Buffalo Business Forward

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Byron W. Brown and The City of Buffalo Office of Strategic Planning have been providing businesses with the latest information about the COVID-19 emergency and the City of Buffalo's response to adequately restore economic activity. Buffalo Business Forward will continue to be a central resource and communication tool for Buffalo's business community, providing updates on new business assistance opportunities, business resources, and guidance as businesses recover from the impacts of COVID-19. Buffalo is open for business and our office is excited to support the business community as our local economy moves forward.

Buffalo Small Business Map and Directory

The Mayor's Office of Strategic Planning encourages local, small businesses in the City of Buffalo to register for our Small Business map and directory. 

We will continue to provide our business community with important business updates, resources and other guidance. Please select the option to sign up to receive these updates on our Registration Form

City Hall and Moon

Business Health and Safety Guidelines

EFFECTIVE February, 10 2022, Governor Hochul announced the statewide indoor business mask or vaccine mandate will be lifted except for:

  • State-regulated health care settings
  • State-regulated adult care facilities and nursing homes
  • Correctional facilities
  • Schools and childcare centers
  • Homeless shelters
  • Domestic violence shelters
  • Buses & bus stations, trains & train stations, subways & subway stations, planes & airports.

Please reference the full announcement HERE

For Covid-19 information for businesses in Erie County, click HERE

General New York State Covid-19 information can be found HERE

COVID-19 Business Assistance and Relief

The City of Buffalo’s  Business Assistance page has up-to-date state, local, and federal business assistance resources.

The New York State COVID-19 Pandemic Small Business Recovery Grant Program was created to provided flexible grant assistance to currently viable small businesses, micro-businesses and for-profit independent arts and cultural organizations in the State of New York. Find more information HERE

The New York Forward Loan Fund (NYFLF) continues to accept applications. The $100 million fund is a economic recovery loan program aimed at supporting New York State small businesses, nonprofits, and small landlords as they reopen after COVID-19 and NYS on PAUSE. 

Small Business Development

If you are looking to start or grow your business in the City of Buffalo, we have resources HEREOur economic development office continues to work with microenterprise groups and other City partners to provide new resources for our small business community. 

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at SUNY Buffalo State provides management and technical assistance to start-up and existing small businesses throughout Erie County. For small business assistance, please call (716) 878-4030. 

The Westminster Economic Development Initiative (WEDI) is a local Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), offering small amounts of capital to entrepreneurs who lack access to traditional financial institutions. Interested in applying for a Microloan for your business? Fill out WEDI's registration form and you will be contacted by a staff member to WEDI's loan program and application process.

In addition to WEDI and SBDC at SUNY Buffalo State, our office works with LISC WNYPursuit LendingPathstone Enterprise CenterU.S. Small Business AdministrationSCORE Buffalo Niagara, and Empire State Development (ESD). We encourage our small local businesses to reach out to these organizations as they are providing various types of business assistance and guidance during these troubling times.

Broadway Fillmore Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI)

The Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) is a comprehensive approach to boosting local economies by transforming communities into vibrant neighborhoods where the next generation of New Yorkers will want to live, work, and raise a family. In its fifth year, the program is investing $200 million across the state, or $20 million in each region. The downtown districts that receive the funding are chosen by each of the State's 10 Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs).

The City of Buffalo is one of the two winners in Western New York and has been awarded $10M towards improvements that will help transform the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood. With technical assistance provided by the State and guidance from a local planning committee and the public, the City of Buffalo will develop a Strategic Investment Plan that identifies specific projects that align with a unique vision for revitalization of the downtown area. This website contains the information, documents, and announcements about the DRI as they become available throughout the process.

For upcoming events and more information please visit broadwayfillmoredri.com

Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE) 

Mayor Brown stays committed to serving Minority and Women-Owned Enterprises(M/WBE) in our community. On June 13, 2021, Mayor Byron W. Brown announced the creation of a $3.5 million Minority Owned Business Support Program to be administered by the Beverly Gray Business Exchange Center (BGBEC). See the full press release HERE.

The Beverly Gray Business Exchange Center serves small businesses on Buffalo’s East Side and throughout Western New York. The Exchange is one-stop technical resource center, focusing on Minority and Women-Owned Enterprises(M/WBE). You can contact the Beverly Gray Business Exchange Center by email: info@beverlygraycenter.com and by phone: 716-800-2171.

Launch NY's Founders Go Big program, developed in 2020, provides funding and mentorship opportunities to minority entrepreneurs looking to grow their businesses. Please find more information HERE.

The Buffalo Urban League provides a wide variety of services for minority entrepreneurs. In addition to support for entrepreneurs, the Buffalo Urban League provides programs for family preservation and support, housing and community development, and workforce development. The Buffalo Urban League Young Professionals group, an entity of the Buffalo Urban League, is designed to serve as an empowerment forum for young professionals aged 21 to 40 living and doing business in Buffalo.

The Women's Business Center at Canisius College provides a wide variety of services to support women business owners including business counseling and mentorship opportunities. You can contact the Women's Business Center at Canisius College by email: wbcinfo@canisius.edu and by phone (716) 888-8280.

Sidewalk Cafe's and Outdoor Seating 

During the COVID-19 global health emergency, businesses were limited in capacity in order to comply with social distancing requirements, and non-essential businesses were required to shut down in spring and fall of 2020 as result of the NY on PAUSE order. In June of 2020, the City of Buffalo launched the Small Business Social Distancing Initiative (SBSDI) to help small businesses while safety measures are in place to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Mayor Byron Brown convened a task force, chaired by Delaware District Councilmember Joel Feroleto and comprised of restauranteurs, transportation advocates, marketing experts, and City Hall staff, to examine ways of allowing small businesses and restaurants to use open spaces, like privately owned parking lots, sidewalks, or other City-owned property, to create open air seating or retail so they can maintain proper social distancing. The initiative successfully assisted 44 businesses (43 restaurants/taverns and one retailer) to expand outdoor dining and product display during one of the most challenging economic periods in recent memory. 

The Small Business Social Distancing Initiative Extension ended March 31, 2022. The City of Buffalo asks that restaurants and small businesses interested in outdoor seating options apply for a sidewalk cafe license through the Department of Permits and Inspections. If a business does not have a current sidewalk cafe license, the business must start an application with the Department of Permits and Inspections (DPIS) for the 2022 season in Room 301 of City Hall. Phone: 716-851-4972.

The Sidewalk Cafe Application can be found online HERE

The Mayor's Office of Strategic Planning is working to extend the successes of the Small Business Social Distance Initiative (SBSDI) by making permanent reforms to the City Code. Updates and announcements regarding permanent code reform will be posted to this webpage.

Development

Buffalo is a great place to do business. New development in our commercial, residential, and industrial sectors continues to have a long-lasting impact on Buffalo’s economic recovery. 

Are you interested in development? Please visit our Commercial Tax Incentives, Grants, and Financing Page and our Bid Opportunities Page.

Since 2012, there has been approximately $8 billion in economic investment citywide. Mayor Byron W. Brown and Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning launched an interactive map for community residents to see new development projects completed or in progress going back to 2017. Buffalo continues to see exciting new development momentum throughout our community. Please access our development project map at the link below:

City of Buffalo Development Project Map

The Broadway Market

Located on 999 Broadway St in East Buffalo’s historic Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood, the Broadway Market is open year-round. For more information on market vendors and market events please visit the Broadway Market website.

Are you interested in becoming a vendor? The first step would be to make an appointment with the Broadway Market Management office, 716-893-0705, to discuss your product. You will need to complete an application and have a business plan. The Broadway Market is currently accepting applications from business owners who are interested in opening a full time food business in the market.