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M&T foundation awards grant to boost upstate startups

Launch New York has been awarded $100,000 from the M&T Charitable Foundation.

Launch NY aids entrepreneurs through one-on-one pro bono support before, during and after they receive investment capital. The grant promotes potential high-growth entrepreneurs in Upstate New York through seed funding and pro bono business mentoring programs.

“M&T’s $100,000 grant will help Launch NY provide equal access to best practices in business mentoring and seed capital for all high-growth entrepreneurs, and will build and expand on its successful track record of helping innovative startups grow into economically viable businesses that create jobs and economic vitality,” said Shelley Drake, president of the M&T Charitable Foundation, in a statement.

High-growth potential companies receive coaching based on best practices from 18 Launch NY entrepreneurs-in-residences in Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse and Ithaca, along with nearly 2000 experts available through its National Mentor Network. In 2016 Launch NY added its new Seed Fund, which has made 16 investments in 12 companies in just over a year.

The grant already has provided support for Upstart NY, a new publication centered on entrepreneurship in Western New York. The purpose of the magazine is to encourage awareness, interest and participation in entrepreneurship in this region.

“Our experience working with many of Upstate New York’s most promising startups has allowed us to really hone in on specific obstacles they face in getting their businesses off the ground and on track for growth,” said Marnie LaVigne, president and CEO of Launch NY. “M&T Bank’s support will help us accelerate our game-changing support services and seed funding that remove these obstacles and give our startups competitive advantage.”

M&T Bank is the market share leader in the Rochester area.

(c) 2017 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-363-7269 or email


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