Buffalo Next: Why the Wilson Foundation is funding Buffalo Niagara’s startup ecosystem |

Why invest philanthropic dollars in startups?

The foundation’s investment aims to make Western New York a place where founders of innovative startups can successfully start or grow a business.

If that’s not possible in Buffalo, people will “let their ideas die on the vine or leave the area and take those jobs elsewhere,” Launch NY President and CEO Marine LaVigne said in the photo .

In 2020, there were about 18,330 jobs available in Western New York at venture-backed startups, according to a study from the National Venture Capital Association, Venture Forward, and the Institute for Private Enterprise and Research at the University of North Carolina at Kenan. This represents approximately 1 in 28 jobs in the Buffalo Niagara region.

This same study found that employment in venture capital-backed companies is growing eight times faster than employment in traditional companies.

That’s why the Wilson Foundation makes it a priority to invest in organizations such as Launch NY, 43North and Endeavor Western New York, foundation officials said.

“When you have business growth, you have jobs,” said Jim Boyle, who is the foundation’s vice president of programs and communications.