Where Will the Next Entrepreneurs Come From: “I believe the children are the future . . .”

I was lucky enough to be asked to judge an annual pitch competition in Buffalo that an organization called 43North operate every year.  The 43 North program is pretty simple; startups from around the world compete for the opportunity to win close to $5M divided into various investment sizes; $500k for 7 companies and $1M for 1 company.  This is a hefty amount of money to raise for a startup of any level of maturity. Their selection process first whittles the hundreds of applications down to 18 companies.  During the day, they pitch to a panel of 25 judges in this restored downtown auditorium.  After the judges deliberate, they select the 10 finalists who then pitch at a public event later that night.  Seven judges then select the 1 big winner, the 7 lucky winners and 2 go home empty. Over the last few months I have developed a deeper understanding of both the program and gotten to know the staff of 43 North as well as many of the local community leaders.  [Full disclosure – Techstars has an engagement with the various state and regional constituents to help grow their startup community.] Their event had over 3,000 attendees that

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