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WIN Program’s First Year Logs Impressive Accomplishments

Participants and sponsors at the WIN Showcase held Nov. 29 at the Westchester Marriott

The BCW’s Westchester Innovation Network (WIN) logged impressive accomplishments in its inaugural year.

Launched at the end of 2021, WIN is a program aimed at driving economic development, innovation, and growth within Westchester County. Throughout 2022, WIN attracted 14 innovators based in the United States and Canada who were matched with local companies to test new products, services, and technologies.

“Our goal with WIN is to build strong and economically vibrant communities by attracting thought leaders and futurists to our county. At the same time, we showcased Westchester as a place to build, grow, test, and explore innovation,” said Dr. Marsha Gordon, president and CEO of The Business Council of Westchester.  “We are focused on embracing innovative companies to learn from and to get them to grow and stay here in Westchester.”

Throughout 2022, several WIN participants received national attention for new products, growth, and awards. The achievements included:

The self-service insurance management company Ferro announced that it will develop a new product for medium and small businesses after successfully testing its services with the Rey Insurance Agency in Sleepy Hollow. The new product—Ferro Lite—will target smaller businesses to meet their specific needs within the context of their insurance brokerage.

The health education tech company Lessonbee won a $100,000 award from the Google for Startups Initiative. Based in Mount Vernon, N.Y., Lessonbee was matched with the Yonkers Housing Authority, which is also working with several other WIN participants.

ConConnect, a networking and employment platform for the formerly incarcerated, worked with the Yonkers Housing Authority to deliver services to its residents. ConConnect’s work gained national attention in 2022 with a feature story on CNN that highlighted efforts to help the formerly incarcerated find jobs.

ShelterZoom, a leading provider of smart documents, expanded its operations with new offices in Europe. The company tested its technology with the law firms Fullerton Beck and Dorf & Nelson as part of ShelterZoom’s effort to introduce document security to the legal sector.

The WIN initiative also launched its CityLabs program, an effort that spotlights a host community and teams that municipality with individuals focused on identifying projects to assist in delivering immediate economic benefit to that community and its residents through innovation.

Students at Iona University first teamed with Mount Vernon’s economic development officials to help minority- and women-owned enterprises secure more municipal contracts. The Iona students then teamed with the Yonkers Housing Authority to study heat-island effects in the authority’s residences and brainstorm ideas to help the authority and its residents devise solutions.

WIN also launched international collaborations with Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada and the MATI business development center in Israel.

The work with Wilfrid Laurier University began early in 2022 with the match of two early-stage startups founded by Laurier students with local partners. Wilfrid Laurier University will work with Iona University to produce a roadmap for transforming Westchester County into a hotspot that attracts and nurtures innovative companies.

MATI is a not-for-profit organization that helps aspiring entrepreneurs open new businesses and expand existing ones in all fields. MATI will work with WIN to develop a strategic alliance with the goal of connecting Israel’s innovation culture with Westchester County.

Can Your Business Benefit from WIN?

The Business Council of Westchester is committed to helping entrepreneurs bring their ideas to life. Building on the successes of 2022, the WIN program is now embarking on its second year and is ready to accept applications for 2023.

If you are interested in participating in this exciting program, please fill out the following form — WIN 2023 Application — and email it to Luis Aragon at laragon@thebcw.org.

Founding sponsors of the WIN program include:

  • Montefiore
  • Regeneron
  • Westchester County Office of Economic Development
  • KeyBank
  • Robert Martin Company
  • Simone Development Companies
  • Municipal Housing Authority for the City of Yonkers
  • Verizon
  • Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts
  • Dorf & Nelson

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