Funding Will Support Entrepreneurship Training

Emphasizing Underrepresented Founders and Climate Tech Startups


Buffalo, N.Y., September 20, 2023 – Launch NY, the first and only nonprofit Venture Development Organization to provide pro bono mentoring and seed capital access to early-stage startups in the 27 westernmost counties of New York State, has received a $250,000 award from New York Power Authority (NYPA) Western New York Economic Development Fund Benefits to support a new project, entitled Creating Sustainable and Inclusive Economic Prosperity via Entrepreneurship that will help train entrepreneurs with startup companies that have high growth potential.


Having trained and supported over 1,500 startups since 2012 and operated the most active seed fund in New York State, comprising a portfolio of over 50% led by women and/or minority founders, Launch NY has designed the project to support entrepreneur training via expansion of its Founders Go Big (FGB) and Emerging Cleantech Opportunity (ECO) Incubator programs.


Each company will be assessed for company status and entrepreneurship skills that will drive a custom Company Action Plan. Participants will receive individual and group training through in-person and virtual sessions to help prepare them to grow their business and attract investment. The project is expected to train up to 100 businesses in a two-year period.


“This project builds on Launch NY’s experience and expertise in supporting early-stage startup companies and their founders and will provide training in entrepreneurship practices that will facilitate development of new economy businesses and jobs, with an emphasis on positively impacting low-income areas and the climate tech sector,” said Marnie LaVigne, Ph.D., President and CEO of Launch NY.


Launch NY’s FGB program is designed to enhance the engagement of underrepresented, underserved founders in creating high-growth potential businesses, with a particular focus on East Buffalo for this new project. Its ECO Incubator initiative supports cleantech startups with measurable and scalable impacts on New York State energy efficiency, renewable energy, greenhouse gas reduction, and overall sustainability goals.


“Successful program participants will have a direct impact on the local economy through job and revenue creation, with a focus on underrepresented entrepreneurs and communities, especially East Buffalo, as well as through increased climate resiliency, all of which can be supported by investment through Launch NY’s InvestLocal Financing Programs,” said LaVigne.


John R. Koelmel, New York Power Authority chairman and Buffalo resident, said, “The New York Power Authority’s $250,000 funding award to Launch this summer will help train entrepreneurs with companies that have high growth potential. The award demonstrates the depth and breadth of the Power Authority’s impact on the Buffalo area and the larger Western New York region.”


NYPA is the largest state public power organization in the nation, operating 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. More than 80 percent of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower. NYPA finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. A portion of the revenue NYPA earns from selling the power generated at the Niagara Power Project goes into a fund to support economic development in the 30-mile zone surrounding the generation plant.


About Launch NY:

The mission of Launch New York, Inc. (Launch NY), the only U.S. Treasury-designated Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) directly providing venture funding to businesses in New York State, is to identify, support and invest in high-growth, high-impact companies that can transform the local economy and catalyze the entrepreneurial culture in the 27 counties comprising the western half of Upstate New York. Launch NY is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit venture development organization that promotes economic development through best practices, including high-quality pro bono business mentoring, while operating the most active seed fund in New York State and one of the top 5 nonprofit seed funds in the country that provides access to seed capital as part of an array of InvestLocal Financing Programs designed to facilitate funding for investment-ready companies which have the promise to drive significant economic impact and jobs for our region.


Launch NY is headquartered in Buffalo and has co-locations with partner organizations in Binghamton, Ithaca, Rochester, and Syracuse. Since 2012, it has served 1,518 companies who have received support from more than 30 experienced local entrepreneurs-in-residence, plus access to more than 500,000 industry, business, and investment experts through Launch NY’s National Mentor Network resources. Launch NY has mentored companies, including 28% women-led and 30% minority-led startups, which have created 5,025 jobs, attracted $1.3 billion in co-investment and follow-on capital after joining Launch NY and generated over $235 million in annual revenues.


Launch NY’s InvestLocal Financing Programs include a nonprofit fund and for profit limited partner funds. To date, Launch NY has invested over $9.2 million in 88 startup companies that have created 529 jobs, attracted over $200 million in follow-on funding, and generated nearly $60 million in annual revenues. Additionally, Launch NY’s Investor Network has provided more than $1.69 million in funding and commitments to 16 Upstate New York startup companies in 19 transactions.


Launch NY also leads the premier Emerging Cleantech Opportunity (ECO) Incubator, one of six designated clean energy incubators originally sponsored by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), as well as the Founders Go Big program, an innovative diversity and inclusion initiative introduced in 2020.


For more information about Launch NY, its programs, and other entrepreneurial opportunities, visit, and follow Launch NY on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


Tag: Launch NY grant, New York Power Authority grant, startup funding NY, economic development grants, entrepreneurial support programs, NYPA funding initiatives, business incubator grants, upstate New York startup funding, small business investment grants, innovation ecosystem development