Creating Opportunity: Launch 1000 and Business First

Launch 1000

During a time where nearly one in five U.S. businesses will fail within their first year of operations, entrepreneurs need working capital now more than ever. As a mission-driven small business lender, Community Capital New York (CCNY) not only provides small business loans and technical assistance but also administers important economic development programs for different municipalities including Westchester County. Since 2020, CCNY has partnered with the Westchester County Office of Economic Development to administer their Launch 1000 program to “launch” 1,000 Westchester entrepreneurs and their new businesses. The Launch 1000 program was established in 2020 in response to the significant economic disruption caused by COVID-19, with the goal of enabling 1,000 Westchester residents to start a business or develop an income stream for themselves and their families. The program is designed to help residents evaluate an idea, test it with potential customers, and see if it seems likely to succeed. During 2021, over 200 Launchers completed the program and most have launched their ventures. “Launch1000 is an ‘idea accelerator’, designed to provide step by step, immersive, action-based learning to de-risk any new business idea before going to market. It works for products, services, social enterprises, nonprofits, small local business ideas and large global business ideas.” Within this program, new or existing entrepreneurs have expanded their ventures by completing a series of classes. Once they completed their community forums, live workshops, and online learning cohorts (also available in Spanish), they became eligible to receive a grant from Westchester County.

Business First

CCNY is proud of our continued work with the Westchester County Office of Economic Development in administering the County’s “Business First” program. Business First was designed to provide financial assistance to businesses, nonprofit organizations, and religious organizations impacted negatively by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the latest round of Business First, Westchester County has provided grants up to $45,000 to 162 nonprofit organizations.
In June 2022, CCNY held webinars with Nonprofit Westchester for the latest round of Business First grant recipients to guide them through the documentation process to receive their grant funds. There were 160 nonprofit organizations which attended these webinars.

What’s Next?

Thanks to CCNY Vice President Veronica Colman, these programs are making a significant impact in supporting businesses and important nonprofit organizations in Westchester County. We are thrilled to be supporting incredible entrepreneurs and nonprofits. Whether it is through access to capital, instructional webinars, or simple calls with loan clients, we are constantly striving to find innovative ways to tap into our mission of creating opportunity and a more inclusive economy.