The Buffalo Technology Enterpreneurs Conference is next Friday, June 27th at the Statler Ballroom. If you have any interest in finding out why Buffalo will not become a deserted ghost town in another generation, show your face and talk to some of the technology companies that are springing up in the area.
Many of the startups with which I’m familiar became startups in spite of politics, state regulations and the upstate economy. They did so because
- Western New York is a great place to build relationships
- Western New York is a great place to raise a family
- Western New York is a great place to live.
With the death of heavy industry and the aging (and departure) of the blue-collar employees that grew up with it, the Buffalo area has been evolving into a more opportunistic community and the rapidity by which Buffalo’s small business community has quietly grown and diversified in the past decade is remarkable. One obvious result is that recessionary impact is less today (and in 2001) than it was, say, in 1988-89. A national downturn in specific market niches has less overall impact locally because our economy is no longer largely dependent on that single niche. Manufacturing might have been the key to our greatness in the 50s and 60s, but dependence on it led to our downfall by the 80s. The business elements that make up our local economy today are collectively much more immune to changes in business climate and more capable of turning on a dime with the inevitable economic swings.
For years our community has stubbornly clung to the 1950’s and far too many people – from political leaders to everyday Joes on the street – still resist the changes that will make this area great. That attitude is slowly and finally giving way to understanding that entrepreneurial success is within anyone’s grasp.
So go to the show. You’ll learn a lot about where we’re heading and how we’ll get there.