Buffalo, NY—Mayor Byron W. Brown announced the creation of a new Minority-Owned Business Support Program which will be administered by the Beverly Gray Business Exchange Center(BGBEC). This is the third program he has introduced as part of the Buffalo Transformation Fund, which is the vehicle the City has created to allocate its direct allocation from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.
Mayor Brown said, “Supporting entrepreneurship in Buffalo’s Black and brown communities is a pathway to wealth creation for the residents of these neighborhoods and setting the foundation for a new, stronger economy for the City. My Administration recognized this fact when we opened the Beverly Gray Business Exchange Center, created the City’s first MWBE contract participation goals, and launched initiatives like the ‘Buy Black Buffalo Week.’ These types of investments in minority-owned businesses are critical to Buffalo’s future prosperity and maintaining the progress we have made in strengthening our City’s fiscal situation.”
Congressman Brian Higgins said, “The business and workforce dynamic has shifted due to the pandemic. Through this initiative, led by Mayor Brown and supported by federal funding included in the American Rescue Plan, existing and aspiring minority-owned business owners will have access to training, guidance and resources critical to driving job and economic growth in Buffalo.”
This $3.5 million will fund several programs administered by the BGBEC, including, grants to existing minority-owned businesses, technical assistance to new entrepreneurs, MWBE certification assistance, and funding to support and attract new minority-owned start-up companies. The goal is to work with individual companies and entrepreneurs to identify the support they need, whether it is technical or financial, and then use the Buffalo Transformation Fund’s flexible nature to address the need.
Another portion will fund a start-up incubator and attraction program. Creating new businesses and attracting others from outside the region will diversify the local minority owned business community, help create a critical mass of employers that can fill commercial corridors, and provide younger college graduates of color different career paths and job opportunities which will help them stay in the region.
Derrick Parson, the Executive Director of the Beverly Grey Business Exchange Center, said, “The $3.5 Million fund that Mayor Brown is allocating to support Black and Brown entrepreneurs in the City of Buffalo comes at an amazing time. Buffalo’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is taking off. We are seeing businesses in all industries accelerate and technology is playing a key role. But for it to truly be representative of the diversity that exist within the community, we must help nurture and develop those Black and Brown entrepreneurs with incredible
ideas, as well as help to accelerate existing businesses who are a few steps away from amazing outcomes. We at the Beverly Gray are excited to be administering this fund and are poised to not only help Black and Brown entrepreneurs scale locally but also shine a nationwide spotlight on Buffalo as the next entrepreneurial hotspot that everyone should flock to.”
People can learn more about the Buffalo Transformation Fund and provide feedback on the activities they would like to see funded through the American Rescue Plan by visiting the City’s website: www.buffalony.gov and visiting the Transformation Fund page.