UpstartNY: There’s a new resource for businesses on Buffalo’s East Side

The Beverly Gray Business Exchange Center, 334 East Utica Street, Buffalo. Photo by Dan Cappellazzo/Upstart New York

 

The excerpt below is from:
There’s a new resource for businesses on Buffalo’s East Side
By Jana Eisenberg

Within the Buffalo Niagara region, many positive changes are having an impact: from multimillion-dollar development projects, to an active and growing startup/tech scene. All of this finds many people, businesses, and communities experiencing growth and success. But it’s not necessarily being done inclusively, equitably, with diversity, or in every community.

That’s where the Beverly Gray Business Exchange Center comes in. The newly opened resource center on Buffalo’s East Side is an accessible hub for businesses owned by people from minority populations, women, and service-disabled veterans. The center is named after late City Councilmember Beverly A. Gray, who was a vocal community advocate.

As part of Mayor Byron Brown’s Opportunity Agenda, the Exchange has been in the works for a few years; in 2017, Next Street LLC was selected as its program operator, and the center officially opened in January 2019.

In the first three months of its existence, the center “blitzed” the East Side with a PR campaign, “meeting with over 100 businesses and groups to raise awareness of the Exchange, our services, and our role within the entrepreneurship system,” said Royce Woods, the center’s executive director.

Housed in the former North Jefferson Public Library, the building’s been freshly renovated into welcoming office space. The Exchange has staff on site to offer clients services such as business planning, education and advice, strategy assessments, and funding identification. Clients will also have access to pro bono legal, accounting, and professional services, adding to their ability to launch or continue their business. There are even nonprofit lenders in the building to assist clients with applying for the funds.

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