Ignite Buffalo: three businesses win $100K

Posted at 11:30 PM, Jul 11, 2018

Three Buffalo businesses walked away with six figure grants, Wednesday night, all thanks to a contest called Ignite Buffalo.

The Shark Tank-like contest is made possible a partnership between 43 North, Facebook, M&T Bank, and several other companies.

Michael Zak and his company Grooperative Inc was one of the winners. He can't wait to use his prize money to expand his indoor agriculture company.

“That will enable us, not only to grow much more food for the customers that we have, fresh, local organic, year round, cause we grow indoors, but we're also going to be providing training opportunities to at risk youth in Buffalo's East Side,” said Zak.

Growth, that's what this money means for these Buffalo based companies. For people like Dave Horesh of Oxford Pennant, 100 grand could be the spark they need to become an international power house.

“The more manufacturing that we can bring to Buffalo, the higher the ceiling is. That's more jobs, that's more people, and hopefully that's something we can do ethically that reinforces the standard of the community,” said Horesh.

No one may have been more excited than Aitina Fareed Cooke. She owns Get Focusk'd Productions. She wants hire teens for her photography company. Fareed Cooke, says she fought everything from suicidal thoughts, to having a mother doing drugs while she was in the womb. And she wants to give people fighting the odds, like her, a shot. 

“It's interesting to me, having a moment that I felt like I was nothing, I was useless, how something can ignite change in me. Photography was that thing. Photography was that tool of influence that really changed my life and developed me,” said Fareed Cooke.

Four other Buffalo companies won $50,000, twenty other companies won $25,000.

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