Westchester County Office of Economic Development awards grants to Launch1000 graduates

The Westchester County Office of Economic Development is pleased to announce that 218 graduates of Launch1000, a self-paced online program that turns concepts and ideas into risk-free startups, have each been awarded a $2,500 grant to have completed the program. Of those pitchers, nearly three-quarters qualified to receive an additional $2,500 grant for achieving key milestones to advance their business growth. This grant represents an investment of $940,000 to help new businesses and nonprofits get started and grow.

County Executive George Latimer said, “Launch1000 has paved the way for a diverse community of businesses and nonprofits that represent an important component of Westchester’s vibrant startup community. Westchester County is invested in the success of entrepreneurs and this financial investment in 218 new entities is an extension of that commitment.

Westchester County Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Deborah Novick, said, “Many of our Launch1000 graduates are already generating income and positively impacting our local economy and communities. We are proud to invest in the next generation of small businesses, non-profit organizations and scalable startups, enabling them to have maximum impact in Westchester County and maximize their potential for local, national or global.

Some examples of how launchers use their grants:

Launcher Jan Mercer Dahms is using her grant money to reinvest in the Westchester County ecosystem, directly hiring service providers and start-ups who have also graduated from the Launch1000 program.

Pitcher Erica Christ is the founder of FMR Wellness Inc, Fuel Move Recover, which integrates nutrition and Pilates to help people function optimally, prevent injury and heal faster after surgery. She is using her grant money to complete the development of an app that will allow her to scale her business from one site to multiple units.

Caster Marianne Campolongo, founder of Marianne Campolongo Photography, used part of her grant to purchase new photographic equipment, including a camera that allows her to take panoramic images that can be used in murals and other installations. Campolongo’s company offers fine art landscape and nature photography to hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare providers based on the principles of evidence-based design. Studies show that photos of nature help reduce stress for patients, staff and visitors and can even improve patient outcomes.

Pitcher Paula Gladstone, founder of Fill Up on Healthy uses part of her grant funds to enroll in a prestigious program to become a Certified Nutrition Coach.

Singer-songwriter and harpist Elizabeth J. DeAlmeida plans to use her grant funds to rent a concert hall and bring together musicians to perform a concert of eclectic music ranging from classical, jazz and R&B to folk and rock. As DeAlmeida recently noted, “This program makes my dreams come true.”

In addition to Launch1000, the Westchester County Office of Economic Development offers a suite of programs and resources to support businesses and entrepreneurs. For more information, visit westchestercatalyst.com/.

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