BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – 43North is kicking off its annual business startup competition. The Buffalo-based business competition which gives out millions of dollars to startups over the past three years is officially accepting pitches.

For the second straight year, 43North will charge an application fee, which hopes to discourage less-than-serious applicants from entering the contest. This year, they’re looking for start-ups to participate that have a concrete foundation.

The contest’s 29 winners through the first three years have attracted $40 million in additional investment to the area.

The business plan competition is a part of Governor Andrew Ccuomo’s Buffalo Billion economic development initiative.

Leaders with 43North say they hope to inspire entrepreneurship here, in a community that had been lagging behind the nation in new business creation.

Peter Burakowski, Director of Marketing with 43North said, “More than half of the new jobs that are coming into the United States are coming from entrepreneurs creating new businesses. So you’re also seeing millennials want to be involved in starting companies, or are already starting companies. So when we think about today, and what’s healthy for Bufalo, and for the next decade and beyond, we really need to be fostering this culture of entrepreneurship.”

Along with a $1 million grand prize for the contest’s winner, this year’s competition will offer bigger prizes to the second and third place finishers.

Runner-up prizes range from $500 to $650 thousand dollars. You have until May 24th to apply.

To learn more about how you can apply, head to the 43North website: