More Minority and Women Semifinalists Announced for One of the Largest Business Competitions in the World
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

The Business Idea Competition, 43North, announced 110 semifinalists from a pool of 3,007 qualified submissions for its 2015 competition. The list of startup companies and their hometowns can be found at “This year the competition substantially increased women and minority participation,” informed a competition spokesperson. 43North is lauded as one of the largest business competitions in the world.

[RELATED: 16 Startup Competitions for Boosting Your Business]

In the first round of the competition, which took place between March and June 2015, applicants provided a vision for their venture, including their business concept, target customers, industry overview, the competitive landscape, and the revenue potential of their business. In August and September 2015, semifinalists will be asked to complete a more in-depth Round 2 online application, and then present their business ideas to a team of 43North judges via a video conference.

The competition, which culminates in October, offers $5 million in cash prizes in the form of a one million-dollar award, six $500,000 awards, and four $250,000 awards. Winners also receive free incubator space in Buffalo, New York for a year; guidance from mentors related to their field; and access to other exciting incentive programs, like START-UP NY. Governor Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion initiative is the primary funding source for 43North, with support from the New York Power Authority.

Last year, two African American women founders, Angel Davis and Lauren Washington won $250,000 from 43North for their productivity app, KeepUp. The duo launched a beta version of the app in June 2015.

KeepUp tracks Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media channels for 12 major life events and puts you in control of who you follow, what events you see and when you get updated. It searches friends’ conversations, pulls out announcements and even finds events that haven’t been self-reported.

“Trying to keep up with friends and family is basically a part-time job,” explains Davis and Washington on the 43North website. “If you take a day off, you could miss out on really important events. This app solves that problem and allows you to tap into the reason why we signed up for these sites in the first place.”

This week KeepUp announced that they are looking for more Beta testers and giving away a $50 Amazon Gift Card to one KeepUp Insider.

On October 29, 2015, 43North’s 11 finalists will pitch their business ideas in-person in front of a high-profile panel of judges at Shea’s Performing Arts Center in Buffalo. Later that day, 43North will hold its awards ceremony to announce which awards its finalists will receive. 43North Week — a celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation in Buffalo — will take place over the course of the week that precedes the finals.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.