

Hosting Topcoder was a big win for Buffalo and the BNMC as it allowed us to showcase our community to some of the top technology talent in the world and bridge the connection between technology and the medical field. Topcoder moves us one step closer to aligning current technical capabilities and our educational networks with our vision of building an ecosystem that grows and fosters technological and economic development.

Topcoder, the leading workforce marketplace with 1.1 million developers, designers, and data scientists around the world, chose BNMC to host this year’s finals competition as the city of Buffalo has recently emerged as a center for innovation and entrepreneurship, particularly in life sciences. TCO has been recognized as the world’s premier competition for the most talented technical minds; many of the world’s most respected tech companies keep a close watch on the competition and often hire top performers immediately. Past winners have gone on to successful careers at Google, Facebook, Blizzard Entertainment and Cisco.

At the Event

BNMC hosted the four-day competition, primarily in the Innovation Center, that culminated in Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul presenting a total of $60,000 to six top winners of the TCO. The multi-day UI Design Application Competition, sponsored by M&T Bank, challenged participants to develop an wp-content to connect eighth grade students at Westminster Community Charter School with adult mentors to help guide them through high school, college and life challenges after graduation.

We also held a number of complementary events surrounding TCO including school visits by the competitors and local tech talent; a video gaming competition attracting competitors from throughout New York State and Southern Ontario; and an Innovation Summit, sponsored by the BNMC and Topcoder, featuring leading experts from across North America who discussed issues including artificial intelligence (AI), the gig economy, and the future of digital along with other topics. BNMC also sponsored a local algorithm competition for college students and a STEM video challenge, powered by AT&T, awarding $1700 to nine local middle & high school students from the city of Buffalo and surrounding suburbs.

Why the BNMC?

The BNMC brings together design thinkers, social innovators, entrepreneurs, engineers, physicians, and researchers in Buffalo, New York. The Medical Campus is already home to disruptive new technologies and scientific advancements driven by thought-leaders in clinical care, research, education and business. Continuing to stay ahead of technology is critical to the future of medicine and to the further development of life sciences, materials informatics and biotechnology companies.

Thanks to the leadership of Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York State, Buffalo is on its way to becoming a technology supercenter by building on the density of our resources.

WNY boasts more than a dozen colleges and universities, including the University at Buffalo, a premier research-intensive public university with a significant computer science and engineer department and an academic supercomputing facility of more than 170 Tflops of peak performance computer capacity; leading-edge hospitals and health care providers; world-renowned research institutions; and socially innovative private companies.

From world-class clinicians and researchers delivering outstanding health care and working toward medical breakthroughs, to innovative entrepreneurs bringing talent and business acumen, the Medical Campus is leading Buffalo’s economic renaissance.

Our team at BNMC is creating a dynamic Innovation District here in Buffalo by asking how we can better further the economic growth of our member institutions and partners, ignite urban revitalization, and build a strong thriving community.

The Innovation Center (powered by BNMC) is the largest business incubator in Buffalo, currently serving more than 100 companies, including 43North, the largest ($5.5M) business plan competition in the world, and the Z80 Labs technology accelerator.

News & Announcements

Competitors from China, Spain, Nigeria, Poland, Sri Lanka and Indonesia Take Home Top Honors in Topcoder Open

85 Competitors from 30 Countries to Participate in Topcoder Open (TCO) at Innovation Center on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus This Weekend

Topcoder Open (TCO) Design Competition to Develop App to Match Westminster Community Charter School Students with Mentors

Top Local and National Thought Leaders To Discuss Tech, Workforce and Innovation as Part of Topcoder Open

BNMC STEM Video Challenge Powered by AT&T

BNMC & TopCoder announce Algorithm Competition for Students & Professionals

Details for the Algorithm Competition can be found here

BNMC to Host Topcoder Open in October 2017

Recent Media on the Event

Topcoder winners from six countries awarded $60,000 – The Buffalo News

Topcoder Open culminates in Buffalo with the ‘March Madness of coding’ – The Buffalo News

Some of the world’s top coders are in Buffalo for international competition – WKBW Buffalo

Can a coding contest jumpstart Buffalo Niagara’s tiny tech sector? – The Buffalo News

Some of the world’s best computer programmers will come to Buffalo for Topcoder Finals – Buffalo Business First


Listen to our Talking Cities podcast featuring Topcoder CEO, Mike Morris.





ACV Auctions’ new 10,000-square-foot office can accommodate up to 130 employees

ACV Auctions’ new 10,000-square-foot office can accommodate up to 130 employees 

By  –  Reporter, Buffalo Business First

It’s been clear for awhile that ACV Auctions needed an office.

Turns out it didn’t need to leave the building.

The fast-moving technology startup, which offers a software platform for wholesale used car auctions, signed a lease Monday for a 10,000-square-foot office in the Thomas R. Beecher Jr. Innovation Center. The space will be renovated by building owner Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Inc. and the company expects to move in by spring.

Company CEO George Chamoun said the space will be a large open floor plan with conference rooms and a modern tech vibe – including no executive offices. Chamoun and other managers will sit among the rest of the company’s employees.

The office is expected to accommodate up to 130 employees, which means it’s likely to be full soon. Chamoun said ACV will keep its various smaller offices around the building for personnel overflow.

Overall, ACV Auctions currently has 160 full-time employees.

That’s a far cry from the company’s formation in 2014, when Joe Neiman, Dan Magnuszewski and Jack Greco announced they had co-founded the company. Since that time, the company has raised about $21 million in private capital in three separate fundraising rounds. It also won the $1 million grand prize in the 43North business competition in 2015.

Since it was founded, ACV’s home base has been the Z80 Labs technology incubator, which is on the Innovation Center’s ground floor. Its team now takes up a sizable chunk of that real estate, while engineers, sales teams and others have separate offices in smaller rooms around the building.

Chamoun said the move gives ACV its own branded space without the tremendous logistical hurdles of an extensive real estate search. Various local technology firms have taken years to find the right mix of price and parking combined with a modern technology vibe in downtown Buffalo.

The third floor office also has large windows looking out to the burgeoning medical campus, with views of new buildings like the University at Buffalo’s Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and Kaleida Health’s new John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital.

“The landlords here have been great to us, and this allows us to continue doing our job right now,” Chamoun said. “It’s a great location and allows us to put around own brand around it.”

According to Chamoun, ACV’s job is to continue establishing its presence in new territories throughout the United States. ACV hires employees in each of its territories – including 33 territory managers – and then seeks to build a market of wholesale dealers and buyers, who can do real-time auctions on an wp-content instead of bringing vehicles to a physical auction.

The company has now extended south to Florida and has begun fielding requests from new territories. It is in the preliminary stages of considering a large new injection of funding in 2018 to accelerate growth.

Chamoun said ACV’s revenue is up 600 percent from 2016 and the company is hitting its financial milestones.

The company is also developing new products toward the goal of being a comprehensive solution in the wholesale automotive world.

“Buying and selling wholesale is all about trust,” Chamoun said. “We are building a product portfolio that’s built around trust for both buyers and sellers.”

BNMC Launches Startup School

Back by popular demand, our Startup School & Creativity Series are back this fall in LEARN at the Innovation Center! All sessions are free and open to the public, but registration is required.

Startup School | 12-1:30pm

September 27
Protecting Intellectual Property
Simpson & Simpson, PLLC

October 10
Benefits of Being Part of the Western New York Incubator Network
WNY Incubator Network (WIN)

November 8
Crowdfunding a Startup

November 9
User Experience & Design Thinking
Helm UX

November 29
Perfecting Your Pitch

December 5
From Concept to Prototype
Product Logic

December 6
Social Media Marketing
U.S. Small Business Administration

December 12
Benefits of START-UP NY Program

Creativity Series with Dr. Roger Firestien | 8:30-11am

October 11
How to be Deliberately Creative

October 26
Solve the Right Problem

November 8
Generate Totally Radical Ideas

November 21
Creating Your Future

Some of world’s best computer programmers will come to Buffalo for Topcoder finals

Some of world’s best computer programmers will come to Buffalo for Topcoder finals

Some of the world’s top technologists will get to see what Buffalo has to offer during a four-day competition in October.

The Topcoder Open 2017 will be held at the Thomas R. Beecher Jr. Innovation Center from Oct. 20 to 24, featuring more than 85 competitors from 25 countries facing off in areas such as data science, programming and design.

Topcoder is a San Francisco-based company that hosts biweekly competitions that lead to regional matches and ultimately to an annual finale, which is what will be held this year in Buffalo.

Buffalo Medical Campus Inc. officials said Topcoder officials were attracted to the region’s technology assets, including the biomedical Jacobs Institute, National Grid ‘microgrid’ project on the medical campus and University at Buffalo Center for Computational Research.

“A lot of the big industries in Buffalo are going to need designers, software engineers and coders to make sure they’re continuing to grow and prosper,” said Matt Enstice, president and CEO of BNMC Inc. “This conference will help put Buffalo on the map and show ex-pats that we’re doing this stuff in Buffalo too, so why don’t you come on back.”

The Topcoder conference was recruited to Buffalo with the help of Sam Marrazzo, chief information officer at Superior Talent Resources Inc. and a longtime Topcoder participant. He said the Topcoder finale prizes are prestigious ones – and often lead to exciting job offers – so the field converging on Buffalo will be looking to win.

That level of competition will create a definite buzz in the Buffalo tech community, Marrazzo said.

“This is something that needs to hwp-contenten for Buffalo to become known as a technology hub,” he said.

Sean Heidinger, who is the curator of the d!g space that will be transformed for the event, traveled to China to observe one of the regional Topcodercompetitions. He said there will be a series of ancillary events, including an Oct. 24 forum led by women in the Buffalo technology world and visits from some of the competitors to technology programs in local high schools.

“I’m anticipating a world-class event,” Heidinger said. “The campus is going to be ready and we’re very excited.”

Dan Miner covers startups, education, manufacturing and public companies.

Can a coding contest jumpstart Buffalo Niagara’s tiny tech sector?

Can a coding contest jumpstart Buffalo Niagara’s tiny tech sector?

By  | Published  | Updated 

There’s no disputing that the Buffalo Niagara region isn’t Silicon Valley.

It’s not even close.

But officials at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus are hoping to shine a spotlight on the region’s undersized tech sector and try to give it a boost by hosting a global contest for the technology industry’s top developers, designers and data scientists in October.

The Topcoder contest will bring more than 85 of the world’s top technology development and design experts to Buffalo for the contest, but the competition also will attract attention from top technology companies, which often view the annual event as a way to identify talent within the coding industry.

“This is very prestigious within the coding community,” said Sean Heidinger, the manager of the dig co-working space at the Innovation Center on the Medical Campus. “It’s similar to March Madness in the programming world.”

Local organizers, however, hope the contest will be much more than that, providing an opportunity for the region to highlight its technology assets, ranging from the University at Buffalo supercomputer to the fast-growing medical campus and the region’s significant banking and financial services sector.

“This could be a great opportunity,” said Matt Enstice, the Medical Campus’ president and CEO.

“We have a lot of great software engineers and coders engaged with what we’re doing on the Medical Campus,” Enstice said.

The contest also will allow the region to focus attention on UB’s Center for Computational Research and the supercomputer capabilities at UB, along with the Jacobs Institute, a medical innovation center located on the Medical Campus, he said.

“We want people to see that there is a lot of opportunity in Buffalo,” Enstice said. “We want more of these software engineers and coders to be living in Buffalo.”

At the moment, the region’s technology sector is undersized by national standards, which means the Buffalo Niagara region is missing out on much of the impact the fast-growing sector is having on the economy in other places, especially in hot spots like Silicon Valley in California and cities like Austin, Texas.

The information sector, which includes some but by no means all activity within technology professions, barely grew in the Buffalo Niagara region from 2009 to 2015 – a time when the overall economy here expanded by more than 6 percent, according to federal economic data.

The amount of personal income generated by the information sector actually declined by 1 percent during that time, even though jobs within that sector pay better than the average job in the Buffalo Niagara region. The average compensation per job in the Buffalo Niagara region rose by 15 percent during that time.

Organizers are planning to hold a series of related events during the coding competition, which will be held at the Medical Center’s innovation center from Oct. 20-24. Those events will include contests and meetings with local students to encourage them to pursue studies in the coveted science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields as well as an “innovation summit” with local and visiting technology leaders at the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute.

The contest, which was held last year in Washington, D.C., will bring together winners of regional competitions held in seven cities, such as Austin and Pittsburgh, as well as Beijing and St. Petersburg, Russia.

While the contest could be overshadowed in bigger cities, such as Washington, organizers hope that bringing it to Buffalo will shine a brighter spotlight on it locally.

“It’s going to be a big fish in a small pond,” said Sam Marrazzo, the chief information officer at Amherst employment agency Superior Talent Resources, who came up with the idea of trying to bring the contest to Buffalo.

Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus to Host Topcoder Open 2017 in October

Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus to Host Topcoder Open 2017 in October

International Crowdsourcing Competition Attracts World’s Most Advanced Designers, Developers and Data Scientists and Companies Wanting to Recruit Them


Buffalo, N.Y., August 23, 2017 – The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) announced today that it will be the host of the 2017 Topcoder Open (TCO), the prestigious programming, design, and data science competition that attracts some of the world’s most talented design and technology experts. The event, which was launched in 2001, will take place at dig, the coworking space at BNMC’s Innovation Center October 20-24. Topcoder, the leading workforce marketplace with 1.1 million developers, designers, and data scientists around the world, chose BNMC to host this year’s competition as the city of Buffalo has recently emerged as a center for innovation and entrepreneurship, particularly in life sciences.

The World’s Premier Crowdsourcing Competition

Topcoder Open has been recognized as the world’s premier competition for the most talented technical minds; many of the world’s most respected tech companies keep a close watch on the competition and often hire top performers immediately. Past winners have gone on to successful careers at Google, Facebook, Blizzard Entertainment and Cisco.

Topcoder Community members from around the world compete online and accumulate points in Development and Design Tracks, and in online elimination-style rounds for the Data Science tracks. Those that qualify to compete in the TCO finals earn prizes and an all-expenses-paid trip to Buffalo to compete live, network, and meet other competitors in person. More than 85 participants from 25 countries are expected to travel to Buffalo to compete.

In addition to the main competition, Topcoder and BNMC are hosting a series of complementary events, including a student video competition, a STEM career event with local high schools, and others to be announced.

Buffalo Hosts Both TCO and Leading-Edge Technology Innovation

Buffalo was chosen as the 2017 TCO site due to its leading-edge hospitals and health care providers, world-renowned research and banking institutions, and socially innovative private companies as well as its concentration of colleges and universities, most notably the University at Buffalo, with its significant computer science and engineering department and one of the world’s leading academic supercomputing center. Organizers also cited BNMC’s focus on disruptive new technologies and scientific advancements driven by thought-leaders in clinical care, research, education and business.

Matt Enstice, President and CEO of BNMC commented, “We continue to see the intersection of technology and health care and we know it is critical to the future of medicine and to the further development of life sciences, materials informatics and biotechnology companies to stay ahead of new advances. We are actively pursuing new ways to develop and promote the advancement of technology on the Medical Campus and coding is central to this focus. We look forward to hosting this dynamic event and collaborating with the TCO team in the future.”

Howard Zemsky, President, CEO & Commissioner of Empire State Development  said, “Buffalo’s selection as host to a global coding competition tells the world that New York State is home to top tech companies and talent, and to respected higher educational institutions that prepare graduates for competitive, well-paying jobs in the tech industry.”

About Topcoder and the Topcoder Open

Topcoder is a workforce marketplace with 1.1 million developers, designers, and data scientists around the world. For more than a decade Topcoder has helped customers ranging from startups to Fortune100 companies accelerate innovation, solve challenging problems, and tap into hard to find skills. Enterprises distribute work to our global network through the Topcoder Marketplace, where individuals with the right skills participate in competitions to win money, build skills, and earn recognition. Topcoder Open is the flagship event of the community. The best performers qualify to enter the Topcoder Open finals through acculumating points on the platform and in regional competitions around the world. Previous finals have been held in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco. Learn more at

About the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc.           

The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc. (BNMC) 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. www.bnmc-old.local.


For more information, contact:

Susan Kirkpatrick, BNMC, skirkpatrick@bnmc-old.local






Visitors from the Silicon Desert

Visitors from the Silicon Desert

Earlier this week, we welcomed 21 health care, research, education, and business leaders from Phoenix for a benchmarking visit led by the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. They are considering creating an organization like the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc. to help facilitate conversation and collaboration among their region’s leading entities. As they talked about their plans with other cities around the country, they were pointed toward Buffalo & the BNMC, and we were more than hwp-contenty to host the group to share what we’ve learned. This trip was a follow-up from last year’s benchmarking visit to the Texas Medical Center in Houston.

While on the Medical Campus, they spent time with BNMC CEO Matt Enstice, founding Board Chair, Tom Beecher, former Mayor Tony Masiello, and former Oishei Foundation President Tom Baker for frank discussions about the challenges and opportunities of building the Medical Campus in Buffalo, beginning from its inception 15+ years ago. They visited dig & the Innovation Center and learned about our efforts across the Campus for job creation and technology disruption. They took a health and wellness-focused exterior Campus tour to learn more about our active placemaking efforts.

The group was very interested in tangible examples of the major institutions on the Medical Campus collaborating, so a visit to UB’s Clinical and Translational and Research Center and Kaleida Health’s Gates Vascular Institute was a must. They heard from Jacobs Institute founder, Dr. Nick Hopkins, and CEO, Bill Maggio, about its role as a nexus between clinical care and research, facilitating connections between physicians, students, engineers, entrepreneurs and industry all under one roof, and toured a number of spaces in the building, including the Toshiba Stroke Center led by Dr. Tim Murphy from the University at Buffalo. They heard from Dr. Ed Lattman at Hauptman-Woodward Institute about its role in the BioXFel grant and connections to consortium member Arizona State University.  Mayor Byron Brown, Invest Buffalo Niagara President Tom Kucharski, and Buffalo Niagara Partnership President Dottie Gallagher-Cohen also shared their perspective with the group as collaborative economic development officials working with the BNMC organization and our member institutions.

While the group spent most of their trip listening to and asking questions of our partners, they did find some time to enjoy more of the cultural attributes in Buffalo Niagara! Many were thrilled at our weather, as it was 120 degrees when they left Phoenix, and were hwp-contenty just to walk and run comfortably outside.  We had a lovely dinner with their delegation and leaders from our community at the Darwin Martin House, a nice tie as the Phoenix region is home to Taliesin West, another Frank Lloyd Wright home.

We have learned so much from other communities, we are always hwp-contenty to give back and spend time with those looking to do something similar.  We are hosting a delegation from Baton Rouge later this summer and look forward to sharing our experience with them, as well.

Read more about the trip in the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce blog and in this article by Invest Buffalo Niagara.


Innovation Center Launches Spring “Build a Better Business Series”

We are excited to announce our Spring Build a Better Business Series in LEARN at the Innovation Center! The program is made up of seminars and workshops designed to provide entrepreneurs and startup business teams with the education and guidance they need to successfully design, launch, and grow their new companies. All sessions are free and open to the community, but registration is required.
Upcoming sessions:

March 30: Lead Generation, presented by Tipping Point Communications

April 5: Hiring Your First Employee, presented by Holly Nowak

Visit our website for the full series, including topics on marketing and branding, sales, finance, hiring, strategic planning and more!

Medical Campus grows to more than 150 companies

Medical Campus grows to more than 150 companies


The Buffalo News

The number of companies on the 120-acre Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus has grown to more than 150, according to the nonprofit organization that oversees the campus.

In 2002, when the campus was in its infancy, there were three companies.

Companies counted by the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Inc. include those located in its entrepreneurial hub; University at Buffalo’s Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences; UB Gateway; Hauptman-Woodward Research Institute; Conventus; 73 High St. and 847 Main St. It also includes services providers and tenants that have offices within one of the buildings on campus but may be headquartered elsewhere.

The campus is a diverse mix of companies and not solely focused on health care and life sciences. Social impact and technological-based companies also are on the uptick, along with a major push of those interested in starting or growing a business.

[PHOTO GALLERY: UB’s downtown medical school nears completion]

The number of people working on the Medical Campus will expand this fall when UB’s Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences opens to faculty and then in January to students. Women & Children’s Hospital of Buffalo operations will move to the new John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital in November.

The state recently awarded $625,000 to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus to expand its business development program. In the past year, there has been $750 million of investment and 700 construction workers on the campus, according to Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Inc.

Buffalo Building a Biomedical Powerhouse

Buffalo Building a Biomedical Powerhouse

Buffalo Business First

Observers say there are several reasons why a cluster of ambitious biomedical companies emerged on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

It partly has to do with investments in local facilities such as the University at Buffalo’s Center for Computational Research, the local center for big data projects.

It also is owed to general technological advances, allowing researchers to turn their science into more specific medical testing and more effective cures.

And it has to do with an evolving economy of entrepreneurship in Buffalo, which is finally turning research hotbeds such as UB, Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute into engines of economic growth.

“It’s the computing power along with the science and the confluence of all those facilities that are allowing this to occur,” said Kim Grant, a UB business development executive who works with emerging companies.

Those who are paying attention, such as Grant, recognize an obvious trend in biomedical entrepreneurship in Buffalo. There are more companies being founded, gaining funding and building out real businesses rather than just research projects.

One of the breakouts is Athenex, which was established out of UB in 2002 but more recently raised more than $200 million and is leveraging significant government subsidies to build factories in China and Western New York. Company officials are aggressively pursuing an international strategy to design and manufacture cancer therapies.

But it’s not just about one company. Buffalo now hosts dozens of high-tech companies attacking many sides of the medical industry. Companies that are pursuing cancer therapies which direct chemicals directly to tumors won both the UB Henry A. Panasci Jr. Technology Entrepreneurship Competition (POP Biotechnologies) and the 43North competition (Oncolinx).

They join the list of growing personalized cancer companies that includes Roswell spin-offs OmniSeq, Photolitec and MimiVax; and For-Robin, out of UB.

Meanwhile, a Buffalo Billion program directed multimillion-dollar grants to two companies in 2016, Garwood Medical Devices and Circuit Clinical. Both are located downtown.

Garwood raised $3.6 million in venture capital in 2016 while Circuit Clinical raised more than $1 million.

Then there are the companies tackling medical testing, such as Empire Genomics, AccuTheranostics and Disease Diagnostic Group.

And that’s just an unscientific sampling of the young companies sprinkled throughout facilities on the medical campus or based near UB’s Amherst footprint, some of which were founded here and others that were recruited.

So when Grant goes to trade shows in Boston or New York City, she doesn’t hear snow jokes anymore, she gets genuine interest.

Local experts are starting to make bold comparisons about historical precedents for the Buffalo medical ecosystem. Dr. Steven Schwaitzberg, an entrepreneur who was a professor at Harvard University before he was recruited to become surgery chair at UB’s Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, recently said Buffalo looks like Boston in the late 1980s just before it became an international biomedical powerhouse.

And Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute CEO Edward Snell said Buffalo is starting to resemble the Stanford area in California, where a long history of top-notch research blossomed dramatically into a worldwide medical and tech hotbed.

“You’re seeing the same thing in Buffalo, a mixture of industry, academia and clinical experts all in the same area,” Snell said. “We’re seeing incremental growth but we’re nowhere near saturation point yet.”

He said the final key is pulling in more private investment. There are a handful of investment groups that actively consider seed funding for medical companies in Buffalo. But these types of companies often require major capital infusions to catalyze their growth.

Snell said he’s optimistic.

“I see a steady increase in venture capital and federal research funding,” he said. “And I think you’re going to see quite a few stories about that in the not-too-distant future.”

A medical campus leader

A medical campus leader

Vic Nole had spent the past decade trying to help medical companies commercialize products and technologies when, in 2014, he was hired to do a similar job on behalf of an entire region.

Nole is director of business development for Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Inc., a process that involves getting personally involved with companies on the medical campus and building broader strategies to support their growth.

BNMC Inc. owns several facilities that house high-tech companies and also exists to serve other major commercialization actors on the campus, including the University at Buffalo, Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute.

Nole holds an important job on the campus, where the combined public and private investment of the last 10 years has been more than $1 billion, partly to improve health care in Buffalo but also to help generate a new economy.

How would you describe your job? Part of it is working with small teams to help them build business models to commercialize a product or technology. BNMC Inc. doesn’t have a huge staff or depth of knowledge in that area, so we rely on our network to facilitate introductions and access to resources. Another area is working with our member institutions on the medical campus, helping them map out assets and open doors so we can market a broader capability outside of Buffalo in the hopes of attracting new companies.

What kind of environment are you trying to build for startups? We’re trying to provide workspace, education, access to business resources and then networking opportunities, and to put in place infrastructure and amenities in those four areas. Then any company that is part of the campus community can plug into any of those things. They can come to me and say, “Hey, do you know an expert in regulatory affairs?” Or “Can you help me sell my product in China?” There is still a lot of work to do. Lab facilities are quickly filling up across campus. Our mentor network still needs to grow. We recently launched our i4 Studio (in collaboration with SUNY Buffalo State’s International Center for Studies in Creativity), a creativity lab that’s part of our evolving education program.

The campus is a widely used symbol of Buffalo’s economic resurgence. Is there real momentum here? The reason the campus has been so successful is that everyone is working together. Three years ago, we had 35 to 40 companies on the campus; now there are more than 120, and nearly 50 of them are in life sciences. Ten years ago, most intellectual property generated at the University at Buffalo or Roswell Park Cancer Institute got licensed and went outside of Buffalo. We’re finally at a point where we have enough infrastructure, processes and systems in place, and enough collaboration between our members, that we can design and launch our own life sciences companies. The growth is good but we still need critical mass. When I am out in Boston talking to investors, you need a certain amount of companies to get them on a plane. If you tell them you have 200 companies, it’s going to catch their attention.

What do you think the future of the campus holds? I’m bullish. Some of these companies are going to start to emerge and catch the attention of people outside the area. The image of the campus has grown, which is helping us attract more talent and more money. And as you start to bring in more assets, it just accelerates your programs. So I would think that if we’re sitting here today at 120 companies, we could double that in five years.

Dan Miner covers startups, education, manufacturing and public companies.

BNMC Sees Explosive Growth

In recent years – the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus has become “the place to be” for entrepreneurs and new companies.

In just three years, the number of businesses on the Medical Campus increased 300%.

“Going in to 2013 we had about 40 companies that were located here in the Innovation Center. And at the close of 2016 we’re supporting a little over 120 companies across the Medical Campus,” said Vic Nole, the BNMC’s Director of Business Development.

Nole says, they’re not all involved in healthcare or life sciences either. There’s a diverse mix of companies.

“We’ve got quite a bit of technology, we’ve got a little bit of manufacturing. We have some social impact entrepreneurs,” Nole said.

There’s even some retail and a few artists. Nole says the strategy is to have an open door and bring in anyone who has an interest in starting or growing a business. The state recently designated the BNMC’s Innovation Center as a certified business incubator.

“So in the Innovation Center we’ve really been successful in creating a self-contained little ecosystem. And then our intent is to get them scaling to a point where we can transplant them in to the community and they can continue to grow and create new jobs for Buffalo,” Nole said.

The state recently awarded the BNMC $625,000  to expand its business development program.

Meet Our Team: Q & A with Vic Nole

A Conversation with Vic Nole

Vic Nole joined the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc. (BNMC) in early 2014 as Director of Business Development, heading up the non-profit organization’s focus on building Buffalo’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Vic is a life sciences industry executive with more than 20 years of operations, business management, and entrepreneurial experience.  Prior to the BNMC, he managed a private consulting firm that focused on helping life science researchers and inventors to bring their products and technologies to market. He also served as President of Invitrogen Corporation’s GIBCO cell culture products division, Vice President of Manufacturing Operations for Strategic Diagnostics, Inc., Vice President of Site Operations for Life Technologies Inc., and as General Manager and Chief Operating Officer for United Biochemicals.

As a former researcher, entrepreneur, and life science business executive, what attracted you to working at the BNMC?

While at Invitrogen, my focus was to develop a business model for our cell biology business that became very successful and during that time I became involved with BUFFLink, a group of local business leaders that was trying to catalyze the life sciences work being done here as an economic driver for the region. It was really ahead of its time, but it afforded me the opportunity to learn about a lot of cool research that was going on at UB and Roswell Park Cancer Institute. At that time, there was no formal mechanism for creating new companies based on local research. Most of the intellectual property generated by research being done here was licensed and then left the area. I saw a lot of opportunity in changing that, especially as the Medical Campus began to grow. Years later, while running my consulting business, I had a number of connections to some of the work being done on Campus in life sciences and my interest grew. The actual connection to BNMC came when I attended a social networking event, Beakers and Beer, and started a conversation about creating and attracting new life science companies to Buffalo with Pat Whalen, BNMC’s COO at the time. Joining the team was a perfect fit for me and my background and it gave me the opportunity to stay in Buffalo and contribute to the region.

How do you see the role of the BNMC in the region’s entrepreneurial community?

The Innovation Center has really become the epicenter of entrepreneurial activity on the Medical Campus and in the region. With a full offering of workspace, business services, mentoring, networking and the assets of the overall Campus, it offers resources for those that are starting with just an idea, to companies that are already in the marketplace and growing.

My role, and that of the BNMC, is to provide support for young companies throughout the design, launch, and growth process, so my work can be all over the board depending on where in the development pipeline a young company needs help. We get involved in everything from helping companies develop their business model, to teaching the commercialization process, to connecting them to the resources and service providers they may need to run their business.

Our role is a little different than most incubators in that we don’t take a fee or an equity stake in companies that we work with. Our mission is to create jobs and to actively participate in Buffalo’s revitalization, so we see creating, building and attracting businesses to the area as the most important things that we do.

How do you typically work with a start up company?

We always start with a conversation. Many times, starts-up will come to us looking for connections to the VC community believing that what they need is money. We take the wp-contentroach of asking a lot of questions to determine what they really need at that specific point in their evolution, and often times it is something very different than what they originally thought. Other times people will ask for help with a business plan, when figuring out what their product or business model actually is can be a more important first step. We like to teach them the commercialization process so they know what they are in for, help them to vet their value proposition for market viability, and then get them connected to the right resources to accelerate their growth.

What changes have you seen since you began working with BNMC nearly three years ago?

One of my biggest concerns when I started was the willingness of those working in the local entrepreneurial space to collaborate. Ten years ago things were very parochial with people working in silos and protecting their turf. Around the time I joined the BNMC, however, there were also a number of others in the life sciences community who were starting in new business development roles and I think we all had the sense that talking to each other, working together and leveraging our connections was going to make everyone more successful. The community is far more collaborative then it has ever been and there is a lot of willingness to guide start-ups to other incubators or resources if they can be better served. You can see these connections on display at various networking events around town. Everyone seems to be working for the greater good – building a better Buffalo!

The other really important change has been that we have some very real successes to point to. There is a big difference between talking about what you want to do and actually demonstrating that success. Five years ago there was no functioning eco-system to speak of. Today, there are nearly 120 companies that have a presence here on the medical campus so there is a lot of talent, skills and other resources that can be leveraged to attract new companies.

What type of company could really benefit by working with the Medical Campus?

It really starts with the assets we have on Campus. Any start-up in the area of life sciences would be well served given the world-class research, clinical resources, and our focus on bioengineering, bioinformatics, genomics and similar fields that can be found here. It is an ideal setting for companies focused on healthcare, therapeutics, diagnostics, and medical devices.  We also have a growing core of technology companies that are supported by other incubator programs here at the Innovation Center like 43North and Z80 Labs.

We don’t limit our work to life science and tech companies, however, as we frequently work with businesses of all types. We especially like to help social innovators and entrepreneurs who live in our adjacent neighborhoods because these groups are working to improve and enrich our surrounding community. And we are proud of our role as connectors and facilitators, shepherding people and companies to those resources in the community that can be most helpful in ensuring their business success.

What’s next – how do you see the next few years in terms of entrepreneurial growth?

I believe we are poised for exponential growth now that we have demonstrated success. It is tough to sell a concept but we now have tangible assets – growing companies, life science expertise, physical space and a networked community dedicated to getting companies on their feet and growing. We also have proximity to Toronto and we are in great position to offer Canadian companies a gateway to the U.S. market.  One of the other really exciting and encouraging developments is that young people want to be here and they tend to be entrepreneurial. Our challenge now is keeping our home grown talent here in town, attracting new talent from outside of Buffalo, and then connecting those young people to exciting new business opportunities.

Innovation Center on Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus named certified incubator

Innovation Center on Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus named certified incubator

By Stephen T. Watson
The Buffalo News


Empire State Development has named the Thomas R. Beecher Jr. Innovation Center on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus a state certified incubator, a designation that includes funding of up to $625,000 over five years to support local entrepreneurs.

The Innovation Center at 640 Ellicott St. now joins the state’s network of regional hotspots and certified business incubators. The designation and funding, $125,000 per year over five years, are part of the governor’s Regional Economic Development Councils.

The Innovation Center opened in 2010 and is one of three locations, and additional properties, where the Medical Campus organization serves more than 120 companies and startups.

The Medical Campus will use the Empire State Development funding to expand its business development programming at the Innovation Center, starting with the launch of the i4 Studio, an idea lab that teaches how to wp-contently creative thinking in the entrepreneurial process. Additional money will support the development of product prototypes and helping company founders connect with investors.