|First-of-its-kind free initiative connects business owners with mentors and marketplaces|
April 1, 2023.
BUFFALO NY– The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) is pleased to announce the launch of IC Success—a free, year-long program to connect historically marginalized, early-stage entrepreneurs with mentors, marketplaces, and other resources.
IC Success provides new and early-stage entrepreneurs with the tools and resources they need to launch and grow their businesses—all at no cost.
Entrepreneurs who are accepted into IC success receive full access to the business accelerator program, extensive mentoring from business experts, access to connections and customers throughout the downtown medical campus (where 17,000-plus people work), and semi-annual pitch contests where entrepreneurs can earn seed funding.
“We’re here to connect people,” said Juweria Dahir (pictured above), who has worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs and business owners as BNMC’s Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “For too long, people in historically marginalized and underserved communities have not had equal access to mentors, funding, and other resources—even though they have brilliant ideas and have proven to be amazing businesspeople. Creating these integrated networks eliminates many of the barriers for these entrepreneurs.”
A cohort comprised of 15 talented Buffalo entrepreneurs began the IC Success business accelerator program in January. This intensive 10-week 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.
Shéquanda Long, the founder of the educational resource company Teacher Tidbits, is one of the entrepreneurs in the spring 2023 class. “Through IC Success, I’ve met with mentors who are helping me create new products, focus my marketing, and get in front of new customers,” said Long. “It’s truly a game-changer.”[GU1] [MM2]
Underrepresented entrepreneurs face unique obstacles. 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 economic growth and development for more than 20 years. IC Success, which stands for Innovation Community Success, replaces EforAll, a national program that recently left the Buffalo market.
Director of Marketing and Strategic Communications
Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc.
Innovation Center at 640 Ellicott St. | Buffalo, NY 14203
C 716.866.7344 | Mmorreale@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, launching the IC Success[GU5] (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 and leading the region’s next wave of economic development and growth. www.bnmc.org
The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) is pleased to announce the appointment of Edward F. Walsh, Jr. (Ted) as the new Chairperson of the Board of Directors. An active champion of community development and growth, Ted brings over 44 years of experience in leadership to the BNMC Board and is poised to lead the organization as it advances the next wave of Buffalo’s economic development. He succeeds David Zebro, who led BNMC to create one of the most environmentally sustainable areas in the City of Buffalo, while creating numerous opportunities for businesses and organizations in the medical and technology fields.
BNMC President and Chief Executive Officer Matt Enstice said “Ted brings a wealth of experience in leadership to the BNMC Board which will be invaluable as we continue to move the organization forward building on our legacy of innovation and entrepreneurship to advance our region’s economic, social, and environmental agenda. Our mission to create an innovation community in Buffalo that provides essential support for everyone, particularly those in historically underserved communities seeking to start or grow their business will flourish under Ted’s stewardship. Ensuring access to entrepreneurship for everyone is the essential next step for our community as we continue to drive our region’s resurgence. Ted is uniquely positioned to lead that effort.”
As it has grown and managed Western New York’s premier medical campus and Innovation district, BNMC has been a long-standing supporter of startup companies, particularly those engaged in the fields of environmental sustainability, providing the essential support that has enabled their businesses to thrive. As part of its work in developing a sustainable innovation district in Buffalo, BNMC has helped to develop and nurture enterprises such as GObike Buffalo and Shared Mobility, Inc. To broaden this effort, in 2021, BNMC partnered with the national organizations EforAll and Eforever, to bring their proven programs to Buffalo. In April of 2o22, a cohort of 14 Buffalo entrepreneurs graduated from the EforAll program which provided hands-on training, mentorship, and support to each new business. The group will now join the Eforever program which will continue to provide resources and support as these nascent companies grow and develop. Program graduates will form the heart of Buffalo’s growing Innovation Community comprised of businesses large and small in a range of disciplines, leading the region’s next wave of economic development.
Speaking about his appointment, Ted Walsh noted “It has never been more important that our city engage in a significant effort to ensure more equitable access to the opportunity to start or grow a company. We need to support and develop entrepreneurs in every kind of business, not just those in the fields of science and technology, to ensure that our community’s continued economic development is built on a solid, diverse foundation across a range of disciplines. I look forward to leading BNMC in this vital endeavor.”
Ted Walsh has held several leadership positions at numerous organizations throughout Western New York including Chair of the Board at Kaleida Health, United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, Goodwill Industries of WNY, Nichols School, and the Center for Hospice & Palliative Care. In addition, he also serves as Treasurer of the John R. Oishei Foundation and as Chairperson of the Josephine Goodyear Foundation.
Ted has been recognized for his many outstanding accomplishments, both in his professional achievements as well as his dedication to serving the WNY community. In 2018, the Walsh family was recognized by NFJC with its annual family award. In 2013, Ted received recognition as a Red Jacket Award winner from the Buffalo History Museum. In 2011, he was honored to be Canisius College’s Business Executive of the Year Award recipient, a Goodwill Industries of WNY award recipient, and a Florence M. Conti Award recipient. In 2008 Kaleida Health dedicated the Edward F. Walsh, Jr. Emergency Department at the Buffalo General Medical Center in his name. In addition, Ted and his wife Ginna Remington Walsh were named the United Way Philanthropists of the Year by the Alexis de Tocqueville Society.
Ted graduated from Nichols School in 1972 and Williams College in 1976 and began his insurance career that same year with the Continental Insurance Company. He joined Walsh Duffield in 1977. As Chief Executive Officer, Ted is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the firm.
Ted lives in Buffalo, New York, with his wife, Ginna. They have raised their two daughters, Liza and Ellie, in Buffalo. They are proud grandparents of Avery, Haley, Grant, Addison, and Colette.
About Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus
For more than twenty years, The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus organization (BNMC) has been a driving force of 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. Today, the BNMC is focused on the next phase of Buffalo’s ongoing resurgence, cultivating inclusive innovation in partnership with our community. In 2021 BNMC spearheaded the initiative to bring the national programs EforAll and Eforever to Buffalo. These proven programs 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 and leading the region’s next wave of economic development and growth. www.bnmc.org.
On August 26, BNMC will present a special pop-up event and we invite you to join us. We’ll be transforming the parking lot at 589 Ellicott into an outdoor beer garden and we’ll gather for some food and exceptional brews provided by our friends at Big Ditch. DJ Mr. Illmatic will provide the tunes.
When: Thursday, August 26 from 4:30 to 7 PM.
Where: The Lot at 589 Ellicott.
Space is limited for this free event, so pre-registration will be required.
Stop by and say hi! You can register to join us here.
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.
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 www.eforall.org.
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 entrpreneursforever.org.
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.
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 https://www.key.com/. KeyBank is Member FDIC.
EforAll Media Contact
eforever Media Contact
BNMC Media Contact
The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) has selected the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BMNC) as one of five U.S. locations to pilot the Complete Trip – ITS4US Deployment Program. The Complete Trip – ITS4US Deployment Program challenges communities to identify ways to provide more efficient, affordable, and accessible transportation options for underserved populations that often face greater challenges in accessing essential services.
Network with your Cross-Border Colleagues Virtually!
While the safety measures of COVID-19 have reduced international travel, they have not stopped our potential for cross-border collaboration.
About this Event
While the safety measures of COVID-19 have reduced international travel, they have not stopped our potential for cross-border collaboration.
The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, McMaster University Innovation Park and Spark Niagara have come together to facilitate a virtual networking event for startups across the Buffalo, Niagara and Hamilton regions to interact, collaborate and seek opportunities for partnership.
By organizing the group into numerous breakout sessions entrepreneurs will gain a meaningful experience in learning from and collaborating with other startups.
WHEN: Weds., October 21st from 1:30 – 3:00 pm
WHO: Startups in Buffalo, Niagara & Hamilton regions.
HOW: Register today for this free, virtual networking event!
The Making of Ognomy: Revolutionizing Sleep Wellness Through Telemedicine
Check out how the Ognomy – The Sleep Apnea App went from dream to wp-content MVP in 4 months through on-demand talent. The Topcoder team leads this conversation with Dr. Dan Rifkin, visionary behind Ognomy and our very own Sam Marrazzo as they describe the process that covered design thinking workshops, dev sprints, crowd-sourcing, and everything in between to get to this successful outcome.
New Portable E-Bike Upgrade is Coming to Campus – Take Survey For A Chance To Be a Part of the Pilot!
BNMC is committed to expanding access to healthy and green transportation options. To that end, we are excited to be working with CLIP, an electric-assist bicycle start-up company coming to town through the Launch NY Clean-Tech ECO incubator. CLIP is on a mission to make getting around by bicycle effortless, safer, and faster.
The company is ready to pilot its e-bike device – and you can be among the first to try it out for yourself! Complete this short 2-3 minute survey for a chance to participate in an upcoming pilot program exclusively for members of the BNMC community.
If you have any questions, please contact the project lead, James La Vela at firstname.lastname@example.org. Selected participants who complete the survey will also be given a $25 gift card to the Neighborhood Explorer Business of their choice.
AR Signage for a Safer Reopening
The BNMC has recently partnered with Twisted Rope to launch augmented reality (AR) signage in the Innovation Center to communicate safety information more efficiently using the AReveryware wp-content. Download on Google Play or the App Store. This exciting technology uses augmented reality with signage to play videos on smartphones to give employees and visitors important instructions.
See how it works in this video.
“Until Sam Mazzarro from BNMC contacted us, we had not considered how our augmented reality technology might help in a safety context. BNMC has been a great partner and catalyst. Since that first call, the ideas and uses of the technology as an informational system have been expanding incredibly and it’s led us into additional deployments with public and private companies.” – Greg Norton, President – Twisted Rope
Benefits of SafeReopen
- Reduce Risk
- Easy to Use
- Update Information Remotely
- Customize Information for Your Facility
If you’re interested in learning more about this technology for your facility or workplace, please reach out to Parrish Gust at email@example.com.
Creating Pathways to High-Tech Employment
Long before the COVID-19 pandemic caused unemployment rates to soar, a group of collaborators in Buffalo were working toward a hands-on, lab-oriented technology certificate program designed to get out-of-work individuals back to work.
Last fall, Mark Hoeber, Dean of Continuing Education at SUNY Erie, began pulling together key local partners to help him build the full stack web development boot camp he saw successfully run in other communities. He identified David Adkins, formerly the VP for Information Technology at the Buffalo News, currently an engineering manager at Facebook, as a partner to develop and lead the course. He also reached out to Sam Marrazzo, BNMC’s Chief Innovation Officer.
Sam provided curriculum support and also brought in Raj Suchak, founder of Grit Seed, which offered the use of its technology platform pro bono to help market the program and identify candidates likely to succeed. Grit Seed’s technology made it convenient for people to wp-contently via text. After a potential candidate expressed interest, they were automatically encouraged to complete the process and answer simple questions.
Cristina Lopez from Workforce Buffalo was instrumental in providing funding for tuition. Seventeen people are currently enrolled in this class, with 14 students’ tuition paid for by Workforce Buffalo as part of its efforts to help upskill unemployed or dislocated workers. Originally designed as an in-person class starting in April, the class launched on Zoom in June and runs through mid-August. Graduates will earn a Microsoft certificate. SUNY Erie is also developing a Google programs and a Facebook marketing course.
Learn more about the program.
Innovation-As-A-Service: Ognomy Case Study
When Dr. Dan Rifkin had an idea to transform the sleep medicine industry using telemedicine, he knew who to call. His company, Sleep Medicine Centers of WNY was one of the first companies to locate in the Innovation Center nearly 10 years ago, and he has known Matt Enstice, BNMC CEO, for a number of years.
“I reached out to Matt to get his feedback, and he immediately jumped into action,” said Dan Rifkin, M.D., Medical Director of Sleep Medical Centers of WNY. “I wanted to transform my business, and he gave me the tools to do so.”
Matt connected Dan to Sam Marrazzo, BNMC’s Chief Innovation Officer. Sam’s niche is helping companies – any company, regardless of industry – innovate from within.
“Our goal is to connect people with ideas to a quick but thorough process using agile innovation that can create the platform for a solution that minimizes investment and risk in the marketplace,” according to Marrazzo. “We take your domain knowledge and bring connections and ideas to move your initiative along quickly. We use novel methods to solve problems and deliver solutions at a rapid pace, allowing you to prototype prior to building a final product, saving time and money. If the idea is not going to work, we want to fail fast and move along to the next idea. Through this wp-contentroach, we are changing industries by cultivating people and ideas, much like we did with Dan and sleep apnea.”
Marrazzo pulled together an innovation team from across the country, including the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State, who helped hone in the idea and its unique business proposition, along with the UB School of Business MIS Department students and professors to help with requirements and overall implementation strategy.
He also engaged BNMC partner Topcoder, an international technology platform connecting companies to top talent. Marrazzo has worked with Topcoder for more than a decade, including bringing 200+ technology superstars to Buffalo in 2017 for its international conference. With the combination of Topcoder, UB, and BNMC’s Innovation team, we were able to develop a solution within budget and timeline that met the needs of Dan’s team.
“Within three months, we went from idea to implementation,” explained Rifkin. “It would have taken me years to get this far on my own. The connections that Sam, Matt and their team made for me are going to disrupt not only my industry, but other health disciplines as well.”
The team developed a telemedicine wp-content that incorporates practice automation and allows diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea to be done via a mobile wp-content—all in the comfort of a patient’s home. Typically, patients need to spend the night in a sleep center, hooked up to monitors in an unfamiliar room and setting. Now, with advances in diagnostic technologies, Rifkin is able to ship the equipment directly to a patient’s home and monitor them in their own environment, increasing access and ease of diagnosis.
Rifkin is now looking at other disciplines that follow similar platforms, such as cardiology, to see how they might benefit from this technology.
How ‘innovation districts’ are continuing the fight against COVID-19
Local research and discoveries relating to COVID-19 were featured recently in a blog from the Global Institute on Innovation Districts (GIID) and published by the Brookings Institute. Work being done at the University at Buffalo, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, and local companies Rapid Medical Parts and Innosek were included.
The BNMC is a steering member of the Global Institute on Innovation Districts, a global network of practitioners. Our work with these international leaders provides strategic connections around the world.
We are thrilled to announce our 3rd year of BNMC Spark – the BNMC’s micro-grant program that showcases creative ideas and strategies to support partners and stakeholders within the neighborhoods surrounding the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
We invite community members and organizations to submit proposals to receive funding for initiatives that advance the goals of BNMC and the local community. The BNMC’s key goals include:
- Build an inclusive and collaborative culture of innovation that drives economic development and creates vibrant, healthy communities.
- Ensure our district is attractive, welcoming, and accessible – a quality place to work, live, visit and invest in.
There is $40,000 available to the community through this RFP. The maximum award amount for each project will be $5,000.
The deadline for wp-contentlications is February 28, 2020. Learn more at bnmc-old.local/spark or contact Kyria Stephens at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!
BNMC’s Kyria Stephens Talks Community Building
BNMC’s Director of Inclusion & Community Initiatives, Kyria Stephens, shares his thoughts on diversity, inclusion and collaboration in this short video.
“Innovation hwp-contentens when diverse trains of thought and diverse people come together and share their ideas.”
Join us for our annual Last Minute Holiday Market
on December 19th!
‘Tis the season to buy local! Stop by our annual holiday market to pick out unique gifts for your friends and family. Interested in tabling at this event? Vendors must register by December 16th at ICgiftmarket.eventbrite.com.
dig at the Innovation Center, 640 Ellicott St., 1st floor
December 19th from 11:30am-1:30pm
All participating vendors are locally owned-small businesses. We will have lunch available for purchase from our Collision Cafe vendors, including Lime House, R&R BBQ and Green Eats Kitchen.
Your Innovation Center Presents: IC Success!
These NEW workshops are facilitated by minority & women owned small businesses, and designed to inspire creativity, leadership and entrepreneurial thinking in an inclusive, welcoming environment.
FREE childcare will be provided by ABC Learn & Play from 6:15-8:15pm for every session!
Registration is required via the links below.
Digital Media Marketing with Crews Control Media
Tuesdays from 6:30-8pm | October 15th-November 19th
Financial Literacy & Credit Building with Clarity Credit Repair
Thursdays from 6:30-8pm | October 17th-November 21st
Refreshments provided for attendees.
Plenty of on-street parking is available outside the Innovation Center, as well as in the parking lot across the street. We are also a short walk from the Allen/Medical Campus NFTA station and along several bus routes.
BNMC’s Innovation Center Buzzes with Activity!
New Companies Join the IC Community!
Startup Grind with Glenn Jackson of M&T Bank
Startup Grind with Brett Mikoll and Dave Horesh
Small Business Summer School
BNMC’s Innovation Center Buzzes with Activity!
New Companies Join the IC Community!
Startup Grind with Glenn Jackson of M&T Bank
Startup Grind with Brett Mikoll and Dave Horesh
Small Business Summer School
How is your organization going to attract the best and brightest talent?
The race for talent today means that corporations will have to use novel methods to attract new talent. From sponsoring technology schools to hiring experienced expat knowledge workers to return back home so they can retool their organizations. Firms will begin to retool their legacy office spaces and hire architecture firms to create a new vibe allowing for more creativity that will attract and retain talent. Firms will begin to rebrand their organizations to be a cool and unique organization that uses the latest and greatest in culture, healthy living and a focus on the employee wants and needs. New roles like Ambassador of Buzz and Chief Curator establish a vibe to attract talent from Bay Area tech firms. Corporations will begin to reduce their dependence on off-shore tech companies and consulting firms and move forward to build in-house innovation departments. Corporations will need to increase corporate spending on retraining of mature employee.
So what are some of the steps to help retain and provide your employees a place to separate time and space to innovate?
The first steps needed within an organization prior to beginning your innovation journey is to examine your own team’s innovation readiness. Some of the best ideas come from your own team members. Many of your own team members with years of domain experience can produce a constant pipeline of ideas that can help your organization disrupt your industry. Your organization also has team members that may not be ready to share their insights due to a legacy corporate culture that does not enable a safe and open and honest conversation to inspire an innovative culture. Building an innovation culture is the first step prior to acquiring an idea management software like Spigit or Ideator. You must consider your organization’s innovation culture. Organizations are prematurely acquiring these types of software to help collect ideas from their own organizations without examining their own team innovation maturity.
Before I explain what an innovation culture is, I should discuss the current state of the public or privately held corporation, colleges / universities and how students are opting out of traditional employment in corporations. Universities and colleges are producing prospective students for corporations. Many of these students are selecting other opportunities like the start-up market that is fast paced, risk filled and, in a fail fast culture. Other reasons are that banks, hospitals, and insurance companies are not attracting the talent needed to backfill retiring employees due to existing legacy technologies stacks and stodgy leadership teams with attitudes that cannot relate to the students’ needs. These needs include latest technologies, flexible work schedules, health and wellness, relaxed dress codes, diverse workforce and a support system that allows for a culture that helps the community.
The lack of progressive corporate leadership styles are souring many talented prospects from entering the corporate job market. The same legacy corporations that are souring prospective talent have a great deal of influence on the universities and colleges to shape the curriculum to become more creative and innovative. Due to the focus on maintaining the status quo within a firm and the tenure within the firm they take years to make a course correction. When a “Hippo” 1 (highest paid person’s opinion) makes the decisions within an organization the innovation and the culture offer suffers. The paradox in all of this is that students that graduated 20 years ago from the very universities that were innovative at the time have become so conservative that they have created a culture of status quo to keep the machine running, vs a culture of innovation.
In many corporations the execution of projects is the focus of many of the activities from upgrading business systems to building new production plants, projects are a primary activity within the company. Corporate projects fall into a few categories: revenue, operations, and compliance, and are run by a project management office or project manager. A focus on quality, time, and cost ensures when projects are completed. With all the focus on project execution, there is little time for innovation and employees are not taught to think creatively. We are taught to execute on projects and not to fail or rapid learning culture. Business schools teach management principles that were developed in the later industrial revolution to solve the large-company management problem–not the innovation problem 2. Corporations focused on project execution and maintaining the status quo can overlook talent that comes nontraditional degrees like art, English and history and focused on a traditional employee from accounting, finance, and engineering. This could be why organizations need to unlearn from the traditional organizational wp-contentroaches and learn how to inspire and mentor talent and begin to build a brand around innovation. Innovation as a culture is an wp-contentroach that needs to be developed from the middle up and top down with total support form executive leadership. The innovation culture enables teams to fail, create, learn and are giving employees an opportunity to talk freely in a safe environment. What a safety environment provides your employees is a safety net to ask why to anyone in your organization or to experiment on a new business model with support.
The innovation journey doesn’t start with deploying mega trends like AR/VR, deep learning or blockchain, it is about changing the organization’s culture that supports their careers by supporting a separation in time a space to allow innovation of ideas and concepts. Meaning separation of time and space allows employees to leave the organization to fulfill outside interests helping the journey to an innovative culture. Along with understanding your team’s current leadership state of mind, your teams need to be evaluated to determine their ability to innovate. If team members are not motivated or are prepared to help, you will need to provide the tools to unlearn their team style to effectively change the culture. If they cannot or are not willing to change they need to be managed out of the organization.
The organization that changes the scenery and believe that have made a cool space with high end coffee and cool seating arrangements will not move the needle. The organization must challenge employees with work that is inspiring by reducing emails and meetings and exposing employees to work that is stimulating and exciting.
BNMC Joins Steering Committee with Global Innovation District Leaders, Highlighted in Research Brief
For more than 15 years, we have been working together with our partners to create a collaborative and inclusive innovation district. In 2014, a paper by the Brookings Institution on the rise of innovation districts supported our efforts in this area and gave a name to the anchors and innovators plus model that we had been creating.
The BNMC is proud to be a part of the steering committee for the Global Institute on Innovation Districts (GIID), global leaders working together to network innovation districts, and to be featured in a new research brief released today by GIID, “The Evolution of Innovation Districts: The New Geography of Global Innovation,” written by Julie Wagner, Bruce Katz, and Thomas Osha.
More than 100 innovation districts exist around the world today with 200 more poised to come online soon, as stated in the report. The authors note: “Roughly twenty districts have reached a high level of sophistication, concentrating in close proximity a mix of research institutions, mature companies, start-ups and scale-ups, co-working spaces, and supportive intermediaries.” We are proud to be one of these 20 districts leading this new form of economic development as we seek to create a national model to rebuild communities using social design through our MutualCity methodology.
According to the authors, “Districts, by their nature, are living labs where creativity and experimentation intersect with the precision of science. Districts are places that fan the flames of organic, evolutionary growth but also drive intentional, deliberate change.”
This perfectly describes what we have been doing here in Buffalo through MutualCity. MutualCity is a practical manual for urban change—from crafting a vision to managing the inevitable conflicts and challenges. We develop this playbook through the principles of mutual understanding, connection, action, collaboration, investment, adaptiveness, and continually asking “what if?”
We operate through a collaborative model that brings diverse stakeholders together under a shared vision to leverage opportunities and challenges faced by our community to create a better future for all. We have successfully implemented this model throughout the past 15 years. And while this process takes time and is not a silver bullet, we believe working together is the only way to enact real change.
We look forward to being a part of the new Global Institute, to both learn from our peers around the world and to continue to play a leadership role in building this vital and inspiring economic driver for our region.
BNMC’s Community Program Manager, Kyria Stephens, recently attended the National Diversity and Leadership conference in Dallas, TX. Check out his thoughts on the meaning of diversity and inclusion, and how it creates an innovative, collaborative community.
Diversity and Inclusion Drives Innovation
When you hear the words diversity and inclusion, what do you think? How do you define it? My answer sounded like, “creating environments and pathways for women and minority groups to thrive in the workplace?” But after attending National Diversity and Leadership conference in Dallas, Texas, I realize that answer is only the tip of the iceberg.
Yes, diversity and inclusion are about creating an emotionally safe work environment in which a person doesn’t have to check their ethnicity at the door to fit in with the dominate culture. Yes, D&I is about making sure that the workplace reflects what the world really looks like at every level. Yes, it is about equal pay for people who do the same job. Yes! Its about doing the right thing for all people… But as I sat and reflected on amazing workshops and poured over the notes I took from keynote speakers, Colin Powell, America Ferrera and President Barak Obama, I realized that diversity and inclusion at its core is about filling blind spots and gap with people with unique vantagepoints.
One of the phrases that echoed throughout the conference is that diversity is a fact, but inclusion is a choice. This world doesn’t have a problem with diversity! Just look around and you will see diversity because it hwp-contentens naturally when all people have access to a space. The problem we have is inclusion. The reason we have inclusion problems is most often because people naturally gravitate to people who look like, think and view the world the same as themselves. But, when that hwp-contentens our perspective becomes narrowed. A person’s ethnicity, culture, gender, education, past experiences and personality creates a unique lens that produces a different perspective. Diverse perspectives allow for a greater vision, a greater vision and creativity go hand in hand and where there is creativity there is innovation.
So, without D&I we are limiting growth, slowing advancement and hindering innovation!
BNMC’s Healthy Communities team attended the New England Farm to Institution Summit in Amherst, Mass. earlier this month to share how we’re creating a culture of health on the Medical Campus, and learn about other farm-to-institution programs across the country. We are excited to wp-contently some of these concepts to our own Farm-to-Hospital program here in Buffalo!
Congrats to R. Russ from Kaleida Health for winning the first $50 gift card to Homegrown Kitchen! There’s still time to complete the survey – share your thoughts with us today.
Here are some take-aways from Beth Machnica, our Healthy Communities Catalyst:
New England Farm to Institution Summit 2019: 5 Takeaways
There were many great lessons to be learned from attendees, presenters, exhibitors and others who participated in the 2019 New England Farm to Institution Summit. The Summit was held at University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA, where they are making strides in offering local, sustainable food. While we are highlighting our 5 takeaways below, there was one theme that came up often throughout the Summit – equity. We often forget about the people throughout the entire food system who make everything possible – from the people growing our food and caring for the land – to those processing our food, fishing our seas, moving the food to our stores and institutions, and serving the food in hospitals, schools, prisons and restaurants. We heard from Jose Oliva, the co-Director of the Food Chain Workers Alliance. According to Jose, there are over 20 million food chain employees, making it the largest employer, and unfortunately, they are some of the lowest paying jobs and in hazardous working conditions. While we consider all the other takeaways, working towards an equitable food system is something that we all need to challenge ourselves to work towards.
1. Invite farmers to campus cafeterias.
A best practice for any farm to institution project includes bringing the farmers, growers, and fishermen right to where the food is served. It links consumers eating the food with the individuals who handpicked it, connecting people with the food system and the person that grew the food on their plate. This can also be done on a regular basis through marketing materials highlighting specific farms, and telling stories of specific farmers and families. Coordinating field trips is great to build the link with staff and students, but bringing the farmer to campus allows many more to make the connection.
2. Hospitals have a lot to learn from prisons and jails.
Among the schools, hospitals, and universities attending this Farm to Institution conference were also prisons and jails. For correctional facilities involved in the farm to institution movement the benefits are greater than just supporting local farmers, the ag economy, and providing healthier foods: it’s about transformative healing. State prisons engage inmates in gardening, nutrition classes, food preparation, eating healthy on a low budget, and composting. These initiatives have a far greater purpose than simply promoting health or teaching in-demand job skills. They build self-efficacy, empowerment, and promote mental and emotional wellbeing among inmates. These initiatives can easily be translated into a clinical setting to promote healing and well-being among patients and caretakers.
3. Healthcare needs to take on an advocacy role in food policy.
Our Healthy Communities team learned how policy influences much more than just food safety in institutional settings. The Food Safety Modernization Act, a federal law, incentivizes local sourcing within 400 miles and promotes food chain transparency, both of which are goals for the Farm to Hospital Initiative that BNMC is leading locally. This law supports BNMC institutions in increasing their procurement of local food. It also demonstrates the critical position hospitals hold in influencing systems change through food policy to align with health and well-being programs.
4. Define “Local”.
Having a definition of what local means is essential to a successful farm to institution program. Does local mean within state boundaries? Within 250 miles? Within the 8 counties of Western New York? Having a set standard creates boundaries that will determine the rest of the project scope – what farmers are available to work with in the radius, what current distribution networks exit within the boundary, and if there is enough local volume of a variety of products to meet the demand. Looking beyond geography is important as well. Including local impact in your definition and assessment includes the WHY. Why are we focused on local? We want to impact our local economy, including local agriculture, and business.
5. We Learned about Hyper-Local Seafood.
Being located in New England, naturally the food served at the conference included seafood. What made it interesting was having lunch with the fisherman who caught the seafood we were eating and also learning about the local fishery economy in New England specifically. The type of fish the fishermen specialize in is dogfish, which is overabundant in New England yet Americans traditionally don’t eat because of its off-putting name. As a result, the majority of dogfish gets exported to Europe, and this utilizes more resources, is less environmentally sustainable, and the fishermen don’t know who the end-consumer is. When institutions in New England purchase the dogfish in the form of a breaded fish fillet to serve in hospitals, universities, and prisons, fishermen earn a fairer portion of the dollar for their work, it is more efficient, and the fishermen know who is eating their food.
BNMC Welcomed 450 People at 5th Annual Student Open House!
On Saturday, April 13th, we welcomed more than 450 people to the Campus for our 5thAnnual BNMC Student Open House! Attendees participated in a myriad of hands-on STEM activities, experienced behind-the-scene tours of our state-of-the-art facilities, and learned about career opportunities on the Medial Campus. We are thankful for our partners who participated in the event including, UB’s NYS Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics & Life Sciences, Hauptman-Woodward Institute, Jacobs Institute, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Oishei Children’s Hospital, Unyts, theCoderSchool Buffalo, UB Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, and UBMD Physicians’ Group. Several construction industry professionals and trades associations also joined us for the day.
Some of the activities highlighted:
- Scrubbing into laparoscopic surgery using the LapSim Virtual Training sustem at Roswell Park’s ATLAS Lab.
- Observing the process of preparing a kidney for transplant at Unyts
- Touring a new 800 sq. ft. operating room at Oishei Children’s Hospital (bunny suits and all!)
- Working alongside lab technicians and medical residents on laparoscopic trainers, orthopedic FAS simulators, and suturing at the UB Jacobs School of Medicine.
- Learning about crystals and how they are formed and used to study diseases at Hauptman-Woodward Institute
- Trying your skills at bio-art at UB’s NYS Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics & Life Sciences
And so much more! Check out the event photo album on Facebook to see it all.