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Westchester County Office of Economic Development Awards Grants to 218 Launch1000 Graduates

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The Westchester County Office of Economic Development is pleased to announce that 218 graduates from Launch1000, a self-paced, online program that turns concepts and ideas into de-risked startups, have each earned a $2,500 grant for completing the program. Of those Launchers, nearly three-quarters qualified to receive an additional $2,500 grant for achieving key milestones for advancing the growth of their venture. This grant funding represents a $940,000 investment in helping new businesses and nonprofits to launch and scale.

County Executive George Latimer said: “Launch1000 has paved the way for a diverse community of businesses and nonprofits who represent a strong component of Westchester’s vibrant startup community. Westchester County is invested in the success of entrepreneurs and this financial investment in 218 new entities is an extension of that commitment.”

Westchester County’s Director of Economic Development, Bridget Gibbons, said: “At the core of Launch1000 is a focus on financial sustainability. Beyond education and mentorship, we are helping new entities to defray startup costs through this grant program and encouraging them to invest in the certifications, assets and talent that will allow them to maintain a competitive advantage in the years to come.”

Westchester County’s Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Deborah Novick, said: “Many of our Launch1000 graduates are already generating revenue and positively impacting both our local economy and our communities. We are proud to invest in the next generation of small businesses, nonprofits and scalable startups, allowing them to make an optimal impact in Westchester County and maximize their local, national or global growth potential.”

A few examples of how Launchers are using their grants:

Launcher Jan Mercer Dahms is using her grant money to reinvest back into the Westchester County ecosystem, directly hiring service providers and start-ups that have also graduated from the Launch1000 program.

Launcher Erica Christ is the founder of FMR Wellness Inc, Fuel Move Recover, which integrates nutrition and Pilates to help people perform optimally, prevent injury and heal faster post operatively. She is using her grant money to finish developing an app which will allow her to scale her business from one site, to multiple units.

Launcher Marianne Campolongo, founder of Marianne Campolongo Photography, used part of her grant to purchase new photography equipment, including a camera that allows her to take panoramic images that can be used in murals and other installations. Campolongo’s business offers fine art landscape and nature photographs to hospitals, senior living, and other healthcare providers based on the principles of evidence-based design. Studies show photos of nature help reduce stress for patients, staff and visitors and may even improve patient outcomes.

Launcher Paula Gladstone, founder of Fill Up on Healthy is using some of her grant funds to enroll in a prestigious program to become a Certified Nutrition Coach.

Singer-Songwriter and Harpist Elizabeth J. DeAlmeida plans to use her grant funds to rent a concert hall and bring together musicians to perform a concert of eclectic music ranging from classical, jazz and R&B to folk and rock. As DeAlmeida recently noted, “This program is making my dreams come true.”

In addition to Launch1000, the Westchester County Office of Economic Development offers a suite of programs and resources to support businesses and entrepreneurs including: Westchester County Biosciences Accelerator, Element 46 Incubator, the RXR Volunteer Program, and other programs.

A full directory of businesses and nonprofits who have graduated from Launch1000 is available at:


The Westchester County Office of Economic Development works to improve the County’s economic well-being and quality of life. This includes a broad range of activities to attract, create and retain jobs, and to foster a resilient, pro-growth and inclusive economy. For information, visit

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