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County Business Association Launches 'Accelerator Network'

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Mary and Ernie Molina, a North Salem couple expanding their homegrown Lola Granola Bar company to a larger-scale Westchester business, said they were eager to enlist in a new Westchester County Association program designed to assist entrepreneurs.

"When we started looking for larger space to produce the granola bar and to start manufacturing, we were directed out of Westchester," said Mary Molina. "I want to stay in Westchester County. This is where I live. This is where I raised my family. And I would also like to help the community. We donate granola bars for the Food Bank for Westchester."

Hearing about the legal services, accounting assistance, retail space search advice and entrepreneurial tips the Westchester County Association's "accelerator network" offers, "was just amazing," according to Mary Molina.

The Westchester County Association, a business organization focused on driving economic development in Westchester, announced Thursday it had expanded on its "blueprint for Westchester" with a business incubator program backed by local mayors, 14 colleges, accounting and legal firms and venture capitalists willing to pitch in financing, billable hours and a collective $150 million.

"We created the blueprint accelerator network as a way to spur entrepreneurial growth and spur the business giants of tomorrow right here in Westchester. We’re going to position Westchester to compete with the likes of Silicon Valley and the research triangle," said Nick Puro, who helped organize the accelerator network.

The accelerator network will begin interviewing businesses with a "solid value proposition" that are "just getting started" in the third quarter. Once selected, entrepreneurs will get connected to venture capitalists, marketing and tech help, mentoring program invitations and more. In exchange, owners will have to commit to stay in Westchester for a period, which the association has not yet determined. The Westchester County Association claims the accelerator network will help create "thousands of jobs in Westchester."

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