Published November 24, 2023

UB's Cultivator program becomes major part of startup support system

As reported by the Buffalo News, the University at Buffalo's Cultivator program has become a significant link to the chain of support for startups in Western New York and is part of UB's efforts to boost the area's startup ecosystem.

Hennesys Disla, founder of ArmHug, has relocated to Buffalo to take advantage of Cultivator, a program that provides mentorship and funding to scalable startups in the region. She saw coming to the area as an opportunity to scale her business. "It's been really fruitful to see how the business has grown and moving to Buffalo has helped a lot," she said.

Cultivator aims to democratize access to funding and prepare companies for future investment. Startups participating in Cultivator receive a $100,000 investment from UB to help them meet early milestones, gain proven traction, create a larger pipeline, and connect with other startup supporters in the local ecosystem.

Mercedes Wilson, founder of Sadie's Foods, used her Cultivator investment toward increasing production capacity of her product and get Sadie's Relish into more stores — currently in close to 130 retailers including Tops and Wegmans. "Every day, I'm thankful for this program. It opens doors," she said.

Company founders are also encouraged to think bigger, according to Disla. She'll soon start focusing on global growth after raising another round of funding. Her sales have quadrupled over the past few months. "They're very future focused," she said.

Kevin MacVittie, founder of V-Markings, joined Cultivator a few months after moving back to the area. Even after graduating from the program, he continues to collaborate with other founders from Cultivator and receive advice from his mentors. "The opportunity to meet other people in the same space has been fantastic," he said. "We made it through this program and got the support we needed while doing it."

Read the full story here.