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Next Street named as program operator of Beverly Gray Business Exchange Center

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

The City of Buffalo has named Next Street as the program operator of a small business advisory service named in honor of a longtime Buffalo Councilwoman.

Next Street was formally named Thursday as the City of Buffalo's selection to oversee programming at the Beverly Gray Business Exchange Center, which provides education, training, advice and access to capital to women- and minority-owned businesses and entrepreneurs.

The firm was selected following a national bidding process. It has offices in New York City, Boston and Chicago and provides strategic and capital advice.

"We've been able to see firsthand the importance of creating access to services and resources, and how transformative that can be, not only for those entrepreneurs and local business owners but in their local communities," said Next Street director Donald Jones. "That's everything from helping those firms become certified, to eventually winning contracts, to accessing capital, to purchasing equipment and hiring employees."

Cory Haqq is with Urban Equity Management Group, which handles properties, subcontract work and transactional brokerage. It's one of six tenants located within the Center, which first opened in 2016.

"It's been great. It's centrally located," Haqq said. "I'm Buffalo born-and-raised. I'm from the community. It's easy to get to, to connect to people."

The center is named in honor of the late Beverly Gray, a community activist who served on the Buffalo Common Council from 1996 to 2003. She continued her activism while battling illness, carrying an oxygen tank and portable microphone as she campaigned against then-mayor Anthony Masiello in 2001. Gray died of cancer in 2004 at the age of 53.

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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