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BUFFALO – Dustin Wilson, a Genesee County native, is returning to the area as program manager of Launch NY, a nonprofit that supports entrepreneurs across New York’s 27 westernmost counties.

“Originally, I left home because I felt like I needed to go elsewhere to get the entrepreneurial education and experience I wanted, and I am thrilled to be able to return now to join Launch NY and the Upstate New York’s growing startup ecosystem,” Wilson said in a news release.

Wilson, who has more than six years of experiencing working within and building startup companies, was most recently creative director at KnowCap Interactive in Boulder, Colo. KnowCap supports undiscovered founders from overlooked communities by providing business, product development, marketing, and fundraising services.

Wilson has designed businesses in the e-commerce, event marketing, and sustainability sectors. He received his master’s in business administration in global social and sustainable enterprise from Colorado State University.

Wilson said he is “eager to leverage my experience and passion to help grow the startup ecosystem here where I grew up, in the community I love most.”

Launch NY has also hired Betsy Lehan as grant and CRM administrator.

Lehan received a bachelor’s degree from Nazareth College and a master’s degree from the state University at Buffalo. She joins Launch NY from her previous role as a Workforce Development Program Manager at Goodwill of Western New York. She worked at the state Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics & Life Sciences at the state University at Buffalo prior to earning her master’s degree.

Marnie LaVigne, President and CEO of Launch NY, said “our region’s startup ecosystem is becoming an increasingly important factor in our ability to attract and retain talent in the globally competitive innovation economy.”

“For far too long, people like Dustin and so many others left the area to pursue career opportunities,” LaVigne said in a news release, “but today we can attract and retain this kind of talent, often drawing expats back to the area, because now we can offer them innovative careers in new economy industries and companies.”

Buffalo-based Launch NY seeks to support entrepreneurs through funding and mentorship. It mission is to identify, support and invest in high-growth, high-impact companies that can transform the local economy and catalyze the entrepreneurial culture.

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