County Offers Program to Help Launch Home-Based Businesses or Non-Profits
Real Estate In-Depth | October 20, 2020
WHITE PLAINS—After recently launching a business loan program and a housing assistance initiative, the Westchester County Office of Economic Development on Oct. 19 announced a new program for county residents who may want to create home-based income streams, or launch new businesses or nonprofits.
The program entitled “Launch 1000” was described as an innovative, fully remote, self-paced program designed to turn concepts and ideas into business plans and startups. Born out of a global pandemic, the program offers 1,000 Westchester County residents the opportunity to gain critical business knowledge, connect with mentors and help their idea gain traction. The initiative was announced during Westchester County Executive George Latimer’s COVID-19 briefing in which he mandated masks be worn at all Westchester County schools in response to a spike in active COVID cases in Westchester.
“The pandemic has significantly impacted the ways people work and Launch 1000 is an opportunity for people to write their next chapter,” Westchester County Executive Latimer said. “Westchester County is home to a strong, supportive and resilient business community and we look forward to helping these new businesses as they launch and scale.”
He added, “Westchester County is innovative. Expanding our pool of home-based business owners and entrepreneurs will only strengthen our business community and our economy.”
County officials explained that whether an individual is in the infancy of exploring an idea, hopes to create an avenue for working from home, aspires to create a business to support and improve their local community, or already has a concrete business concept, Launch 1000 provides the tools to test ideas and move forward.
As participants move through the phases of the program, they will receive feedback and coaching from experienced entrepreneurs, as well as introductions to relevant organizations and individuals within the Westchester business community. The program is completely online, so it can be completed from the safety of home, and is open to residents anywhere in the county.
To ensure that a lack of technology does not prevent anyone from applying to the program, the Westchester County Office of Economic Development will provide laptops to residents who need them.
Bridget Gibbons, director of the County Office of Economic Development, said the Launch 1000 initiative is part of the county’s Business First suite of programs geared at assisting businesses and helping the Westchester County economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Led by entrepreneurial expert Pam Hoelzle, who has coached tens of thousands of early stage entrepreneurs, Launch 1000 requires a commitment of 10-hours per week and is designed to help businesses launch within the next six months. Interested individuals are encouraged to apply early, as those who are accepted and meet specific performance milestones by mid-December 2020 may be eligible to receive startup grants. Applications will be reviewed, and participants admitted, on a weekly basis until the 1,000 slots have been filled.
“As ‘The Catalyst’ for economic growth and vitality, we are always looking for new and innovative ways to support our local workforce,” Deborah Novick, Westchester County’s Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, said. “With Launch 1000, we hope to jumpstart 1,000 new businesses, providing new income streams for people who want to work for themselves, work from home, or launch a new business and control their economic future. This program teaches invaluable skills and helps aspiring business owners take key steps to turn their concept into a viable venture.”
The Launch 1000 program will begin in mid-November. Applications will open soon. Potential participants can learn more about Launch1000 and sign up to receive a notification when the application period opens by visiting: WestchesterCatalyst.com/Launch1000. Individuals who are interested in supporting Launch1000 by mentoring participants during weekly roundtables should contact Deborah Novick at 914-995-2998.