Four Neighborhoods, One Community Receives Planning Award from American Planning Association

Four Neighborhoods, One Community was selected to receive the Outstanding Planning Award for Comprehensive Planning from the Western New York Section of the American Planning Association. Recognizing the planning efforts designed to create a collaborative partnership between City of Buffalo and the Fruit Belt, Downtown, and Allentown neighborhoods, the initiative integrates the shared vision of community leaders, residents, and business owners within the surrounding neighborhoods with the planning that takes place throughout the campus. These collaborative efforts are paving the way for the use of this initiative as a best-practice model as it continues to gain recognition.
“the Medical Campus is blessed to be surrounded by neighborhoods that are collaborative and active in shaping their future,” said Michael Ball, the Director of Planning and Implementation for the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc. “Four Neighborhoods, One Community will position Buffalo as a national model for how the Medical Campus as an urban campus and economic development engine can effectively develop and grow in conjunction with surrounding neighborhoods for the benefit of the greater community.”

Over 100 residents, business owners, employees, and community members gathered to discuss the changes they would like to see in their neighborhoods. As a strategic plan, Four Neighborhoods, One Community focuses on engagement that is designed to further integrate Medical Campus-wide planning efforts as well as those of the individual BNMC institutions with those occurring in the surrounding community.

It is the desire of all stakeholders involved that this initiative continues to produce tangible results as the dialogue moves forward identifying, addressing, resolving the issues that stifle economic development, neighborhood sustainability, and the improved health for all individuals that have connection to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and are in one of the near-by neighborhoods.

The outcome-goals manifesting from the planning include workforce development, streetscape improvements, increased transportation options, environmental sustainability changes, and policy improvements to help create healthy communities. The purpose of this initiative is not to keep growth within the Medical Campus, but to combine and improve resources in order that community goals might align with institutional goals to enhance the overall attractiveness of the City of Buffalo.


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.