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Uber promoting expansion through entrepreneurship contest


Nearly 200 people gathered at dig Buffalo Wednesday night for the 43 North UberPITCH Finals - and the winner was...

Mike Robinson and his Cleaning Essentials. Four entrepreneurs competed to win a $5,000 cash prize.

The event was the culmination of a midday competition during which more than 50 entrepreneurs requested an Uber and pitched their business ideas to the investors or venture capitalists riding in the vehicle. Colleen Heidinger, director of events and programming for 43 North, said promoting entrepreneurship is a citywide mission.

"There's entrepreneurship in every nook and cranny of the city," Heidinger said. "There're people on the East Side, West Side, we were down in Cazenovia Park today. It's unbelievable where we saw those Ubers going."

Heidinger called UberPITCH just one of the many layers of entrepreneurship opportunities available locally.

"It can be students in a classroom on one side of the city. It could be someone with a storefront on another side. It can be people in the Innovation Center and it can be 43 North winners," she said. "We're conscious that entrepreneurship is a citywide project and we have to embrace it for the whole city to be successful."

The event was launched as advocates continue to push for ride-hailing in Upstate New York.