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Federal funding aimed at boosting local startups

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

Washington is putting up money into encouraging Western New York entrepreneurs.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Assistant Commerce Secretary Jay Williams came to The Innovation Center yesterday to talk about how business innovators can help the local economy. The $500,000 from the Economic Development Administration goes to Launch New York.

"Who doesn't feel the excitement and passion of entrepreneurship when you walk into this building?" asked President and CEO Marnie LaVigne.
"It's so powerful. What it can tell you is this type of entrepreneurial spirit is going on throughout the 27 counties. Our goal is to make that visible to the rest of the world."

Williams says he understands how an economy can suffer when dominant industries leave since he was mayor of Youngstown, Ohio which also lost the steel industry and is re-creating itself with technology. He says it really helps if entrepreneurs from all racial groups start and develop their businesses since everyone benefits.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.