AMHERST, NY - The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council met Thursday and for the first time released its full report on the Buffalo Billion Investment Development Plan (Billion 2 Buffalo).
The 60-page report, which the council says will serve as a road-map for implementation of the Billion 2 Buffalo program (and which you can read for yourself here) includes a market analysis, stakeholder interviews, and best practices which led the council to establish six "signature investable initiatives".
They are described in a press release as:
Buffalo Center for Manufacturing Innovation: a state-of-the-art facility to support the growth of the region's manufacturing sector. It will be a shared services enterprise that provides support in commercializing applied research, developing more efficient operational processes, enabling entry into new markets, and up-skilling the existing workforce.
The Buffalo Science Productivity and Research Catalyzer (SPaRC): to help bring breakthrough healthcare innovations to market. The Accelerator supports researchers in developing translational research, acquiring patents, and then licensing those patents or developing them into businesses.
- Buffalo Niagara Tourism Program: a regional tourism program to leverage the world-class tourism assets in Niagara Falls and the City of Buffalo through a more coordinated and sophisticated marketing strategy; investments and increased programming in the Niagara State Park; investments in other regional tourism assets and amenities; and the creation of regional offerings.
- The Buffalo Skills Partnership: a skills broker with initial investments in Rapid Right Skilling. The partnership will make Buffalo's workforce system the most flexible, diverse and responsive in the nation by aligning education and training behind the skills employers need to expand and workers need for job success.
- Buffalo Breakthrough Business Challenge: a world-class business plan competition to catalyze the region's entrepreneurial ecosystem. Winners will receive initial funding, incubator space, mentorship and introductions to leading venture capital firms.
- Better Buffalo Fund: to make targeted investments through a dedicated fund to support high impact economic and community development projects. A competition will determine the best investments, based on overall strategic fit, impact, proven capacity for execution and commitment of additional funds.
In the coming weeks, implementation committees will be formed with area stakeholders and council members, in an effort to herd the process further, according to the council.
"There are going to be people who think we should just throw something against the wall and maybe turn things around in a day," said Howard Zemsky, Co Chair of the WNY Regional Economic Development Council. "It's not possible. We get one opportunity at a billion dollar commitment and we had better put forward a very thoughtful, thoroughly analyzed approach."
Zemsky summarized the importance of developing just the right strategies by telling WGRZ-TV, "If we don't take extra time and care in planning (our approach), we will have squandered the best opportunity this region's had, since the opening of the Erie Canal."