Episode 44: Power Is With The States

Talking Cities Episode 44: Power is with the States

Matt talks with New York State Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul about how humble beginnings with her very socially-conscious family pulled her toward public service at a very young age; her start in politics working with legendary Buffalonian Tim Russert and longtime Senator of New York Daniel Patrick Moynahan; her enthusiasm around Buffalo’s burgeoning tech scene as seen on the BNMC; and her pride in her role to support Governor Cuomo’s laser focus on bringing back upstate New York by turning upside the typical economic development model.

Lt. Gov. Hochul has been an elected official at the town, county, state, and federal levels, providing her with an extraordinarily unique perspective of how government can truly work for the people. She view her ability to find common issues to “cross the aisle” as a hallmark of her success in Washington. She notes the importance of collaboration among women of different parties to enact great positive change.

She is chairing the NYS Women’s Suffrage Commission and speaks passionately about encouraging everyone, especially women, to step up and take risks to do great things.

Listen now!


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.

BNMC Inc. & First Niagara Award Second Round of Seed Capital Accelerator Funds

DECEMBER 19, 2014
(716)218-7157, kbonaro@bnmc-old.local


BNMC Inc. & First Niagara Award Second Round of

Seed Capital Accelerator Funds


BUFFALO, NY – The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc. (BNMC Inc.) and First Niagara N.A. announced the second round of awardees for their Seed Capital Accelerator funds.

The recipients, GradFly and Buffalo CarShare, will use the funds to help improve the physical and economic health of the communities on and around the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

“Thanks to a continued partnership with First Niagara, we are able to help a new company GradFly, grow its business, and to continue to support our longtime partner, Buffalo CarShare as they add critical services for the community. This type of support complements the full array of resources we offer through Ignite, our business development office, that are designed to identify, evaluate, and support new business opportunities for the purpose of creating and incubating new companies and jobs in the Buffalo region,” said Vic Nole, director of new business development for the BNMC Inc.

“First Niagara is committed to enhancing and accelerating business development on and around the medical campus. We are proud to provide the resources and momentum needed to boost redevelopment in our City and help create jobs,” said Buford Sears, First Niagara Regional President, Western New York.

GradFly has been awarded a $10,000 loan to expand its strategy for creating collaborative online learning environments for academic and industry partners. GradFly is an online community where STEM students and professionals can create a portfolio to document and showcase their technical projects in a beautiful way.  These projects center around robotics, open source hardware and software, 3D printing, arduino, raspberry pi, drones, and similar technologies. Our members also use GradFly to find resources, talent, and example projects to help them with products or concepts they are trying to design.

“In our current state, we could easily enter several markets at once but we need to be strategic about how we enter each one,” said Oscar Pedroso, founder of Gradfly.  “Thanks to the BNMC/First Niagara Seed Accelerator funding, we will focus on refining our strategic plan to identify our most valuable target markets.”

Buffalo CarShare, a community-driven organization that advances affordable and environmentally friendly transportation, has been awarded an $8,000 loan to leverage a matching grant that will allow CarShare to purchase a wheel chair accessible van. The van allows Buffalo CarShare to expand its business model and provide additional services to elderly and disabled residents of our surrounding neighborhoods.

“Buffalo CarShare is excited to announce that we will be adding a wheelchair accessible van to our fleet, thanks to the BNMC/First Niagara accelerator funding. Through this addition, BCS now has the opportunity to launch a new program focused around transportation and mobility for the elderly and disabled community, aiming for a February 2015 launch,” said Michael Galligano, executive director of Buffalo CarShare. “Buffalo CarShare will soon expand the service to provide increased access for residents, patients, and other community members around the Medical Campus.”

The first two awardees of the funding were F Bites and Public Health Communications LLC. The BNMC Inc. is still accepting wp-contentlications on a rolling basis for the balance of the funding. For more information, visit bnmc-old.local/seedcapital.


About the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc.


The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc. (BNMC Inc.) is a self-sustaining social enterprise successfully combining innovation, job creation, and urban revitalization. It serves as the umbrella organization of the anchor institutions that make up the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus located within the 120-acre campus bordering Allentown, the Fruit Belt and Downtown. The BNMC Inc. fosters conversation and collaboration among its member institutions, its partners and the community to address critical issues impacting them, including entrepreneurship, energy, access and transportation, workforce and procurement, neighborhoods, and healthy communities, with the goal of increasing economic development and building a strong community. bnmc-old.local.




The Buffalo News: National foundations investing in Buffalo

The cooperation and recent track record of Buffalo’s economic development efforts has caught the eye of an unlikely source of investment capital: national charitable foundations.

Lured to the city by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, executives from several deep-pocketed nonprofits want to put their vast dollars to work in one of the nation’s most downtrodden cities as it undergoes what many see as a revival.

They say they are intrigued by the new sense of public and private-sector teamwork in the region, and are considering targeted investments in key projects to improve the economy and quality of life. The goal is to create conditions that encourage the growth of small businesses and jobs, so individuals and families can earn more money and accumulate wealth.

The foundations are eying the components of the regional economic development plan – such as technology manufacturing and medical research – as the mechanism to do it.

“We are very impressed with the cooperation and the intergovernmental and public-private partnerships that have already been developed in Buffalo and the surrounding area,” said Frank Altman, founder, president and CEO of the Community Reinvestment Fund (CRF), one of the national groups. “We just think there is a real opportunity to get behind that.”

The foundations want to invest from their core holdings in projects, businesses and initiatives, hoping to make a greater impact on the community. Projects may include building new and improved housing, fostering the creation of new jobs, training workers, supporting new businesses, and encouraging environmental and social initiatives.

Representatives of eight national foundations and three national investment firms gathered in Buffalo for a daylong summit in June with 50 attendees in all, and officials hope to build on that in the fall.

Specific opportunities that the Community Foundation is pitching include:

• Training programs for jobs that pay “family-sustaining” wages

• Investing in businesses in “economically distressed communities”

• Buying government bonds

• Investing in companies with “strong environmental records”

• Offering credit to a local land trust to buy land for preservation

• Buying and developing commercial or mixed-use properties in specific areas

Investors were particularly interested in the new Advanced Manufacturing Institute and companies participating in the 43North business plan competition, according to Community Foundation.

The foundations expect to earn enough on their investments to sustain their holdings.

“We’re a community that’s really on the move in terms of economic development, and these investors are coming to town to meet with local economic development leaders to begin the conversation of opportunities where they can put capital to work in the local community,” said Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker, president and CEO of the Community Foundation, which is spearheading the effort and coordinating the partners along with the F.B. Heron Foundation.

“It’s clearly about economic development, but it’s not about grants,” she said. “These foundations are coming in to look for opportunities in which they can invest their actual endowment.”

That would bring significantly more outside dollars into the community to leverage local money. And it could add to the national attention that Buffalo is gaining from the state’s Buffalo Billion economic development initiative, the growth of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and the University at Buffalo, and the surge in development.

“The word is getting out about Buffalo as an up-and-coming city and this is validation of that,” said Dottie Gallagher-Cohen, CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. “What I see with this is tremendous horsepower in capital.”

Broader focus

“Mission-related” or “impact” investing is a change for philanthropic organizations long focused on social, environmental and economic change through grants and donations. Philanthropic leaders have concluded that the challenges facing many communities and families are so serious they have to shift gears to make more of an impact.

“Poverty is not marginal anymore. It’s not if we help someone get access to a loan, they can buy a house. If they don’t have a job, having access to a loan is not good, and owning a house is not always good, either,” said Clara Miller, president of the $300 million F.B. Heron Foundation in New York, which seeks to address poverty and related issues through socially responsible investments.

“So we said maybe we should go farther down the food chain and say how can we intervene to make sure people have jobs,” she said.

Nonprofit charitable foundations are required by the Internal Revenue Service to spend at least 5 percent of their total return each year. Heron, for example, has provided a $1.5 million grant to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

“BNMC offers one of the most tangible and inclusive expressions of successful economic development and job creation in an ex-industrialized American city,” Heron says on its website. “Anchor institutions, the historically low income surrounding neighborhoods, and community groups are all at the table.”

The newer concept calls for charitable organizations to invest their core endowment directly in communities, seeking investments that will generate social or environmental benefits, and still provide market-rate or near-market-rate returns. That could include support for job-training or job-creation initiatives, funding a “green” economy, small business financing or loan guarantees, private-equity stakes in companies, or investments in stock, bonds or even commercial and residential real estate development.

“This is very new to our community, this whole concept,” Dedecker said. “It’s a powerful opportunity for our community at this time.”

Besides Community Foundation, Heron of New York City and Minneapolis-based CRF, participants include Florida-based Community Capital Management, New York-based National Development Council, EKO, Hitachi Foundation of Washington, D.C., the Kresge Foundation of Detroit and George Soros’ Open Society Foundation of New York. Ford Foundation, MacArthur Foundation and New Island Capital have also been contacted.

The organizations have engaged in similar work in cities across the country, including Chicago, Boston and Cleveland, and their focus ranges from jobs and business development to the environment and housing.

For example, besides grants, Heron also has issued loans, bought debt or made private-equity investments in businesses and communities through funds in California, the San Francisco Bay Area, northwest Louisiana, Boston, New Hampshire and the Appalachian region. Another nonprofit that is not involved here, the Minneapolis Foundation, provided a $1 million working capital loan fund through another nonprofit to enable minority- and women-owned businesses to participate in the construction of a new football stadium for the Vikings.

“The for-profit sector looks for places that are already on the way up and make a lot of money from doing that. The philanthropic sector has a different model,” said Mark Popovich, vice president of programs at Hitachi Foundation, which focuses on quality job creation and career advancement, particularly in health care and advanced manufacturing, and on entrepreneurship. “We’re looking at places that aren’t the most vibrant economic communities, because that’s where the opportunities exist to invest with local investors to support change.”


. (2014  August 24). National foundations investing in Buffalo. The Buffalo News. Retrieved from  http://www.buffalonews.com/city-region/national-foundations-investing-in-buffalo-20140824

First Niagara Announces $500,000 Business Development Fund to Highlight Company’s $4.0 Million Investment in Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus

— Bank will make funds available to boost community development and encourage small business creation and growth, including $100,000 in funding that has yet to be distributed —

First Niagara President and CEO Gary Crosby today announced the bank is providing $500,000 in funding for start-up businesses and community redevelopment initiatives on or near the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC). First Niagara has committed $500,000, of which $400,000 has been designated to date.

The balance of First Niagara’s investment, $100,000, will be awarded to area not-for-profit or other potential partner organizations being sought to administer the funds to entrepreneurs and start-ups on the BNMC and in the surrounding Fruit Belt, Allentown and West Side neighborhoods. Local organizations already designated to administer funding from First Niagara include:

  • Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc. – $100,000 to support entrepreneurs it assists through its business development office on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus
  • Buffalo Urban League – $100,000 loan fund for minority and women owned start-up businesses on or around the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus
  • University at Buffalo Office of Economic Development – $100,000 for start-up business on or around the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus that sell goods and services outside the region or for companies that directly support the Medical Campus community
  • Westminster Economic Development Initiative – $100,000 to support its microloan program targeting West Side businesses, including assistance to immigrant and refugee entrepreneurs through its West Side Bazaar business incubator

“First Niagara is committed to being at the forefront of the renaissance taking place in Western New York and on and around the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus,” said Buford Sears, First Niagara Buffalo Market Executive. “We are proud to enhance and accelerate the development of the Campus and support the innovation and growth taking place there. We are committed to the revitalization of this section of our community that will soon become a world recognized leader in life sciences research, medical education and healthcare services.”

The First Niagara Foundation has provided vital support for not-for-profit entities on and around the Campus for many years.  First Niagara’s investment in the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and surrounding area, since 2009, has totaled $4.0 million.

“First Niagara continues to demonstrate a real commitment to actively being a part of Buffalo’s growth,” said Congressman Brian Higgins. “The Business Development Fund will provide local small businesses with the sought after resources to help new companies get off the ground and take existing ones to the next level.  This investment in the Medical Campus helps sustain momentum along the growing corridor and provides quality job opportunities for local residents.”

Organizations interested in wp-contentlying to administer the remaining $100,000 in grant funds to entrepreneurs looking to start-up businesses on or around the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus should contact Tony Alessi, Director, First Niagara Specialized Banking Operations and Support Services, at 716-819-5549 or tony.alessi@fnfg.com.

For more details on how the selected organizations will allocate their funds, please log on to www.firstniagara.com/BusinessDevelopmentFund


About First Niagara

 First Niagara, through its wholly owned subsidiary, First Niagara Bank, N.A., is a multi-state community-oriented bank with wp-contentroximately 410 branches, $38 billion in assets, $28 billion in deposits, and wp-contentroximately 5,800 employees providing financial services to individuals, families and businesses across New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts. For more information, visit www.firstniagara.com.For more information, visit www.firstniagara.com.

Business Development is Buzzing on the BNMC

Ideas are being tested, perfected, and implemented every day here on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. Innovators and entrepreneurs from all over the world are choosing to be in the heart of Buffalo, advancing products and technologies here at the Medical Campus. The BNMC continues to grow, creating an environment where a variety of life sciences, biotech, energy, and related support companies can interact with world class researchers and product developers.
We can help with all stages of company development, from “ideation” in our brand new co-work space called “d!g”, a collaborative space with mentors to help take your idea to the next level, to “incubation” in the Innovation Center, a mixed use space with nearly 60 companies that includes wet labs, offices, conference rooms, and light manufacturing bays. We also have plans to bring a new business accelerator online in the next few months. Our director of business development, Vic Nole can help you determine what space would be most wp-contentropriate for your company, and help you to connect to valuable business services and resources.

One of our goals at the BNMC is to help promote “purposeful collisions.” This includes encouraging researchers, physicians, administrators, nurses, business people, and community members to connect and interact through the projects designed to enhance our buildings, streetscapes, workforce, and social environment. Please join us at one of our many networking events to learn how you can “come grow with us.”

Upcoming events:

Governor Cuomo Unveils Major Economic Development Initiative

Governor Cuomo Unveils Major Economic Development Initiative to Transform University Communities into Magnets for New Businesses and Investment

Under Tax-Free NY, Any New Business Will Be Able to Operate Tax Free on a SUNY Campus for Ten Years

Albany, NY  (May 22, 2013)

Press Release

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today unveiled “Tax-Free NY,” a game-changing initiative that will transform SUNY campuses and university communities across the state into tax-free communities that attract start-ups, venture capital, new business, and investments from across the world.

Tax-Free NY will entice companies to bring their ventures to Upstate New York by offering new businesses the opportunity to operate completely tax-free – including no income tax for employees, no sales, property or business tax – while also partnering with the world-class higher education institutions in the SUNY system.

“Over the past two years we have cut middle class tax rates to their lowest rates in sixty years, cut taxes for small businesses, while at the same time investing like never before in our institutions of higher education,” Governor Cuomo said. “With unemployment at its lowest in years and more private sector jobs in New York than ever before, we are beginning to see the results of our efforts. Tax-Free NY will supercharge our efforts to grow our economy by transforming localities in Upstate New York into virtual tax-free communities for new businesses and new jobs. Under Tax-Free NY, communities across Upstate will become a magnet for new businesses, new startups, new venture capital, and new jobs, taking our economic development and job creating efforts to a level never seen before.”

Temporary President of the New York State Senate Dean G. Skelos said, “The most important thing we can do is provide more jobs for New Yorkers so they can provide for their families. This initiative has the potential to make New York more economically competitive, help us attract businesses from other states and grow our economy for the future. The solution to so many of the concerns we face is the need for more jobs, and I believe that we should spend the rest of the legislative session working to cut taxes to reduce the cost of doing business so we can empower the private sector and create new jobs.”

Senate Majority Coalition Co-Leader Jeffrey D. Klein said, “In order to compete in today’s hyper-competitive global marketplace, we need to continually develop bold and creative ideas to attract the best and fastest growing companies. Tax free zones are the next frontier in this effort. These zones hold the potential to provide jobs and upward mobility to thousands of unemployed and underemployed New Yorkers while building a brighter economic future for communities across our state.”

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, “Our colleges, universities and community colleges are New York’s greatest competitive advantage and should be the engines that drive our job-creation efforts. Through the Tax Free New York Program, we will transform vacant campus space and land into new jobs and all of the related opportunities that spring up around areas of economic activity. Using the world-class College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering as a model, this program will enhance the academic missions of our colleges and universities, ensure that local graduates can find rewarding opportunities at home, and promote the advancement of emerging technologies.”

SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher said, “The Governor has said many times that SUNY is the economic engine for New York, and these new tax free zones will further our campus’ ability to innovate, create jobs, and attract new companies through public private partnerships. I want to thank the governor for supporting SUNY and for continuing to raise the bar for higher education in New York State.”

Tax-Free NY includes:

  • Tax-Free Communities: All SUNY campuses outside of New York City and designated private colleges north of Westchester will be tax free (no sales, property, or business/corporate taxes). Up to 200,000 square feet surrounding the campus will included in the tax-free community.
  • Employees Exempt from Income Taxes: Employees of businesses that open in Tax-Free NY communities will be exempt from paying income taxes.
  • Additional 3 Million Sq. Ft in Commercial Space at Private Universities: Under Tax-Free NY, 3 million sq. ft. in commercial space will be available at New York’s private universities and twenty strategic state assets will also be designated tax-free.
  • Businesses Eligible for Tax-Free NY: Eligible businesses include companies with a relationship to the academic mission of the university and companies creating new jobs, including new businesses, out-of-state businesses that relocate to New York and existing businesses that expand their New York operations while maintaining their existing jobs.

SUNY’s 64 campuses are located in all corners of New York State, and most New Yorkers live near a SUNY campus:

  • 93% of New Yorkers live within 15 miles of a SUNY campus
  • 97% of New Yorkers live within 20 miles of a SUNY campus
  • 100% of New Yorkers live within 30 miles of a SUNY campus

To find a nearby SUNY campus, visit New York’s transparency website at Open.ny.gov:
Map of campuses: https://data.ny.gov/d/cfb3-a8v8
Dataset: https://data.ny.gov/d/3cij-nwhw

Tax-Free NY continues the Governor’s work to reverse New York State’s reputation as the “tax capital” of the nation. Since taking office, the Governor has cut middle class tax rates to their lowest rates in 60 years, enacted the state’s first-ever property tax cap, eliminated or greatly reduced the MTA payroll tax for nearly 300,000 small businesses, and provided middle class families with a child tax credit.

Since taking office, the Governor has focused on growing New York’s economy, particularly in Upstate NY, where decades of decline and decay have taken their toll. In this year’s State of the State address, the Governor expanded on his economic agenda with a focus on innovation. Building on his successful Regional Economic Development Councils and NY SUNY2020, the Governor launched the Innovations Hot Spots Program and created a $50 million Venture Capital fund to help bring to market the technological innovations born at New York State’s internationally renowned research institutions.

Tax-Free NY will replicate the economic success of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) in the Capital Region. By partnering with the University at Albany and the State, CNSE grew to become not only a preeminent research college for nanoscale technology, it also attracted billions of dollars in private sector investment, transforming the Capital Region into the international epicenter of the commercial nano-industry. Modeled on this success, Tax-Free NY will entice potential start-ups to bring their new business ventures here to Upstate New York, where they will benefit from resources offered by partnering with higher education institutions as well as the ability to do their business completely tax-free for a decade.

“The groundbreaking Tax-Free NY initiative further demonstrates Governor Andrew Cuomo’s strategic vision and bold leadership in establishing New York as the epicenter of the global nanotechnology industry,” said Dr. Alain Kaloyeros, Senior Vice President and CEO of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering. “This pioneering initiative builds on the Governor’s success in harnessing the power of education and innovation to attract jobs, companies and investment from the leading high-tech companies around the world, and in the process, creates exciting career and business opportunities for New Yorkers.”


Private Sector Investment on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus

Post from Buffalo Niagara Enterprise Blog: Development Discussions
By Alan Rosenhoch, Business Development Manager, Buffalo Niagara Enterprise

Conventus redering by Kideney Architects

Conventus rendering by Kideney Architects

Conventus (Latin for “coming together”) is a brand new seven-story medical building being developed by Ciminelli Real Estate Corporation at the northern gateway of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC). Designed to be a center for collaborative medicine, it will be anchored by Kaleida Health and UBMD. Ciminelli expects to open the building in the spring of 2015.

I had the opportunity to ask the President and CEO of Ciminelli Real Estate Corporation, Paul F. Ciminelli, a few questions:

Q: You recently began site preparation work on the Conventus project; what does this project represent for the BNMC and the region’s life sciences industry?

A: There are two aspects of this project that represent major milestones in the development of the Medical Campus. First of all, Conventus is the first significant private investment on the campus, which is indicative of our strong commitment to the BNMC and our belief in its vision. Private dollars send a strong message to our community and to other markets that the Campus is a viable initiative and worth the investment.

Secondly, Conventus’ adjacency and physical connections to the new Children’s Hospital and the new UB School of Medicine, is groundbreaking in its collaborative wp-contentroach to the needs of the patients, physicians, researchers and students. Coupled with its location at the northern gateway to the Campus, Conventus facilitates a seamless connection among all of the major medical-related facilities at the northern end.

Q: How much space will be taken by the two anchor tenants, Kaleida and UBMD, and how much space will remain for future tenants?

A: Kaleida will occupy wp-contentroximately 85,000 sq. ft. on the 2nd and 3rd floors, which are the floors where connections will be made to Children’s and the Medical School, as well space on the ground floor for their Blood Draw and Pharmacy. UBMD will occupy 60,000 sq. ft. on the 4th floor and a portion of the 5th floor. A major regional bank will occupy a portion of the ground floor as well. Based on the inquiries we have had to date, we expect to have tremendous interest in the remaining square footage, and that full occupancy will be achieved quickly.

Q: What types of tenants are you seeking for the balance of space? For what type of company would you consider Conventus to be ideal space?

A: As with all of our projects, we will identify potential tenants that are synchronous with the existing tenant base and with the overall vision of the Campus. We refer to Conventus as a “center for collaborative medicine” because of the multiple disciplines that will be housed in and facilitated by our physical connections to the Hospital and UB’s School of Medicine. We look forward to accommodating clinical, educational, practical and research components at Conventus, as well as other healthcare-related tenants.

Q: You are targeting LEED Gold Certification for this project; why is sustainable design, building elements and operation so important to Ciminelli?

A: In 2008, Ciminelli made a commitment to pursue LEED certification with all of our projects going forward because of our commitment to minimizing our environmental footprint and to developing high-performing buildings. From an ownership standpoint, it has a definite positive impact on the long-term operating efficiencies of the building. From a tenant’s perspective, LEED certification translates to a healthier, more efficiently run environment in which to work. It’s a win-win.

Q: Conventus is not planned to be a one-shot project for Ciminelli on the BNMC; what else do you have on the drawing board for the near and long-term future?

A: The core of our business is being able to see the big picture; the ability to put pieces of a puzzle together and create synergies within every development project we undertake. This is what our company does best, and why we are committed to supporting the BNMC’s vision. We have purchased additional property at 33 High Street directly across from Conventus and Children’s Hospital and adjacent to UB’s site for the Medical School in anticipation of continued growth. As things continue to evolve on the Campus and we see possibilities for future needs there, we will pursue strategic developments to support those needs.

Q: Plans call for Conventus to connect to the Allen Street NFTA Metro Rail station; how does this fit into your overall plan to connect different parts of the region?

A: Ciminelli is a strong proponent of transit-oriented development, as evidenced by our two current projects under construction: Bethune Lofts (Main Street and Hertel Avenue), and Conventus. Developing along our transit lines facilitates connectivity among vibrant areas of Buffalo Niagara such as the UB South Campus University District, the Hertel Avenue district, the Medical Campus and Canalside. As it stands today, the NFTA Metro Rail station will be connected to the new UB School of Medicine at Allen Street. It should be noted that, while there is a connection from that building to Conventus, its use will be somewhat restricted.

Q: Conventus represents the first significant for-profit private sector-led development on the BNMC; what makes your company so bullish on the future of the campus?

A: Ciminelli has owned property on the Campus for 20 years, so we’ve been a part of it since its early stages. We saw things begin to evolve as the plan was rolled out. We’ve seen similar models succeed in cities of comparable size and demographics to Buffalo, so we knew it could work here, especially with it being so close to our Central Business District and being on a main transit line. All of the components were there; all it needed to take it to the next level was significant private sector investment. We were the first, but we know we won’t be the only ones. Additional private sector support will hwp-contenten on and around the Campus.

“My life works in Buffalo Niagara because of the tremendous quality of life we have in a relatively low-cost environment, the great educational institutions that supply a talented workforce, and because of the friendliness of its people. I love it here!”

– Paul F. Ciminelli

State and Private Sector Investment on BNMC to Create 250 Jobs for Region

Today, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York will invest $50 million in state of the art biomedical research equipment and facilities, and has secured an agreement from a private company, Albany Molecular Research Inc. (AMRI), to locate on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus a new drug discovery research and development center. This investment, $35 million of which will go towards new equipment and $15 million of which will go towards improving existing lab space, will leverage $200 million in private investments and create 250 jobs. More details on this development as well as the Buffalo Billion Investment Development Plan can be found here.  http://www.governor.ny.gov/press/12042012-buffalo-billion-investment-plan.
Wondering how this investment model really works? Fahreed Zakaria from CNN’s “Global Lessons: Putting America to Work” recently highlighted how this model was successful in Albany, where New York State invested in core infrastructure and equipment as an incentive to attract private sector companies. Watch the video here – http://www.cnse.albany.edu/Files/Downloads/Video%20Clips/CNNGlobalCrisp6.mov.

Read coverage about the  announcement below:

Announcements show Cuomo’s commitment to WNY

Cuomo, $50 million bring Albany firm, 250 jobs to Medical Campus

Cuomo Touts Drug Company’s 250 Jobs for Medical Campus

$50M biomedical facility planned for Buffalo

WTCBN Receives Funds to Help Increase Medical Device Trade Between WNY Manufacturers and China

The World Trade Center of Buffalo Niagara (WTCBN), a local not-for-profit international business development organization helping to facilitate regional growth through global trade, has received nearly $682,000 to help increase medical device trade between Western New York (WNY) manufacturers and China. In that pot of money is $218,000 from the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Through a program that will be  administered over a three-year time period, WTCBN and partners that work with medical device companies will enhance trade relations knowledge to place devices in one of the largest populace nations in the world. Partners include the University at Buffalo’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, The Buffalo Niagara Partnership, MedTech, the Jacobs Institute and the Department of Commerce, in addition to others who assist and house medical device companies.

“This three-year project will serve as a template for a greater regional export strategy,” said Chris Johnston, president of WTCBN. Johnston also stated that it will be “a great opportunity for collaboration among various groups, including the federal, state and regional government, with local organizations such as the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, UB and World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara, which will maximize the benefits for Western New York companies.”

The Accelerating Upstate New York’s Competitiveness and Exports in the Global Economy program will offer training and expertise to least 40 local manufacturers, teaching them how to navigate Chinese import laws, how to effectively market their products in China and the logistics of shipping goods there. They will also provide access to export loans and credit insurance. An estimated $25 million could come from Chinese contracts over a four-year period, leading to the creation of  hundreds of  jobs in this area.

At a roundtable discussion moderated by Congresswoman Kathy Hochul, New York’s 26th Congressional District Representative, companies had the opportunity to ask questions and receive feedback on how to identify and capitalize on new medical device markets, and to learn more about the program. Congresswoman Hochul said the program is “a critical step toward opening new markets, fostering innovation, and expanding manufacturing right here at home. Meaningful investment in Western New York’s medical device industry and work force will help add good-paying, sustainable jobs to our local economy.” The discussion served as an indicator of the collaboration and knowledge-sharing between experts and companies that is soon to come.

Congresswoman Hochul also said “It is vital that we continue to work to ensure our local businesses have the resources necessary to expand and reach new global markets.” With over $1.9 trillion in exportation of goods and services in 2011, China is currently the largest exporting country in the world. Efforts to increase the importation of medical devices made from the U.S., more so in the WNY region to China, will undeniably generate revenue increases for many local companies.

The U.S. Commerce Secretary, Rebecca Blank, stated that “The awards given by the Commerce Department’s Market Development Cooperator Program will help us continue to make progress toward achieving the President Obama’s goal of doubling exports by the end of 2014. Higher exports lead to more jobs: in 2011, jobs supported by exports increased by 1.2 million over 2009.”

The Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc.’s COO, Patrick J. Whalen stated that “the Department of Commerce grant will showcase the assets in Western New York to medical device companies around the world, and we look forward to working together to help existing companies succeed and grow.”

While WNY is home to nearly 250 medical equipment manufacturers and medical research centers, WTCBN reports that an overwhelming majority of the companies export their goods to the one country it is closest to which is Canada. Past innovations from the region include the implantable pacemaker, the Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test, photodynamic therapy (used to treat malignant cancers), and multiple sclerosis therapy.

The inaugural session of the 2012-13 Life Sciences Commercialization Lecture Series will present an opportunity for local companies to learn more about the program. The session will take place on Thursday, September 27 from 4-5 p.m. at the New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences located at 701 Ellicott Street. For more information and to register for the event, click here.

Networking and Investor Support for Early-Stage Companies

Early-stage, high-tech companies had the opportunity to network with angel investors and venture capitalists, along with other business professionals who can offer resources and advice on how to take their companies to the next level at the 2012 Venture Forum presented by a SmartStart/UNYTECH and Bright Buffalo Niagara partnership. Angel investors are enthusiastically encouraging emerging businesses on the cusp of industry advancements. Because many early-stage companies are high-risk, gaining the financial capital necessary to compete and grow is not always an easy task to accomplish.

As angel investors and venture capitalists invest their money, time, and talents in companies that have the most potential to succeed and grow, entrepreneurs can take comfort in knowing that there are people who believe in the business they have started and where it can ultimately go. With high-return-on-investment expectations, investors had the opportunity to see 32 unique presentations that introduced them to great business opportunities that can help enhance their portfolios.

With a keynote address from Victor Thorne, the director of the Ohio TechAngel Funds entitled “Building an Innovation-based Entrepreneurial Ecosystem,” start-ups and angel investors received insight about how the Ohio TechAngels work.

Presentations included multiple 10-minute pitches, and 1-minute pitches as well, highlighting each company’s specialty, market research, potential for growth, and investment opportunities. Awards were give to the companies with the most potential to be funded, for the best presentation, and for the most promising technology. Overall, it was a great turnout.

For more information about investment resources in the region, visit Western New York Venture Association.