Press Release

Standing with Hudson Valley Women Entrepreneurs, Gillibrand Calls for Federal Investment for Women’s Enterprise Development Center Satellite Office

Oct 25, 2012

New Windsor, NY – Standing with Hudson Valley women entrepreneurs at OXYVITA, Inc., U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today called for targeted federal investment into the Women’s Enterprise Development Center (WEDC) through the Economic Development Administration. 

The federal investment that Senator Gillibrand is working to secure would be used to create a WEDC satellite center at Marist College that would aid minority and women-owned businesses by promoting economic self-sufficiency through entrepreneurial training programs, including access to capital, mentoring, networking opportunities, training and technical assistance. The EDA funding would come through the agency’s disaster relief funding opportunity that specifically targets communities that suffered damage from last year’s Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, offering investment for the development of a long-term strategy to help more local businesses withstand setbacks like natural disasters, among other needs.

“Hudson Valley communities were among those hardest hit by these storms, causing massive damage to homes and businesses, and miles of farmland,” Senator Gillibrand said. “But we need to do more than just get back to where we were before these storms. We need a long-term strategy to strengthen our economy, open more businesses and create more jobs so the Hudson Valley can thrive for years to come. These kinds of targeted investments can help us – by equipping more entrepreneurs with the resources they need to turn their good ideas into growing businesses.”  

“For more than 15 years, WEDC has been providing valuable programs and services to entrepreneurs, both men and women, at all stages of business development,” said WEDC Executive Director Anne Janiak.  “Our primary focus has been in Westchester County and we now are eager to set up a Mid-Hudson Valley satellite office at Marist College where we can reach the growing number of small business owners  in that area to help them grow successful enterprises. We thank Senator Gillibrand and her staff for their support of our EDA grant application and our mission to empower entrepreneurs and strengthen our economy throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley.”

“Marist College would be very excited to have the WEDC satellite center located at the new Hancock Center at Marist College,” said Dr. Roger L. Norton, Dean, School of Computer Science & Mathematics Marist College. “We feel very confident that the work of the WEDC will greatly complement the work being done at Marist College with SMBs throughout New York State, especially with the work of the Cloud Computing and Analytics Center at Marist.  We thank Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for her help in obtaining this funding.”

“Once again we want to thank Senator Gillibrand for her leadership & support for these needed funds for the Women’s Enterprise Development Center (WEDC), they would provide the exact type of training needed to help minority and women-owned businesses grow and expand in the Hudson Valley. Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp., and the Orange County Business Accelerator look forward to partnering with the WEDC to provide the business support needed. The Senator has been and outstanding advocate in helping to secure the resources needed to help diversity our economy,” said Michael Oates, President and CEO, Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation.

“The YWCA Orange County would welcome the WEDC’s expansion into Orange County.  Women business owners are a vital asset in our ongoing economic recovery.  We look forward to partnering with WEDC in their efforts to increase women entrepreneurs and enhance economic empowerment for women and their families throughout the Hudson Valley,” said Christine Sadowski, Executive Director YWCA Orange County.

After Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee devastated communities across New York, Senator Gillibrand spent time touring damaged farms, business districts and communities, hearing from everyday families and business leaders, fighting to secure every federal resource to aid in the recovery. This federal investment would help bring Hudson Valley communities on a path to a strong economic future by targeting the creation of new businesses. The funding would also help expand businesses, and connect them to new markets and better opportunities to thrive.

The WEDC entrepreneurial training programs for minority and women-owned businesses would strengthen businesses by creating jobs, helping strengthen existing businesses and helping rebuild the Hudson Valley economy in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.  These programs work to prevent future setbacks by promoting the notion of long-term growth over economic survival, which can help stabilize the Hudson Valley’s economy.   The WEDC Satellite would help both new entrepreneurs and existing business owners across all disciplines to become more resilient and move more quickly beyond these negative challenges by offering them opportunities to:

  • Strengthen and enhance their business skills through a broad range of successful, ‘shovel-ready’ business programs and services as well as access to microloan funding and the most current information on government small businesses programs.


  • Gain unprecedented access to the most advanced computer software available at the Hancock Center, thereby enabling clients to become ‘technologically resilient’, i.e., capable of adjusting to the growing importance of technical skills required by the successful 21st century business owner.


  • Participate in the growing IT cluster in the district through the WEDC Satellite’s ability to attract and nurture small IT companies with access to the resources of the Hancock Center and its incubation program.


The WEDC Satellite would offer dislocated workers, unemployed due either to natural disasters or a challenging economy, viable economic livelihoods as entrepreneurs. It would energize all entrepreneurs to strategically and smartly take their businesses to the next level of long-term growth and sustainability – helping to make their businesses more resilient to consequences of unforeseen obstacles.


The WEDC provides entrepreneurs with the skills, tools and resources they need to start their own businesses, to expand them and to achieve economic self-sufficiency. WEDC offers a wide array of entrepreneurial training programs and services, including one-on-one counseling, access to capital, networking events and small business seminars. WEDC is the designated women’s business center of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for Westchester County and the lower Hudson Valley. WEDC is also the NY Empire State Development Corporation’s Entrepreneurial Assistance Program (EAP) Center for Westchester County.


The full text of Senator Gillibrand’s letter of support is attached.