LNG program will bring energy to New York’s economy

The Partnership is proud to announce that we can cross another one of our top priorities off the do-list list. Earlier this week, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) finally outlined its program to allow the construction and operation of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facilities in New York.

For far too long, New York has been the only state in the country without an LNG program, forcing New Yorkers to miss out on the real economic opportunity that LNG offers.

The Partnership has been pushing the DEC to finalize its LNG regulations for the last three years as a top economic development item on our Regional Agenda.

In fact, the Partnership is a founding member of the LNG for NY Coalition – a group of business, environmental and health advocacy groups united in the common belief that LNG is good for New Yorkers.

With this weeks’ announcement by the DEC, New York is now finally open to the economic, health and environmental benefits of LNG.

The dispensing and storage of LNG in New York will help the trucking industry take better advantage of cheaper and cleaner fuel.

highwayMany of America’s top companies, including Partnership members, are in the process of transitioning their fleets to operate on natural gas. Businesses making the switch include UPS, Verizon, FedEx and AT&T.

Using natural gas as transportation fuel helps companies control costs, considering that natural gas is significantly less expensive than traditional transportation fuels, even at today’s lower fuel prices.

However, the economic opportunities of a LNG program in New York go beyond the benefits to the trucking industry.

LNG in New York will spur the creation of thousands of jobs (from manufacturing jobs to construction and station operator jobs) as firms work to support these newly developed infrastructure needs.

With storage and dispensing facilities in New York, we will no longer miss out on the economic benefits that come with contributing to the LNG supply chain.

LNG is both clean and safe, and will not only be a boost to New York’s economy, but its environment.

LNG emission levels are far lower than traditional vehicle fuels, including the reduction of Carbon Monoxide (CO) and particulate matter by as much as 90 percent. Encouraging the use of LNG over gasoline and diesel fuel promotes the use of abundant domestic energy sources, and will help curb our nation’s dependency on foreign oil.

The Partnership commends the DEC for finalizing its LNG permitting program. We look forward to continuing to work with state leaders to remove barriers for businesses and increase our region’s economic competitiveness.

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Governor Cuomo’s 2015 Proposed Budget: Our stance

The legislative session is in full swing in Albany and The Partnership is pleased to present our take on Governor Cuomo’s budget proposal.

The information below is not a comprehensive review of the Governor’s proposals, but rather a targeted look at issues that are of key interest to the Partnership and its membership:

$1.5B for Upstate Investment: The Partnership knows first-hand the direct impact the ‘Buffalo Billion’ is having on our local economy.

We support the Governor’s proposal to concentrate state resources on other struggling areas to our east, with the goal of improving the overall economic vitality of Upstate New York.

The work in Buffalo Niagara, however, is far from finished. We hope the Governor will continue to keep a focus on Western New York. New York State must remain a committed partner in the rebuilding of our region.

Property Tax Relief: We applaud the Governor’s commitment to making the 2% Property Tax Cap permanent. The cap has been critical to keeping local property taxes from climbing and controlling local spending.

The Partnership has strong concerns that the Governor’s ‘circuit breaker’ program will shift the burden of high property taxes from residential taxpayers to commercial property owners.

HealthNow Building built on a former BCP site

HealthNow Building built on a former BCP site

True property tax relief should be across the board and will only be achieved when the Property Tax Cap is tied to meaningful mandate reform to address the true drivers of high property taxes.

Brownfield Cleanup Program: The Partnership is a leading voice in the fight for a long-term Brownfield Cleanup Program and we applaud the Governor for including one in his budget plan.

This program has been a tremendous success locally – from local manufacturers expanding their plants to rebuilding downtown Buffalo one building at a time.

We are working to make sure the new restrictions in the Governor’s proposal, aimed at curbing abuse downstate, do not blunt the incredible impact the current program has had in Buffalo Niagara.

Infrastructure Investment: The Governor is smartly dedicating a large portion of the state’s recent settlement funds to address critical infrastructure needs across the state.

The Partnership is disappointed that– at first pass – it appears most of that funding is earmarked for downstate. Like most of the state, Western New York’s roads, bridges, water treatment facilities and other vital infrastructure are in dire need of repair.

The Partnership will be pushing for budget amendment to fund local priority projects. The Governor’s plan to use some of this funding to freeze Thruway tolls for one year is welcome news for drivers, but more needs to be done to address the systemic issues with the finances of the Thruway Authority.

april 23 blog photo of carsSmall Business Tax Reduction: Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and we must do everything we can to encourage small business owners to invest in their business and hire additional employees.

As designed, the Governor’s proposal for small business tax reduction will actually impact far too few small businesses to be effective, as most small business owners file personal income tax and are not corporate franchises. 

The Governor and Legislature need to work together the lower taxes for all small businesses regardless of size.

Minimum Wage Hike: Small business tax relief is essential, especially in light of the Governor’s call to increase the state’s minimum wage again by the end of 2016. Buffalo Niagara employers are still realizing the effects of the most recent minimum wage increase.

Roswell Park Funding: The governor’s proposed budget calls for a $15M reduction in funding for Roswell Park Cancer Institute. The Partnership fully supports Roswell as a major regional employer and driver of growth at the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

RPCI

Roswell Park

We continue to push the Governor and the State Legislature to maintain funding for Roswell or give it the flexibility it needs to control employee costs.

Education Reform: The Partnership endorses the Governor’s education reform proposals to ensure all New York students receive the education they need to succeed. There is no doubt the education of our children is directly tied to the economic development of our communities.

We remain hopeful the Governor will apply this same aggressive and comprehensive approach to the long needed tax and regulatory reforms so critical to truly helping New York businesses grow and thrive.

We will keep you posted on the New York State budget issues.

In the meantime, we invite you to read our regional agenda for this session, participate in our Legislative luncheon in February, or join us on a road trip to Albany for Buffalo Niagara Night.

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Real estate and development fuels downtown’s rebirth

During the past decade, downtown Buffalo’s real estate market has been reflective of the region’s upward trajectory.

Three years ago, with the critical importance of downtown in mind, the city of Buffalo and the Partnership released the Buffalo Building Reuse Project (BBRP), a coordinated strategy for rejuvenating downtown’s sagging commercial real estate market.

Hotel Lafayette

Hotel Lafayette

The fundamental goal of this effort was to target under-performing commercial spaces and transition them to new uses, such as residential and tourist facilities.

This was accomplished by improving the physical conditions of downtown’s buildings to make them more inviting and livable.

The Partnership has worked closely with the city, Buffalo Urban Development Corporation and other downtown stakeholders to create a master plan for infrastructure which will funnel investments into our streets and public spaces.

We are seeing the coordinated efforts paying off, as downtown’s resurgence as a residential district is well documented.

During the past ten years, the number of housing units in downtown has more than doubled to about 1,400 total units. As we stand today, an additional 400 units are planned or under construction.

The shifting of downtown’s real estate market is, perhaps, even more pronounced in the hotel market.

Hotel construction has been booming in recent years, beginning with the Embassy Suites at the Avant and the Hotel Lafayette, and continuing with the Courtyard Marriott and the Hilton Garden Inn, which opened in the end of 2014.

Hilton garden hotel

Hilton Garden Hotel

Additional projects include a full-service Marriott at the $170 million HarborCenter development at Canalside; Uniland Development is incorporating a nationally-flagged hotel into the Delaware North Companies headquarters; developer Mark Croce is converting the Curtiss building into a high-end boutique hotel; and the Trico project is expected to incorporate two national hotels.

Questions have surrounded whether the market, once under-served by hotels, is now becoming over saturated.

However, the data suggests otherwise. According to a study done this past spring, Buffalo’s hotel occupancy rate of 67.3 percent is still above the national average of 63.8 percent, despite the new units coming online.

Regional developers interested in building hotels in the city are looking to build upon the momentum generated by emerging attractions such as the Medical Campus, Canalside and HarborCenter.

Medical Campus during construction (taken August 2014)

Medical Campus during construction (taken August 2014)

Nevertheless, we still have more work to do in order to make downtown a more attractive and functional place for real estate and developments.

By working together, we can make the next decade the time in which we establish a more complete, well-rounded city experience.

In order to do this, we must ramp up our investments in our public realm.

If we want a downtown that is attractive (with lifestyle amenities and easy mobility,) it is imperative that we build first class public spaces, street-scape and transportation infrastructure.

Once the Downtown Buffalo Infrastructure & Public Realm Master Plan is released, we will be prepared to dive into implementation with financing and creative partnerships between the public and private sectors.

To learn more about the Partnership’s initiatives impacting downtown, or to find out how you can get involved with our target industry initiatives, contact me.

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Volunteering: why it’s important to our employees

Our team at the Partnership is extremely committed to the success of the Buffalo Niagara region. Not only does it show in their day-to-day work, but also in how they spend their free time.

We want to share their work as a way to showcase our community involvement and let you know of the additional ways, outside of the office, that you can connect with our staff on a personal level:

Liz headshot

Elizabeth Callahan

Elizabeth Callahan, Workforce Development Manager: serves on the board for Journey’s End.

“My time on the Journey’s End Board of Directors has been extremely rewarding. I get the opportunity to make Buffalo a welcome place for refugees and help them build a brighter future. Through this and my other volunteer activities I am able to connect to, and find out more about resources, people, and places making tangible impacts to improve the lives of others in the region. Being able to be a small part of that, in some way, is really important to me,” said Callahan.

Julia Jornsay-Silverberg, Content Marketing Specialist: is the Marketing Director for The Senase Project, a non-profit focused on eradicating poverty through community development.

TSP SAS photo

Julia Jornsay-Silverberg

“Volunteering for The Senase Project has enabled me to use my marketing skills to help spread awareness about the work our organization is doing in Ghana. As the Marketing Director, I get the opportunity to use my creativity to conceptualize and implement marketing campaigns that serve to benefit the lives of our students at the Akatim Village School, which we finished building in 2013,” said Jornsay-Silverberg.

Sara Schumacher, Senior Director of Member Services: sits on the board of Junior Achievement of Western New York (JAWNY) and serves as an in-class volunteer.

Sara Schumacher

Sara Schumacher

“My time spent with Junior Achievement, be that with the board of directors or teaching local students, is incredibly valuable to me. Not only do I get to help teach today’s students the importance of understanding financial independence and how communities work, I’m able to reinforce how important an organization like the Buffalo Niagara Partnership is to our community,” said Schumacher.

Krystal Sondel, Events Manager: is the Board Chairman for Danceability, Inc. a non-profit dance studio for children and adults with special needs. Sondel has volunteered in the classroom since 2009 and joined the Board in 2011.

bnp gives back krystal

Krystal Sondel (right)

“I’ve gotten a chance to use the skills I have to do good in my community. As the Chair of the Board, I have the opportunity to continually advocate for our special needs dancers and their families. It’s rewarding to volunteer in the classroom as well, and see firsthand just how much our dancers grow and benefit from the programming at danceability,” said Sondel.

Joseph Stabb, Investor Relations Manager: has been on the national registry from Delete Blood Cancer since 2009 and is currently planning to donate bone marrow to help a child recover from blood cancer. Stabb also serves as an active committee/board member of PRSA Buffalo Niagara.

Joe Stabb headshot

Joseph Stabb

“I’m always willing to help in any way I can.  I value my ability to be a part of the community that I live in and help others.  If everyone gave at least an hour every year in their communities, then we could have a huge impact in making our world a better place,” said Stabb.

In addition to volunteering outside of work, our staff members volunteer through Team Partnership, our internal initiative to give back to the community.

Team Partnership is actively involved in the community and does over 5 outreach events per year including Earth Day park cleanups, Buffalo Christmas Wishes, Ride for Roswell, Junior Achievement Bowl-A-Thon, United Way Day of Caring and the Hospice Spring Bouquet Sale.

Team Partnership raised over $10,000 for the 2014 Ride for Roswell

Team Partnership raised over $10,000 for the 2014 Ride for Roswell

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is proud to “give back” to Buffalo Niagara and the region we call home.

Don’t forget to register for our next event for the opportunity to meet our staff and discuss how you can get more involved in the community and/or take advantage of the benefits we offer to our members.  

 

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Getting “Smart Growth” ready

The Solar City project has the potential to transform the City of Buffalo’s economy.

It’s a big project – 1.5 million square feet and 3,000 jobs – that not only represents growth, but also a shift in how we grow.

1rf event photo1

aerial map showing the amount of development currently in the project area

The project is a shining example of the values defined by the One Region Forward initiative, as it aims to redevelop a former industrial brownfield.

It directs a new manufacturing plant inward, proximate to dense working populations, rather than outward to remote greenfield sites.

The plant will use a combination of access that includes expanded public transit options; it introduces a green technology plant to the market and expands possibilities for localized power sourcing.

On Jan. 7, One Region Forward held an event to discuss how Buffalo Niagara can leverage a project like Solar City to create an entire area that is smart growth ready

Featuring presentations from the Partnership and National Grid, the focus was on how we can mold an infrastructure network into a “smart network.” The “smart network” would sustainably support new growth throughout an entire geography within Buffalo and Lackawanna.

The resounding theme, and a point of note for our region’s sustainability plan, is that growing smart does not just mean restricting bad growth in outlying or sprawling areas.

1rf event photo2

this chart shows the type of development currently proposed for the future

It’s also about creating opportunities for new development in more sustainable places, such as areas with existing access or infrastructure, and places close to where people and jobs already are located.

Too often, sustainable sites (such as those found in the city,) are prohibitively challenged to development.

They often have old infrastructure, environmental contamination, unusable legacy buildings and other factors that drive up costs when compared to a greenfield site.

Our keynote speaker for the event, Andreas Souvaliotis (a business and social entrepreneur from Toronto,) had a simple but profound message for the audience about how we can achieve our vision for a more sustainable Buffalo Niagara.

Souvaliotis discussed how we need to be willing to think differently and identify opportunities that people will naturally and habitually gravitate towards.
(*Watch the video below to listen to his message.)

It is critical that we identify means to mitigate the monumental challenges to developing sites, such as in and around the Solar City plan, in order to create substantial opportunities for “smart growth.”

To truly stimulate a change in behavior, “carrots always work better than sticks.”

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Member Spotlight: Road Less Traveled Productions

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership represents nearly 2,000 members and a quarter of a million employees in the Buffalo Niagara region.

To celebrate our members and their accomplishments, we have started a Member Spotlight blog series.

This month, we are proud to recognize a member that has played a big role in transforming the region’s arts and theater scene, Road Less Traveled Productions.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Scott Behrend, Executive Director of Road Less Traveled Productions (RLTP,) to learn more about what they’re most looking forward to as a Partnership member this year.

RLTP Scott headshot

Scott Behrend

Q: Thanks for taking the time to speak with me, Scott. I’ve been to the theater before so I’m familiar with your organization – but for those who haven’t, can you give me a brief background of the history of RLTP and what your current mission is?

A: Road Less Traveled Productions is a professional theater company based in Buffalo, NY. We’re a 501(c)3 non-profit and this is actually our eleventh year of existence.

Our mission is the development and production of world-premiere plays by Western New York writers; that’s really the core of our mission. We raise our community’s voice, including to regional and national levels.

We also do revivals and regional premieres that we feel are important to our community and the current discussion in the country and in Western New York.

RLTP logo2Similarly, in order to drive growth in our mission, we manage a strategically linked set of educational programming. By assisting our youth and young artists in their development, we ensure that both RLTP and our community benefit from quality contributors.

Q: That’s great to hear. I know that you recently joined as a Partnership member a few months ago. What inspired you to get involved?

A: Especially in the nonprofit sector, we’re always looking for networking opportunities not only to connect to other nonprofits but with businesses across the region. Joining as a Partnership member seemed like a great fit to help expand our network.

Q: Definitely. We provide our members with plenty of networking opportunities.

A: We also felt that joining the Partnership was a great way to get to know folks and spread awareness as to what we do and why our mission is important.

Q: That’s for sure! So, as a local non-profit, I know that you must face your own set of obstacles. What current challenges or opportunities does RLTP face that you think the Partnership might be able to assist in?

A: I think that the networking aspect of what you do is certainly very important. As a non-profit, we must collaborate effectively and as broadly as possible with our community.

We, of course, are always looking for business partners who are interested in sponsoring different programs or shows as part of what we do. We’re also always looking to create relationships with different businesses to enable us and our partners to reach different audiences and to address a variety of topics and themes.

RLTP Pam

Pam McKinnon

Being connected to the Partnership enables us to hear about different opportunities and activities in the region; that’s very valuable to us and our community-at-large.

Q: I definitely agree. Have you had any recent accomplishments that you’d like the community to be aware of?

A: We recently celebrated our 10-year anniversary.

Q: That’s great! Congratulations! What did you do to celebrate?

A: We brought Pam MacKinnon, a Tony award-winning director that grew up in Western New York, to Buffalo. She was here in support of our production of “Clybourne Park,” that we did in collaboration with 710 Main Theater.

Part of our mission includes bringing nationally recognized talent and resources to Buffalo. When Pam and others, particularly those not familiar with the benefits of Western New York, arrive here in Buffalo, they discover how much we have to offer as a region.

As a part of our current season (2014-15,) we also just recently closed “The SantaLand Diaries” by David Sedaris, and the show broke every box-office record we’ve ever had! It was a huge hit for us and we plan to make it an annual holiday show, so you can definitely check it out next year.

RLTP clybourne

RLTP’s production of “Clybourne Park”

Q: I love David Sedaris, so I’ll definitely plan on it. I also wanted to remark on RLTP’s incredible reputation in the community. What do you think that can be attributed to?

A: Wow, well thank you. From the beginning, my goal was to fill a theatrical niche in Buffalo that no one was filling. We have very carefully and methodically created an aesthetic for the work that we do.

We produce plays and create community conversation around topics in order to bring people who are life-long learners into the active fold; these people want to be entertained, but they’re interested in the issues and topics we talk about.

We’ve also created highly diverse artistic and audiences bases – not only in terms of age, but in terms of ethnicity and even income. That’s something I’m definitely very proud of because it, too, goes to our mission. Our work is a reflection of our community. The same diversity spans our staff and board of directors.

RLTP Santaland diaries

RLTP’s production of “The SantaLand Diaries”

We wanted to create a space for everyone in the community to come together to experience something and hopefully they leave our shows, programs and events, wanting to talk about the subjects at hand.

The most hopeful aspect of what we do is that discussion can lead to active, positive change.

Q: That’s a wonderful vision and I think you’ve really succeeded in creating that.

A: Thank you. We have certainly managed a lot of growth in recent years and we just finished our latest strategic plan that will take us ahead for the next few years.

We also have the “Road Less Traveled Ensemble” which is made up of actors, directors, designers, technicians, writers, etc — this group has helped shape the style of both our and their own individual work.

We want to continue to grow, but to also maintain the quality of the work we do, which we feel is vitally important. We look forward to continuing the “road less traveled” type of work that we are famous for, while carefully ensuring the quality of our programming.

RLTP Pam McKinnon visit

RLTP’s 10-year anniversary celebration

Q: I look forward to seeing what you have in store for the future. So, are there any other current opportunities for employment or involvement with Road Less Traveled Productions?

A: Because we’re a non-profit, our staffing opportunities are limited but we are always looking for volunteers.

There is always an opportunity to volunteer to be an usher, or help staff an event, even to contribute via community outreach.

We’ll also be holding auditions for shows in the next few months and for enrollment in our academic programming. Anyone interested should feel free to contact us if you’re a playwright, actor, student, or other theater artist.

Similarly, everyone should stay tuned for more news in 2015 about our new home. We’re happy and excited to welcome even more supporters onto the Road Less Traveled.

Q: That’s great to hear! I’ll definitely keep my eyes peeled for news about your new location. What would you say you’re most looking forward to benefiting from as a member of the Partnership in the upcoming year?

RLTP theatre

Road Less Traveled Productions theater

A: It really comes back to the idea that we want to continue to make our presence known and get the word out there about the stuff that we’re doing and hopefully continue to create new relationships in the business community.

Partnerships make us stronger; we know this. That’s why we’re grateful to be a member!

Interested in being a part of our Member Spotlight blog series? Contact our Content Marketing Specialist, Julia Jornsay-Silverberg.

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Manufacturing Awards: open for nominations

Buffalo Business First’s annual Manufacturing Awards are now open for nominations.

These awards present a unique opportunity for those in the community to recognize our region’s most outstanding manufacturers.

Nominating your company is also a great way for our manufacturing members to showcase their accomplishments.

Nominations are due by Friday, Feb. 13 and can be submitted here.

The process is simple; just fill out the form in as many categories as you’d like. Manufacturers are eligible to win more than one category of award.Manufacturing awards

This year’s categories are:

  • Community Involvement
  • Dream It, Do It
  • Exporting
  • Family-Run Manufacturing
  • Innovation
  • Operational Excellence
  • Overall Excellence
  • Sustainability
  • Workforce Training

Since companies are broken down by size, the awards help to showcase manufacturers of all sizes across the region.

I encourage all of our manufacturing members to apply.

Last year, two-thirds of the award recipients were Partnership members, including:

We wish the best of luck to all of our outstanding members working in manufacturing!

In the meantime, feel free to contact me if you have any questions about nominations or awards.

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BN360 Spotlight Series: Buffalo’s still talking proud

For as long as I can remember, the Buffalo Niagara Region has faced a lot of negative publicity on a national stage.

As a rust belt region, we’ve felt the effects of a population decline and job losses; add to that several “almost” sports championships and this bizarre notion that we have snow on the ground year round, and Buffalo becomes a place that few people want to visit.

We’ve tried in the past to change this negative perception; one of the most notable attempts was the Talking Proud Campaign from the 1980’s.

The campaign was a great concept to boost local sentiment and try to get people talking about how great Buffalo is, but in my opinion it didn’t do much to change the negative perception of the region outside of the area.

As a “lifer” who has spent over 40 years here (I grew up on the east side of Buffalo, lived in the University Heights area, attended Canisius College and eventually settled in the suburbs to raise a family,) it was hard to not be frustrated by all of the negative press focused around our region.

Throughout these hard times battling a negative perception, us “lifers” have known how great our region is and have chosen to stay and support its growth by continuing to talk proud about our community to anyone that would listen.

Jonathan LaPorta headshot

BN360’s January Spotlight Professional: Jonathan LaPorta

Finally, it appears that the Buffalo Niagara Region is seeing a new renaissance.

I asked myself, why now? Buffalonians everywhere have known how great this region is.

What has changed to get others (nationally and internationally) to recognize our potential and finally believe that the Buffalo Niagara region is a great place to visit and live?

I think the simple answer is that we’ve figured out the power of content marketing. Instead of the traditional marketing channels and techniques such as the “hard pitch,” we have turned to other, more organic, marketing channels such as social media, blogs and video.

Our message is consistent, delivering the positive, valuable aspects of our region in an authentic, personable voice.

We are attracting people and building interest in our region through the promotion of individual, trusted experiences.

As we attract newbies and bring expats back to our region, our current brand evangelists (those that are thrilled to tell others about a how much they love our region) are tasked with the challenges of continuing to promote our strengths and creating a new generation of brand evangelists to share the positive aspects of our community.

As the saying goes, “perception is reality.”

The more Buffalonians we have talking proud about the region, the easier it is to suppress the negative and ultimately change the perception to a positive one.

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November storm: loan assistance available

The Partnership, knowing the effect that the November Storm had on our economy, has been assisting Erie County in identifying and quantifying the types of losses the private sector incurred during the storm (which took place Nov. 17 – 21, 2014.)

We have been soliciting feedback on this survey* to assess structural, operational, personnel related or loss of business damages.
*If we have not created a category for your specific loss, please use an open text box to describe the loss.

Storm assistance DLOCs

Locations and hours for DLOCs

In addition, last week, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced the opening of Disaster Loan Outreach Centers (DLOC) in West Seneca and in Attica.

These DLOCs will make it easy for those affected by the severe storm to apply for disaster loan assistance.

Highlights of the loan assistance program include:

  • Loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate.
  • Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property.
  • Businesses and non-profits organizations of any size may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damage or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets.
  • Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) through SBA’s secure website. Loan applications can also be downloaded here.
  • The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is February 13, 2015.
  • The deadline to return economic injury applications is September 15, 2015.

Click here to learn more about the programs available to assist you with financing the recovery and don’t forget to fill out our survey

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Professional development advice for young professionals

With the beginning of the new year comes a chance to stop and think about where you are and what you want to change.

With many people working on their personal resolutions and goals, now marks the perfect time for young professionals to look at their career goals.

As we wrap up the first full work week of the year, here are some suggestions on how to achieve your career goals for 2015:

Our BN360 Spotlight Professionals for 2014-2015

Our BN360 Spotlight Professionals for 2014-2015

Ask for advice: You’ve probably heard this before: find a mentor! While finding a mentor can be challenging, taking time to meet and talk to as many people as possible is a great start.

Similarly, while having a mentor in your office or field is great, keep an open mind and look other individuals in your network who you can learn from and go to for advice.

Attending cross-industry events is a great way to meet different people and create a diverse network.

Keep in touch with your network: Don’t only pick up the phone when you need something!

Make sure you reach out to your network regularly and follow up with people you meet throughout the year. Consistent communication makes asking for advice and favors down the line much easier.

Develop new skills: Professional development and growth isn’t just about building a strong network. Developing new skills, or improving on your strengths, is just as important!

Take time to do a self-assessment and figure out your weaknesses. There are many classes, books or tutorials that can help you develop your skill-set.

For example, this year BN360 is partnering with Canisius College Center for Professional Development on our Skills for Success program!

Schedule time for “checkups”: Whether you treat these as quarterly performance reviews or monthly audits, it is important to take time to look at your goals and make sure you are on track. Break down each resolution into smaller, easier chunks.

For example, if you are looking to grow your network, commit to attending one or two networking events a month (or what works for you) and hold yourself accountable!

While the above are just a few ways you can focus on your individual career goals this year, be sure to join us for our next event to learn how the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and Buffalo Niagara 360 can help!

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