Washington, DC – U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $225,000 in federal funding for Launch NY in Buffalo. The funding was allocated through the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI) and will help Launch NY support small businesses in Upstate New York, with a focus on those located in low-income communities and those that are minority- and women- owned. Specifically, Launch NY will use the funding to support its Seed Fund, which provides mentoring and seed capital to help promote local economic development through entrepreneurship. Businesses that receive investment capital from the Seed Fund work directly with Launch NY’s Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIRs) and National Mentor Network. Gillibrand pushed for this funding and wrote a letter of support for Launch NY’s grant application.
“Start-up companies are the job-creating engines that power our economic growth in the 21st Century. But as any entrepreneur knows, the first few years can be especially challenging. That’s why I was proud to secure the initial funding that helped kick-start Launch New York, which gives businesses the resources they need to get off the ground and create new jobs,” said Senator Schumer. “Today’s fantastic news of additional funding will further build on Launch NY’s success, by enabling it to provide local entrepreneurs the support they need at their earliest stages of development. I will continue fighting tooth and nail to secure the federal funding Launch NY needs and do everything in my power to grow local start-up companies to create jobs across Upstate NY.”
“Launch NY has been critical in supporting startup businesses in Upstate New York. This funding will help it continue to strengthen entrepreneurship by helping new startups turn their great ideas into thriving businesses,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Supporting Launch NY will help keep jobs in New York and grow local economies. I was proud to fight for this funding on behalf of Launch NY, and I will continue working in the Senate to ensure that our small businesses have the resources they need to be successful.”
“Since 2016, Launch NY has invested over $2.2 million in 45 of Upstate New York’s most promising startups,” said Dr. Marnie LaVigne, President and CEO, Launch NY. “We have seen our portfolio companies create over 200 jobs and attract more than $25.9 million in co-investment and follow-on capital. With over 73% of our portfolio companies located in low income and economically distressed communities and over 40% in women and/or minority led companies, it is gratifying to see that we’re achieving our mission of inclusive economic prosperity where it is needed most.”
Founded in 2012, Launch NY is headquartered in Buffalo and connects Upstate New York companies and entrepreneurs to seed capital and high-quality mentoring programs. More information on Launch NY may be found here.
More information on CDFI’s grant and investment process may be found here.
The full text of Gillibrand’s letter may be found here and below.
June 17, 2019
Ms. Jodie Harris
Community Development Financial Institutions Fund
U.S. Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20220
Dear Ms. Harris,
I write in support of the application submitted by Launch NY for funding from the Financial Assistance Grant through the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI). This funding will be used to identify, support, and invest in high-growth potential startup businesses in Western New York.
Launch NY is headquartered in Buffalo, with partner sites in Binghamton, Ithaca, Rochester, and Syracuse. It serves 27 counties, including each of the four state-designated economic development regions: Western New York, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, and Central New York. Since its founding in 2012, Launch NY has mentored over 900 startup businesses supporting over 3,200 jobs throughout the regions. The Launch NY Seed Fund, which made its first investment in 2016, has invested in 43 companies, 20 percent of which have been minority-led and 33 percent women-led. It is the most active seed fund in New York State and one of the most active in the nation.
The requested funding will be used to support investments in future startup businesses through the Launch NY Seed Fund. The Launch NY Seed Fund’s model uses a combined approach of mentoring and seed capital to drive economic development through entrepreneurship. Businesses that receive investment capital from the Seed Fund work directly with Launch NY’s Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EIRs) and National Mentor Network to receive mentorship and assistance. As the only CDFI in New York State providing venture capital, the funding will allow the Seed Fund to continue to invest in high-growth potential startup businesses that encourage innovation and help meet the needs of economically disadvantaged individuals and underserved communities.
I ask that you please give this application your full consideration.