NxtARROW: John W. Howell

NxtARROW . . . is looking for the Next Pierce Arrow of Buffalo, NY

Today I met with President and Chief Creative Officer, John W. Howell, of NxtARROW. NxtARROW is a non-for-profit organization with the objective of bringing business back to Buffalo and it is their mission “to make Buffalo, New York and the Buffalo Niagara Region a world-class center for business development, entrepreneurship and start-ups.”

I first off have to thank John for meeting with me. I came across John via FaceBook and formally met him, for all of two seconds, at my very first “Buffalo First” meeting/ social. I introduced myself and mentioned that what he was doing was incredible and I had a thousand questions for him. Later that evening we made arrangements to meet for lunch. I had no clue that I was about to meet a man that has worn and still wears so many hats. I was aware of the constructive, positive efforts that he was bringing/ giving to Buffalo currently, but I was unaware of the numerous things he has already accomplished in life and for the city in the past!

Howell is a native of Buffalo, NY and was raised by a mother who treasured the city.  Howell left for quite some time, to attend college and such. He lived everywhere from Oklahoma City to Santa Fe, but spent a majority of his time living in Chicago. Howell is a poet, a theologian, and an author. He wrote three novels: Naked in Church, Goddess Patrol, and St. Jude’s Gospel. Novels are not what usually ends up in my hands; however, I read the synopsis of each of the three and let’s just say that my genre of reading may change soon! (for the synopsis: http://johnwingspreadhowell.com/novels.aspx ) He has even written Sports Articles, such as a recent one titled: “JUST GO HOME! What if all pro franchises that were poached from their original cities went back home and LA got all the expansion teams?” While not living in his native city, Howell established the web-site, http://buffaloex-pat.com/default.aspx . as “a great way to stay connected with, and do something for, the old hometown.”

One of many things that Howell and I have in common is that we both know/ believe that Buffalo has the assets to be booming once again and Howell is working towards making that known to everyone! Howell has developed NxtArrow to assist, and do his part, in rebuilding Buffalo. The name is a pun off of his inspiration company, Pierce Arrow. “100 years ago, Buffalo was home to the Great Arrow Automobile Co., a maker of beloved luxury vehicles that won races worldwide and brought a romance to the early days of the automobile. We’re ready to find the NxtARROW.”

NxtArrow is unique to Buffalo. Cleveland has a similar program called, Jump Start, but still very different. Howell stated that he has two focused areas, Downtown and the East Side of Buffalo.  He is currently working with three up-and-coming Buffalo companies, two of which will be completed by the end of the month! NxtARROW provides businesses looking to relocate in Buffalo or to completely start their company in Buffalo with all the fundamentals. Most importantly, they provide you with a mentor, as well as branding support, public relations, student interns, child care opportunities, office furniture, and so much more.  All the details have been thought of except the individual idea of the company. NxtARROW is looking to bring the next Pierce Arrow to Buffalo!

NxtArrow runs all the “diagnostics” of your ideas and plans and decides what program would best suit you. The “Laboratory” program is an option for someone with ideas, but no formal plan. The “Incubator” program is for those that have a plan, but need guidance, funding, or assistance in the process. And last there is the “Accelerated” program for companies that are already established, but would like to expand to the Buffalo area.  Howell has collaborated with local collage programs to obtain interns and is going to eventually hire commission-based salespeople. He is essentially creating jobs while assisting in the process of creating jobs, if you catch my drift!

I also asked Howell, “If you could do one thing to the waterfront, what would it be?” The response he gave was pleasing! He would like to see a living museum, ethnic festivals and a Bills Stadium relocated and integrated into the old grain elevators. His ideas are fantastic and I suggested he get to know and present his ideas to Mark Goldman.

I encourage all Buffalonians to find out more about NxtARROW and to make a pledge to your city by visiting their web-site, http://www.nxtarrow.com.  I always say that it didn’t take one man to dig the Erie Canal that initially put Buffalo on the map, nor will it take one man to rebuild it in the 2000s. Metaphorically speaking, John Howell is digging his fair share of the canal! We need others to step forward and do their share too!

“It is the mission of nxtARROW Business Development Corporation to make Buffalo, New York and the Buffalo Niagara Region a world-class center for business development, entrepreneurship and start-ups. We thinkBuffalo is a great place to start or relocate a business. That’s why we’re willing to offer to pay for your rent, phones, internet, heat, and other business services for an entire year.”

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