The Westchester County Association Has Raised Over $200 Million for the Blueprint Accelerator Network to Spur Economic Growth and Foster Entrepreneurism in the Region
Small businesses generate 65 percent of all new jobs in the U.S., and hire 43 percent of high-tech workers such as scientists, engineers, and computer programmers. Yet start-up companies face significant challenges. Small businesses rely heavily upon owner investment and bank credit, with only about a quarter of all new start-ups surviving 15 years or more. Recognizing this, as well as the potential for entrepreneurship to super-charge the local economy, the Westchester County Association is now accepting applications from businesses across all industry sectors for its innovative Blueprint Accelerator Network.
With over $200 million in support for early-stage companies with significant growth potential, the Blueprint Accelerator Network combines Westchester’s prime business resources – debt and seed financing, top professional services, office space, and mentors – into one attractive package.
Accepted companies must commit to remain in Westchester following their “graduation” from the Network. In exchange, the companies receive access to debt and seed capital, commercial space that matches their needs and a variety of business-critical services including:
- Accounting/Financial Advice
- Marketing and Public Relations
In addition, companies in the Blueprint Accelerator Network receive access to the rich intellectual capital of Westchester’s colleges and universities.
Interested parties should apply to the Blueprint Accelerator Network by visiting www.blueprintaccelerator.com.
“We are pleased to invite the best and brightest emerging companies to become part of our Blueprint Accelerator Network,” said William M. Mooney, Jr., President of the Westchester County Association. “With an aggressive timeline and over $200 million in debt financing and in-kind services, our partners are prepared to offer entrepreneurs worldwide the support they need to transform their companies into the established, successful enterprises of tomorrow.”
‘Accelerating’ economic activity in Westchester
Funded by the private sector through the Westchester County Association’s Blueprint for Westchester initiative, the Blueprint Accelerator Network is governed by a diverse committee of proven business leaders. A Selection Committee, which includes experts in venture capital, business acceleration, and innovation, will review applications now through October 15, when the first finalists will be identified and invited into the program.
Successful applicants must meet or exceed the committee’s guidelines in five key areas:
- Development Stage – Accelerator companies should be less than five years old with their core product developed, and expect to be in the market within 0-18 months;
- Market – The company’s market should be definable, large and with continuing growth potential;
- Management Team – The company’s leadership team should be knowledgeable and deeply committed to the success of the business;
- Need – The Accelerator company should be in a position to benefit from the services provided by the Network and able to take the business to the next stage;
- Preferred Characteristics - Applicants must have a business plan with reasonable financial projections. The applicant should be focused on a targeted industry with a company that is scalable and has potential to increase employment in Westchester County.
“A major achievement of the Blueprint’s first year was the creation of the Blueprint Accelerator Network,” said Marissa Brett, Executive Director of Economic Development for the WCA. “Today’s call for business plans is another example of the Blueprint’s positive momentum. Our collaborative approach to growing Westchester’s economy is gaining traction. The Accelerator Network will truly help us further that goal.”
Accelerators vs. incubators
Unlike small business incubators, which offer centralized office space and shared services to startup companies, The Blueprint Accelerator Network operates as a “boot camp” for early-stage companies. The hope is to grow portfolio companies, and thereby expand employment and economic activity in Westchester County. After a highly selective process, companies receive access to capital and business services, partnerships with universities, and opportunities to work with established organizations in the early-stage company’s field. Once the company reaches the next stage of growth, it graduates and a new early-stage start-up will take its place.
“The Accelerator Network will speed the growth of its chosen companies, and thereby energize employment opportunities and economic activity in Westchester County,” explained Nicholas Puro, Co-Chair of The Blueprint for Westchester’s Entrepreneurial Work Group, which spearheaded the launch of the Blueprint Accelerator Network. “We expect to be working with five, young companies by year-end and look forward to their contributions to Westchester, the next entrepreneurial epicenter.”
Partners in the Blueprint Accelerator Network include: BioMed Realty; Bleakley Platt & Schmidt, LLP; Celestial Capital; Community Mutual Savings Bank; Compufit; Cuddy & Feder, LLP; George Comfort and Sons; Greater Hudson Bank; Harrison Edwards PR, Inc.; Heritage Realty; Heyman Properties; Key Bank; Mack-Cali Realty; Mahopac National Bank; M & T Bank; Normandy Real Estate Partners; O’Connor Davies LLP; Provident Bank; Reckson, a Division of SL Green Realty Corp.; RPW Group; and The Westchester Bank.
About The Blueprint for Westchester
The Blueprint for Westchester (www.blueprintforwestchester.com) is the Westchester County Association’s aggressive campaign to revitalize Westchester’s economy in collaboration with the county’s real estate, business, and academic sectors, and strong participation from Westchester’s six cities and County government. This multi-million dollar, multi-year initiative has been organized and driven by the private sector. Westchester is home to a highly educated workforce, a multi-billion dollar healthcare system, and internationally renowned cultural and recreational offerings. And with magnificent parks and preserves, excellent schools, beautiful communities, and highly-touted restaurants and retail establishments, Westchester cannot be beat in terms of our lifestyle.
About the Westchester County Association
The Westchester County Association (www.westchester.org) is the preeminent business membership organization in Westchester County. The Association is committed to business advocacy, economic vitality and to providing a strong and clear voice for the interests of businesses on the regional, national and international levels. Its key objectives are promoting positive economic development in the region; fostering business development; and providing its members with access and interaction with key public and private sector individuals, agencies and organizations.