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Local manufacturing hub wins $100,000

Thomas O'Neil-White

Advanced Manufacturing hub The Foundry received $100,000 in funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the winnings from a national competition for creating new opportunities in advanced manufacturing fields.

The hub, located on Buffalo’s East Side, has for six years, provided a place where budding entrepreneurs can grow and perfect their ideas.

Interim Administrator Chris Pilkerton took a tour of The Foundry Thursday, including the remodeled 2nd floor. He said The Foundry exemplifies what the Administration envisioned when they began designing the competition 18 months ago.

“A big part of what they do is they support entrepreneurs. They identify talent to help support those small businesses as they grow,” he said “And they engage the community in a lot of interesting ways.”

Credit Thomas O'Neil-White

This is the first year of S.B.A’s Makerspace Training, Collaboration, and Hiring (MaTCH) Pilot Competition.

As Pilkerton made his way around The Foundry, he met several entrepreneurs, one man who was designing T-shirts, another making bicycles from a certain type wood. Pilkerton said it is wonderful to be able to visit a company and see the progress being made.

“I was really blown away by the success of some of the businesses,” he said. “And the fact that this community is so supportive of the work being done here.”

Credit Thomas O'Neil-White

He said there are 5 million available jobs in the United States and part of his job is to identify people for specific jobs and getting those people trained so they may prosper. A main objective of the competition was to get people trained and engaging employers in the community to place them in jobs.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.