WEDC seeking new, emerging entrepreneurs

COURTESY OF WAYNE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
Stock photo.

The Wayne Economic Development Corporation will help kick start local startups with another round of programs for new and emerging entrepreneurs.  

This year, there are two opportunities for entrepreneurs where applicants are eligible to enter the Wayne County Startup Pitch Competition or a Microburst combined grant and loan program. Applicants cannot apply for both programs at the same time, but could receive $25,000 for the winning business pitch or up to $40,000 in a Microburst grant-loan award. 

“Now, more than ever, we need to be supporting entrepreneurship and assisting with economic recovery,” director Brian Pincelli said. “These programs are intended to help boost our local economies by supporting local entrepreneurs and assisting them in taking the next steps.” 

Being held for the third consecutive year, the Startup Pitch Competition is open to all county residents with a business in the concept stage, or with less than three years in operation and less than $250,000 in annual revenue.  

Applicants must provide an executive summary of their business plan and complete at least one business counseling class before applying. After the initial round of scoring from a panel of independent judges, the finalist will be invited to pitch their business to a panel of judges at a live event. The winner will receive $25,000 to help kick start their new business. The application deadline is Sept. 21. 

New this year, the Microburst program requires a business to be in operation less than one year and is open to all county residents. This program offers a 1-to-1 grant and loan combo ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 for each part of the funding.  

Applicants are required to submit a full business plan, as well as complete a series of online business counseling classes provided by SCORE of Greater Rochester. Eligible uses of funds includes furniture, fixtures, equipment, working capital, inventory and employee training expenses, but cannot be used for construction costs. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until funds are expended. 

“We encourage Wayne County residents to follow their entrepreneurial spirit and apply for one of these KickStart programs,” deputy director Katie Bronson said. “There is some work involved, but this is a great opportunity to learn how to take a business concept to market and to get expert advice and funding along the way.”  

Call 315-946-5919 or visit wedcny.com for information.