Canisius University Women’s Business Center Receives Grant from First Niagara Foundation

July 15, 2020

BUFFALO, NY – KeyBank, in partnership with the First Niagara Foundation, has awarded the Women’s Business Center (WBC) at Canisius University a $25,000 grant.  The grant will be used to support the WBC’s “Launch” and “Grow” programs, which support women of all backgrounds and experiences through the steps of business establishment and early stage women-owned businesses through strategic expansion.  The lack of such an intensive, long-term program in Western New York for start-up businesses led the development of these two unique programs at Canisius.

The “Launch” and “Grow” programs each include 10 to 11 monthly sessions at which participants cover new topics in the business development timeline and refine their personal business goals. Participants can also work individually with a team of business counselors with whom the WBC is partnered.  This team includes counselors from the WNY Law Center, Consumer Credit Counseling Services and Procurement Technical Assistance Center. “Launch” and “Grow” program participants become full WBC members, which allow them to attend supplementary networking and programming sessions.

“We at KeyBank are proud to partner with Canisius University to help provide women entrepreneurs with the resources and training necessary to launch successful businesses,” said Elizabeth Gurney, executive director of the KeyBank and First Niagara Foundations.

The Women’s Business Center at Canisius University empowers entrepreneurs to succeed and grow their businesses through education and engagement with and in the community.  The professionals at the WBC work with women business owners at every stage of their business growth to help them build relationships with experts and agencies in the area, and to bring a wide and strong network of support to the business owners.  It develops leaders by fostering opportunities and building collaboration.  As reported by the WBC in its 2018-2019 Impact Report, the center assisted 286 distinct clients that year, supported 363 jobs, helped launch 19 new businesses and contributed to $3.89 million in revenue growth.

The First Niagara Foundation exists to carry out the philanthropic legacy of First Niagara Bank by supporting not for profit organizations dedicated to empowering individuals and neighborhoods primarily in Western New York.  All grants are made in partnership with KeyBank and will be focused on education, workforce and mentoring with limited support for select mentoring programs located in the former First Niagara Bank footprint.  As a spend down foundation with a limited lifespan, we will continue to make grants until 2022.  For more information:

One of 27 Jesuit universities, Canisius is the premier private university in Western New York. Canisius celebrates its sesquicentennial anniversary during the 2019-20 academic year, marking 150 years of Jesuit education and leadership in the city of Buffalo and Western New York. Click here for more information about Canisius’ milestones and celebratory events.