Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Spotlight: Buffalo, NY


Buffalo, NY, named after the nearby Buffalo Creek, is New York’s second-largest city and perhaps the major connection point between the United States and Canada. Nicknamed “the City of Light” for its early adoption of electricity, that entrepreneurial and enterprising spirit carries on to this day.

Buffalo, NY, named after the nearby Buffalo Creek, is New York’s second-largest city and perhaps the major connection point between the United States and Canada. Nicknamed “the City of Light” for its early adoption of electricity, that entrepreneurial and enterprising spirit carries on to this day. In 2017, the city made Entrepreneur Magazine’s list “8 Cities Whose Entrepreneurship Communities Are Booming” as well as finishing 11th in a Citrex Solutions Inc. report of the best American cities for businesswomen.

And while Buffalo was 71st overall in WalletHub’s 2018 list of the best large to start a business, it did rank 8th overall in the “Business Costs” rank and was additionally ranked in the top 50 of another list by the same site, “2018’s Best & Worst Metro Areas for STEM Professionals.” Finally, a 2018 study conducted by LendingTree determined that the city has the nation’s second-youngest entrepreneurs on average, suggesting that the entrepreneurship scene has a bright future.

Based on these rankings, FundingSage has reviewed the resources that make up Buffalo’s entrepreneurial ecosystem:

Entrepreneurial Meetups:

By hosting several events per month, the 716 Entrepreneur Business Exchange supports entrepreneurs by allowing them to meet and connect with one another.

Startup Founder 101 is a networking group for technology entrepreneurs to meet, network, and help one another grow their companies.

The city is home to a branch of Girl Develop It, a company that runs a program to support women in development and coding.

Startup Grind’s holds monthly events designed to help educate and support entrepreneurs in the area.


Regular Entrepreneurial Events:

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership Chamber of Commerce hosts regular events, including the annual ATHENA Awards to recognize and celebrate women business leaders.

The city hosts Techstars Startup Weekend events, 54-hour conferences celebrating entrepreneurship and innovation, on an annual basis.

Hosted on Upstate Venture Connect’s website, the UNY Event Calendar lists a number of entrepreneurial events taking place in Upstate New York as a whole.

The Woman Up organization organizes conferences in Buffalo and the surrounding area to support women in business, entrepreneurship, and leadership positions.


Startup Competitions:

43North is an annual startup competition that gives out $5 million in prizes to businesses willing to relocate to Buffalo for at least 12 months.

The United Way of Buffalo and Erie County hosts Pitch 10, an annual competition that awards $10,000 grants to area nonprofits.

The University’s Blackstone LaunchPad organizes a number of business and entrepreneurship competitions for students.


Co-working Spaces:

The nonprofit dedicated to supporting game developers and designers offers access to a co-working space with the higher levels of their membership plans.

US itek, an IT support company, offers over 2,500 square feet of co-working space and individual workspace through Inception Buffalo.

The Innovation Center offers shared office space, wet labs, co-working space, and event space as part of their mission to support innovation and development in the area.


Maker spaces:

The Foundry incubator offers a maker space for work with textiles, wood, metal and technology.

The Buffalo & Erie County Public Library includes the Launch Pad, a small maker space with 3D printing, recording studios, and other crafts available.

UB’s Digital Manufacturing Lab offers 3D printing and other manufacturing services to students and faculty as well as other researchers and industry professionals.



Created by Launch NY, the Emerging Cleantech Opportunity Incubator supports early-stage cleantech startups.

The Foundry is a business incubator that provides working space, mentorship, and other services to grow startups in the area.

The University at Buffalo organizes a biosciences incubator program as well as a more general technology incubator.

Z80 Labs is a technology incubator program that focuses on Internet-based companies as well as some life sciences, greentech, and SaaS companies that meet certain criteria.



The Founder Institute, one of the largest accelerator programs in the world, has a program for startups from the area.

Launch NY is a venture development organization that runs a number of programs to fund and support startups throughout Upstate New York.



Cansius College offers both a major and minor in entrepreneurship, as well as several resources and programs outside of the classroom.

Students at Erie Community College can participate in the 30-hour entrepreneurship certificate program.

The University at Buffalo organizes a wide array of resources and programs available to entrepreneurial-minded students and faculty.


Angel Groups/VCs:

A division of the Western New York Venture Association, Buffalo Angels is a group that invests in promising early-stage startups.

OneTen does what they call Coalition Investing: in addition to providing capital to startups, OneTen works together with founders to help them grow their businesses.

Technically a Business Development Company rather than a venture capital firm, Rand Capital Corporation provides equity investments to early- and expansion-stage companies.


Entrepreneurial Newsletter Coverage:

The Chamber of Commerce offers a weekly e-newsletter covering business news and events in the area.

Buffalo Business First, the city’s primary business journal, offers newsletters covering the major headlines in the city and surrounding area’s business world.

Invest Buffalo Niagara, an organization dedicated to supporting business and entrepreneurial growth in the Buffalo-Niagara area, offers a newsletter.


Are you familiar with entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure in Buffalo, NY not included in the article above?  If so, let us know via a comment below and we will add it to the article. 

Interested in Ecosystem Spotlights of other cities in the USA?

Denver, CO ,Boston, MA,New York, NY

Quinn Pilkey

Quinn is a journalism major at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He also serves as a freelance author for Hashtag Basketball where he writes about the NBA's Charlotte Hornets and at FundingSage where he researches and writes about entrepreneurial ecosystems.