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News Release: WNY Be In Business

May 1, 2023
CONTACT: Peter Anderson /
Phone: (716)858-8500 / Mobile: (716) 270-7842
Erie County Office of Economic Development, Amherst Chamber of Commerce, partners launch initiative to grow small business
National Small Business Week is April 30 - May 6
ERIE COUNTY, NY— Small business entrepreneurs will find help in growing their dreams thanks to the WNY Be In Business digital concierge service, a small-business initiative that will connect emerging entrepreneurs with the resources they need to start, grow, and sustain their business. Developed by the Erie County Office of Economic Development in close partnership with the Amherst Chamber of Commerce, the service will act as a resource navigator to provide guidance, answer questions, and help small business owners become successful. Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz joined Erie County Legislature Chairwoman April Baskin, Amherst Chamber of Commerce President & CEO A.J. Baynes, members of the Business Task Force, program participants and entrepreneurs at the Foundry, a light manufacturing and small business incubator on Buffalo’s East Side, to announce it today.
“This week we are celebrating National Small Business Week, and there’s no better kick off than the launch of WNY Be In Business, where current business owners and those looking to become first-time entrepreneurs can connect with community partners and resources to start or grow their local business,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “During the height of the COVID pandemic, our Erie County Business Task Force recognized the lack of a unified business resource hub and those conversations paid off with the brand new website. I want to thank Erie County’s Department of Environment and Planning and our partners, especially the Amherst Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Development Center at Buffalo State University for bringing WNY Be In Business to fruition.”  
Erie County invested $80,000 to fund the startup of the WNY Be In Business initiative, with critical additional funding supplied by the Wilson Foundation, National Grid, the Erie County Industrial Development Agency (“ECIDA”), and Evans Bank. The program is administered by the Buffalo State University Small Business Development Center.
Emerging entrepreneurs seeking information on business plan development, certification & procurement, financial assistance, incubator space, legal services, mentoring/counseling, networking, research, and training can access a network of over three dozen local organizations that can offer guidance in one or several of these areas at  .   
“Support services for our current businesses, as well as new businesses yet to be established, are available. Sometimes business owners didn’t know where to seek guidance, and to finally have a central location where the entire community can contribute and share for collaborative growth is significant,” said A.J.  Baynes, President and CEO of the Amherst Chamber of Commerce.
“The WNY Be in Business resource navigator will be an invaluable tool for the many entrepreneurs that my center assists.  We are excited to have this in place,” said Dr. Susan McCartney, Director of the Buffalo State University Small Business Development Center.
“This initiative is also a prime example of how the Office of Economic Development has continued the spirit of collaboration that was so vital during the height of the pandemic through the Business Task Force,” said Tuona Batchelor, Director of Business Assistance for the Office of Economic Development. “Our office coordinates with all of our business industry partners on a regular basis and will continue to do so as we seek to boost local business and help small business succeed in Erie County.”
National Small Business Week is celebrated from April 30 – May 6 by the U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) and recognizes the contributions of American entrepreneurs and small business owners.
    For more information:
    On the Erie County Dept. of Environment and Planning, visit
    On the Amherst Chamber of Commerce, visit 
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