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Attention, entrepreneurs: Deadline nears for $5 million 43North contest

Attention, aspiring millionaires: The entry deadline for this year's 43North competition is almost here.

Applications for the $5 million business plan competition must be filed by the end of Thursday, at 43north.org.

This is the fifth year of the competition, which awards funding to entrepreneurs. Winners will be required to have their CEO and at least half of their staff in Buffalo for at least 12 months.

The top prize in the competition is $1 million, followed by six $500,000 prizes. The winners will be chosen at 43North's final round, scheduled for early October. There will also be $1 million in follow-on funding, split among two or more of the winners, at the end of 2019.

43North on Wednesday did not disclose how many entries it has received so far.

"We're very encouraged by the quality of our submissions so far and for any founders who think their startups are ready to take on some world-class competition, they should act now to submit their application before our deadline," 43North said in a statement.

43North in recent competitions has taken a quality-over-quantity approach to applications. The organization's criteria focuses on startups with "strong teams, evidence of traction, and that they have raised capital outside of a 'friends and family' round. Furthermore, we want these startups to have a compelling story as to why Buffalo will be an important part of their growth."

The program is part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Buffalo Billion initiative, and is aimed to encourage startups to build their operations in Buffalo. 43North is under new leadership for this edition: Alexander Gress was named the organization's executive director early this year.

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