Release Date: April 25, 2022
BUFFALO, N.Y. — A roundtable discussion on April 21 brought leaders in the local startup scene together to discuss a crucial issue: how to work together to build an inclusive entrepreneurial community in Western New York.
Blackstone LaunchPad at the University at Buffalo convened the discussion as part of a series of activities associated with UB’s 2022 Henry A. Panasci Jr. Technology Entrepreneurship Competition (Panasci TEC).
Organizers hope the event will be the first in a regular, ongoing series, says Hadar Borden, director of Blackstone LaunchPad at UB, and of the Western New York Prosperity Fellowship Program.
Meeting at The Exchange at Beverly Gray in Buffalo, invited participants included representatives from companies, incubators and organizations that are engaged within the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
LaTanya White, PhD — Fulbright specialist, TEDx speaker, strategist and expert on equity in entrepreneurship — traveled to Buffalo to facilitate the conversation, and to serve as a judge and the keynote speaker for Panasci TEC.
The roundtable covered challenges that can block change, and how Western New York’s entrepreneurial community can collaborate to support diverse founders. White also discussed the Black entrepreneurial experience, drawing on her work as founder and principal consultant for Concept Creative Group, a technical assistance firm focused on business development, capacity building and Dynastic Wealth™ transfer for Black entrepreneurs.
“The work that Hadar and the UB LaunchPad team are doing to effect change around equity in entrepreneurship is leading-edge. She and her team are going beyond merely convening ecosystem partners to immersing them in the entrepreneurial journey of historically underrepresented groups. This level of awareness creates lasting change and measurable outcomes across the board,” White said.
Borden says one major goal of the roundtable is to jumpstart a continuing conversation in Western New York.
“We intend for this discussion to serve as a catalyst to convene on a regular basis to collaborate and support one another in the important work of creating an inclusive entrepreneurial community for all,” Borden says. “As our ecosystem continues to seek opportunities to engage and cultivate entrepreneurs of color, we are working to be sure that our community’s programs, policies and support are aligned across the ecosystem and are formulated from evidence-based research.”
Panasci TEC is organized by Blackstone LaunchPad in partnership with the UB School of Management and UB Office of Business and Entrepreneur Partnerships, and is funded with a $1 million endowment from the late Henry A. Panasci Jr. to facilitate and promote the commercialization of UB-generated technologies.