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43North winner looks to plug into electric car industry

Mike Desmond/WBFO

SparkCharge will be at UB this morning, looking for engineers and scientists and others for its portable electric car charging system. The visit follows last night's victory in the 43North business competition where the company claimed the $1 million dollar prize.

The Syracuse-based company is already making plans to move here.

"The electric vehicle industry is growing rapidly and we know that and we're going to be a big part of that," said  SparkCharge founder and CEO Joshua Aviv. 

"With our product, we remove the fear out of recharging, we remove the fear out of buying a car. So we expect to see the market to grow even faster when our product hits the market."

Aviv says SparkCharge is negotiating with the Triple-A to include the chargers on their repair trucks to get electric cars up and running.

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul echoed Aviv's enthusiasm saying the prize winner's product "ties in beautifully" with the Cuomo administration's energy vision for New York State.

"We are very focused on electric vehicles. We have charging stations around the state. We are trying to have tax incentives so people can actually purchase electric vehicles," said Hochul, who helped to award the eight prizes at Shea's Performing Arts Center last night.

Seven runners-up took home $500,000, including Naturall Club which makes hair products using natural ingredients like avocados.

"It feels great," said Naturall Founder and CEO Muhga Eltigani.

"We're always confident within our company. And it was just a great opportunity for us to share what we love to do. And, a bonus, we won money for it."

Eltigani says she will be looking into crops grown around here to see if they can be used in Naturall Club's products.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.