Western New York is full of innovators, blazing new trails as they work to build a better Buffalo. In collaboration with our partners at Forge Buffalo, Aleron, Be In Buffalo and TechBuffalo, 43North is celebrating a select group of these Western New York Trailblazers.
John Gavigan is the Managing Director at Endeavor, a mission-driven, global organization leading the high-impact entrepreneurship movement. Endeavor Western New York will search for, select, and scale-up entrepreneurs with the greatest potential for large-scale success, then spread their stories and resources to sustain lasting economic and social transformation in our region and beyond.
We connected with John to learn more about the role Endeavor plays in the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, how our ecosystem has changed, what Western New York can do to encourage startups to come here and more!
What role does Endeavor play in building Western New York’s entrepreneurial ecosystem?
Endeavor is all about talent. We connect regional, high growth, high impact scale-ups to influential resources around the world and help them hone their entrepreneurial impact back home. Across our global network, Endeavor supports 2,200 entrepreneurs leading 1,300 companies connecting them to 350 global board members, thousands of advisors and mentors, educational and financial partners to accelerate their growth and impact on our local economy and entrepreneurial mindset.
How has the Western New York startup ecosystem evolved over the past few years?
Our startup ecosystem has gone from a dream to a reality, is now playing a meaningful and measurable role in our region, and could be a core ingredient of unlocking the true potential of our community. We have attracted some of the best talent in North America, raised four straight years of nine-digit venture capital and have inspired an explosion of entrepreneurship across every neighborhood in Western NY. Our communities’ collaborative inputs over the last decade have resulted in job creation, new wealth and entrepreneurial mindset driven by success stories like ACV, Liazon, Cloudcheckr, Campus Labs, Athenex, Squire and others.
Why is it important for Western New York to build a successful startup and tech community?
It’s important because it attracts great talent. Nurturing a successful startup and tech ecosystem should be a top three priority in our community. Like others, I believe we are in a race for relevance with other regions globally. Western NY is a binational region sitting between Toronto and New York, has big city infrastructure and amenities with a small-town feel, a strong sense of community and an affordable quality of life. Alongside others, I want to continue to strengthen my roots here at home. Without the wealth, jobs, innovation and mindset catalyzed by a successful startup and tech ecosystem, our community risks relevance and attracting great talent.
Keep in mind that 54% of present jobs in the United States are projected to be disrupted by 2030 and innovation jobs (often created by the startup community) have a multiplier effect of one job creating five additional jobs in the service sector.
What can Western New York do to encourage startups to come here?
We need to package Western NY’s assets and resources as rich soil for startups and consistently promote it to attractive markets and new local entrepreneurs. Simultaneously, we need to improve the quality of our ecosystem if it is to have a lasting impact on our DNA. As we consider our future, it’s time for a renewed vision leveraging the tools of our local government, education partners and business community. We need a platform to measure our progress and a strong communication plan that embraces our entire community and talks to new markets. This focus should ensure we’re on track to sit among the most attractive mid-sized cities to live, work and play in North America.
What are you most thankful for?
I’m most thankful for my sons. I’m grateful that God gave me an authentic desire, ability and good health to be a great dad to them and have a positive influence on our community.