Jenna Kavanaugh, Chief Operating Officer for Invest Buffalo Niagara, has a bold vision for the economic future of Buffalo, NY, and she is ready to tell the world about it. Her work on theBe In Buffalo Relocation Guidehas drawn attention all over the state and led to a big win: the 2021 NYSEDC Excellence in Marketing Award.
Buffalo, NY: An Opportunity for Growth
Jenna understands that Buffalo has a Rust Belt reputation that is no longer accurate and which downplays recent successes. She sees a region that has changed a lot in the past 15 years, but has held onto the classic Americana values that made it a powerhouse in the past. She knew that many former residents have a love for the region despite moving away.
Jenna saw an opportunity to make people aware of the amazing growth and improvement throughout the area. That’s why her Be In Buffalo initiative focuses on improving Buffalo’s visibility by informing ex-pats and potential new residents of the area’s unique economic opportunities.
Jenna wanted to dig further into the region’s reputation, so she and her team conducted surveys with ex-pats to better understand why they had left. The results shocked her: many considered the city to be devoid of jobs and chances for development. This couldn’t be further from the truth!
The Buffalo of today is not the Buffalo of the past; the area has become a hotbed of investment in many different areas including biomedical technology, FinTech, small businesses, and many other entrepreneurial enterprises. Many of those surveyed were unaware of Buffalo’s new workspaces, ease of access and commutability, and low cost of living compared to other areas.
Now, thanks to the efforts of Jenna and her team with Be In Buffalo, the area is seeing increased interest in both workforce development and investment. With over 100,000 students at local universities, Buffalo has become the gateway for the life people want to live. Major developments that used to be empty, such as Seneca Tower and Niagara Street, are now revitalized and booming.
"People who move to the region with no prior exposure have now become Buffalo’s biggest spokespeople," says Jenna. And she doesn’t see the growth stopping anytime soon. With this influx of public and private investment, the area has its foot on the gas pedal and is well positioned to keep collaborating with the state, harnessing its strengths, and continuing its growth for years to come!