May 8, 2015
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Launch of $2 Million Investment Fund to Support MWBE and Small Business Growth

Governor Cuomo Announces Launch of $2 Million Investment Fund to Support MWBE and Small Business Growth

Funding will target high-tech, New York State certified minority-and-women-owned start-up firms

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the launch of a $2 million MWBE Investment Fund to provide seed financing to certified minority- and women-owned business enterprises (MWBE). Rochester-based venture capital firm Excell Partners will manage the fund, targeting its investments to high-tech MWBE start-up companies with significant growth potential in New York State.

“The launch of this first-of-its-kind investment fund will help further increase opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses in New York and help this vitally important part of this state’s economy grow,” Governor Cuomo said. “Under this administration, great strides have been made to support these businesses and encourage diversity in the private sector, and this new fund will go a long way toward making those gains permanent and building a brighter future for New York.”

Empire State Development’s (ESD) MWBE Investment Fund is an equity investment fund that was created to support innovation, job creation, and high growth entrepreneurship throughout the State. Through the Fund, Excell will invest in early stage MWBEs primarily in emerging technologies. The company will make seed and pre-seed investments in start-ups, with a focus on the fields of advanced materials, clean technology, life sciences and medical devices.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “The funding awarded to Excell Partners for the management of the state’s new New York State MWBE Investment Fund will allow for targeted assistance to our minority- and women-owned businesses. Excell Partners’ has a proven track record of investing in pre-seed stage, high-tech startup companies to help them grow and succeed in New York State. It is our hope this fund will be an additional resource for entrepreneurs, encouraging expansion and job creation throughout the state.”

New York State’s $2 million investment in Excell Partners brings the firm’s overall investment in regional small businesses to more than $14 million. Excell was also selected as a participant in the New York State Innovation Venture Capital Fund and Innovate NY Fund investment programs.

Excell CEO Theresa Mazzullo said, "I applaud Governor Cuomo for establishing an investment fund focused on minority and women owners of high-tech growth companies. Excell is proud to have been chosen to manage this important fund, and we look forward to working with our many partners across the state to make it a success."

New York State Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle said, “With the support and expertise of Excell Partners, this critical seed funding will increase opportunities for growth within our state’s innovation economy. Most importantly, minority and women-owned start-ups will have the opportunity to leverage critical funding that will provide them with access to the tools and resources they need to grow and compete in the global marketplace." Morelle also thanked Governor Cuomo, "for continuing to invest in the potential of the many hardworking entrepreneurs who are helping to build a stronger New York.”

Senator Joe Robach said, “I am proud to support any funding that will help minority- and women-owned businesses, especially in the fast-emerging high tech industry. Having known Theresa Mazzullo for many years, and knowing the proven track record and exceptional reputation of Excell Partners, I can think of no better firm to manage this important job creating fund. New York State and the Rochester region are quickly becoming leaders in high tech job creation, utilizing our highly skilled workforce, so I am certain this will be successful partnership.”

The MWBE Investment Fund is a part of Governor Cuomo’s overall economic development strategy to assist high-growth, early stage firms. The Governor launched the $50 million New York State Innovation Venture Capital Fund in December 2014 to support entrepreneurs making the transition from research to marketplace, and incentivize them to stay and grow their businesses in New York. The fund was recently expanded to $100 million. In addition, ESD also administers the State’s Innovate NY program, a seed stage business equity fund of up to $45 million to support innovation, job creation, and high growth entrepreneurship throughout the state. The Innovate NY program is expected to leverage more than $450 million in additional private investment for small businesses.

Contact the Governor's Press Office

Albany: 518.474.8418

New York City: 212.681.4640