Strategic Entrepreneurship Program to be Launched by Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership

First Niagara Provides Sponsorship

By Jacqueline Ghosen

Release Date: August 11, 2009 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- With the help of a $25,000 sponsorship from First Niagara, a new Strategic Entrepreneurship program will be launched in September by the University at Buffalo School of Management's Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (CEL).

The 12-month program will be part of CEL's ongoing initiative to provide a continuum of programming for area entrepreneurs, giving them the tools needed to grow their businesses and create jobs.

Designed for graduates of the CEL Core program, the Strategic Entrepreneurship program will focus on moving businesses to the next level and increasing profitability. The curriculum will be presented by industry experts and will include branding, financial controls, mergers and acquisitions, building a management team, leadership and technology.

As with the CEL Core program, participants in the Strategic Entrepreneurship program will benefit from personal coaching and a strong network of fellow business owners.

"The Strategic Entrepreneurship program offers graduates of our Core program a 'next step' to move their businesses forward by helping them implement professional management practices in a supportive atmosphere," said Thomas Ulbrich, executive director of UB's Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. "We are fortunate to have a partner like First Niagara Bank that understands the ongoing educational needs of entrepreneurial companies in this area and we look forward to working with them to help the business community," Ulbrich added.

Daniel Cantara, regional president for First Niagara, said, "We are proud to partner with UB's Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. The Strategic Entrepreneurship program is well aligned with First Niagara's business philosophy of empowering through passion, creativity and expertise. Providing business leaders with innovative strategies to expand and grow will have a powerful and positive impact on the entire community."

The UB School of Management's Center for Entrepreneurship has been assisting area entrepreneurs for more than 21 years. Nearly 700 CEL alumni employ more than 22,000 Western New Yorkers, and their businesses are worth more than $2 billion to the local economy. In addition to its Core and Strategic Entrepreneurship programs, the center offers a CEL Hi-Tech program for early-stage life sciences companies, the Henry A. Panasci Technology Entrepreneurship Competition for students and recent graduates, and the Allstate Minority and Women Emerging Entrepreneurs program.

First Niagara Financial Group, Inc., through its wholly owned subsidiary First Niagara Bank, has assets of $9.6 billion and deposits of $6.2 billion. First Niagara Bank is a full-service, community-focused bank that provides financial services to individuals, families and businesses through 113 branches and four Regional Market Centers across Upstate New York. In April 2009, the company announced plans to add another 57 branches in Pittsburgh, Warren and Erie, Pa., additional deposits of $4.2 billion and additional loans of $839 million in an acquisition that is expected to close in September 2009. For more information, visit

The Wall Street Journal has ranked the UB School of Management No. 9 in the nation among schools with strong regional recruiting bases. In addition, BusinessWeek has ranked the school as one of the country's top 5 business schools for the fastest return on MBA investment, and Forbes cited it as one of the best business schools in the U.S. for the return on investment it provides MBA graduates. For more information about the UB School of Management, visit

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system that is its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.