BUFFALO, N.Y., Jan. 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Bak USA today held the official grand opening of its world headquarters, becoming one of the first companies in the world to assemble its own branded electronic tablets in America. In the six months since receiving START-UP NY designation, the company has established its headquarters, trained its first operators and assembled the first 500 of the 80,000 tablets it anticipates producing in 2015.
"Today is a celebration of a dream come true for Bak USA and our 20 members of our company 'family.' In just six months, we've achieved so much and are poised to create the 100 jobs we promised to Buffalo in our first year and will likely double that goal," said Ulla Bak, president, Bak USA.
"I would like to express my deepest thanks to the START-UP NY program for making it possible for Bak to be part of Buffalo's high-tech transformation. These connections are invaluable to cementing our social entrepreneurship model here in Buffalo and expanding it globally. I'd also like to say 'thank you' to all the local government and non-profit entities, as well as the countless individuals who have made us feel so at home here in Buffalo," Ms. Bak added.
Co-founder JP Bak said today's grand opening represents much more than the establishment of the company's world headquarters in Buffalo.
"We have been blessed every step of the way and our journey is only beginning. We created Bak USA because we wanted to be able to put affordable products on the market which would help students learn all around the world, products that would last for a long time and that would truly make an impact where help was needed. While Bak USA is a very small step towards tackling this urgent problem, it is a step nonetheless: we can begin to contribute towards solving world illiteracy," JP Bak said.
Bak is one of the first companies in the world to produce own-branded electronic tablets outside of Asia. The tablet PC devices are primarily marketed to developing countries for educational purposes. The company's new global headquarters are located at Compass East, the former Sheehan Memorial Hospital, at 425 Michigan Avenue, owned by McGuire Development Co., on Buffalo's East Side. Bak occupies 10,000 square feet of space on the top floor.
Empire State Development acting President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky participated in the ribbon-cutting along with University at Buffalo President Dr. Satish Tripathi and other state and local dignitaries to officially open the state-of-the-art facility.
"Today, we celebrate the grand opening of Bak's new global headquarters in Buffalo, as well as the company's investment in our community and residents," said Governor Andrew Cuomo. "Thanks to our innovative START-UP NY initiative, Bak's electronic tablets will be 'Assembled in Buffalo' and businesses and jobs will continue the growth and development that we have achieved for Western New York's economy over the last four years."
In June, the governor announced an inaugural group of eight companies partnering with UB in START-UP NY, which stands for SUNY Tax-free Areas to Revitalize and Transform Upstate NY. The statewide program aims to spur economic development by enabling universities to identify areas where new and expanding businesses can operate for 10 years without paying New York State business, corporate, income, sales or property taxes, or franchise fees.
Empire State Development acting President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "Governor Cuomo's game-changing initiative, START-UP NY, is delivering unique industries and jobs for Buffalo. Bak USA has plans to grow and continue to contribute to the economic momentum we have worked so hard to create by further positioning our region as a global leader in advanced technology research and development."
Bak currently produced two models of its tablet, ranging in price from $100 to $140.One model is Wi-Fi only; the other utilizes 3G data connections. A 4G model is in development and will be on the market later this year. The company has contracts to provide tablets to Africa but also is looking to have a strong presence in the US.
Bak will be engaging UB engineering students in a senior design course, which will provide students with hands-on experience and help the company advance product development and efficiency. The company also intends to collaborate with the UB School of Management's Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership in development of social entrepreneurship programs and activities.
University at Buffalo President Dr. Satish Tripathi said, "Bak is the kind of company UB is proud to collaborate with, knowing that this partnership has the potential to change the lives of minorities and refugees being hired to assemble the low cost tablets. The tablets then become crucial tools for learning and communication in countries underserved by technology. I want to thank Governor Cuomo and his START-UP NY initiative for creating a textbook win-win: for the state, the community and for UB- which will be partnering with Bak USA through collaborative research and student –training programs."
Bak USA LLC is a multinational social enterprise company that seeks to further universal education, employment, and universal connectivity through the assembly and sale of low-cost PC tablets and phones. Founded by the Bak family, this company plans to continue its roll-out of niche tablet factories by employing dynamic members of the city's local community to assemble its devices in downtown Buffalo, NY.
START-UP NY seeks to accelerate entrepreneurialism and job creation across the state on a large scale, with a particular focus on Upstate New York. The State University of New York campus system, City University of New York, and private university and college communities serve as the framework of the START-UP NY program to attract high-tech and other start-ups, venture capital, new business and investments from across the globe. Under the program, businesses have the opportunity to operate tax-free for 10 years on eligible land and space. Businesses partner with the higher education institutions and are able to access industry experts and advanced research laboratories.
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