News and Announcements

WEDC's panel discussion: “Cyber Security for Small Businesses” with New York State Assemblyman Steve Otis

“WEDC co-sponsored a panel discussion entitled “Cyber Security for Small Businesses” with  New York State Assemblyman Steve Otis. The presenters reviewed practical , pro-active and cost effective strategies that every small business can employ to protect sensitive business and customer data.

A detailed powerpoint of the discussion used during the presentation:Small%20Business%20%26%20Economic%20Development%20Forum%20-%20Privacy%2C%20Security%20%26%20ID%20Theft%20Prevention%20%2810-21-14%29.ppt

The presentation by the Better Business Bureau was particularly on target for  small businesses and of critical importance to ensure that a company is not at risk of having sensitive data stolen; from internal or external sources.   This power point presentation that can be quickly reviewed  to make sure that good procedures are in place in your company. The speaker from the  NYS Attorney General’s Office made it clear that small businesses are targets also, not just the Home Depot’s  of the world.

For further information see the attached link:


Bazan and Geraci-Miranda join WEDC

The Women’s Enterprise Development Center (WEDC) is pleased to announce that Veronica Bazan of Thornwood and Lucille Geraci-Miranda of Peekskill have joined the organization. Veronica has become its full-time Program Specialist and Business Counselor, and Lucille is now Director of Development.

Veronica Bazan came to WEDC in June 2013 as a consultant and has now become a full-time staff member.  She has a strong background in small business, teaching, and microlending. Prior to joining WEDC, Veronica worked as a bilingual analyst at Accion East and Online, where she helped small business owners prepare and procure loans. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration with a concentration in entrepreneurship from the Gabelli School of Business at Fordham University. Veronica also holds a bachelor’s degree in education from the Instituto Superior de Formacion Docente in her home country of Argentina.

According to WEDC’s Executive Director Anne M. Janiak, “Veronica has become an invaluable addition to our staff. She has helped to grow our Spanish program, and enabled us to provide in-house loan counseling and assistance with NYS Minority/Women Business Enterprise (M/WBE) certification. Her ability to provide these services is critical and can significantly advance the growth of our clients’ businesses.”

As WEDC’s Director of Development, Lucille Geraci-Miranda brings with her the expertise she developed during her extensive career in corporate public affairs, nonprofit management, academia, volunteer leadership, and consulting.  Lucille is the founder of Geranda Projects, an initiative that offers guidance to community and nonprofit organizations that need assistance on a project basis.

Lucille holds a Master of Public Administration and Nonprofit Management degree from Pace University and a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Concordia College.  She has served as an adjunct professor in the Graduate Program for Media and Communication Arts at Pace University and was co-president of the Association of Development Officers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of fundraising and philanthropy in the Hudson Valley region.

“Lucille has been part of the Hudson Valley’s philanthropic community for more than 13 years.  Her knowledge and experience in development will be of great benefit to our organization,” said Janiak.  “We are very pleased to welcome Lucille and Veronica to the WEDC team.”


WEDC Inaugurates New Corporate Mentoring Program with IBM Skills-based Volunteers

Women entrepreneurs will gain high-level advice from IBM volunteer consultants during a speed mentoring event on Thursday, April 10, from 8 to 10:30 a.m. at IBM Somers, when the company will also celebrate 10 years of its award-winning corporate volunteer initiative called IBM On Demand Community.

Billed as "Big Business Meets Small Business," the event is a collaboration between IBM volunteers who are subject matter experts in business, and the Women's Enterprise Development Center (WEDC), which is initiating WEDC’s new Corporate Mentoring Program. Approximately 25 women owners of small area businesses will meet one-on-one with the IBM experts to find answers to their marketing, finance, business planning and social media challenges. They will also have 2 to 4 additional follow-up mentoring sessions with the IBM volunteers during the next two months.

“For the past 17 years, WEDC has helped small businesses grow and thrive,” said WEDC Executive Director Anne M. Janiak. “Our collaboration with IBM will provide local entrepreneurs with knowledgeable mentors, helping their businesses to develop long term resilience and sustainability.”

Among the small business owners receiving advice from the IBM mentors will be Diana Scott Sho, owner of the Luscious Little Dessert Company, who needs advice on moving her products to a more upscale market; Ibanessa Hogan, owner of Masterpiece Accounting Services, who needs help marketing to corporations, and Kendra Porter, an image consultant for plus-size women, whose business is moving into a growth phase and she needs help understanding the learning curve.


Barbara Venturi wins 2013 Lillian Vernon Award

Barbara Venturi, of Armonk, is the 2013 winner of the prestigious Lillian Vernon Award for Community Service.  Ms. Venturi is a co-founder and managing partner of AMBAR Realty Group, LLC, a commercial real estate firm specializing in global tenant representation, and account management for corporations with multi-market acquisition and disposition assignments. She has been involved in various sectors of the real estate industry, including leasing, strategic planning, finance, and development, for over twenty years.

Ms. Venturi has been an active and dedicated WEDC volunteer for many years and has served as its President for the last three years. In that role she has provided outstanding leadership and guidance to the organization. However, what makes her a most deserving recipient of the Lillian Vernon Award is her lifelong commitment to mentoring and inspiring countless number of women entrepreneurs. By giving generously of her time and expertise to build a strong community of women business owners, Ms. Venturi has become a role model for all who care about women's entrepreneurship.

The Lillian Vernon Award will be presented to Ms. Venturi at WEDC’s 15th annual Women's Business Networking Event on Tuesday, November 19 at 5:30pm at Graziella's Bistro in White Plains. For additional information, go to


WEDC Awarded SBA Funding to Provide Assistance to Sandy Impacted Businesses

New Services Added to Assist Lower Hudson Valley Entrepreneurs

More than six months have passed since Superstorm Sandy and many Lower Hudson Valley companies are still struggling to recover.  To aid in the recovery process, the US Small Business Administration (SBA) awarded a Disaster Relief grant to the Women’s Enterprise Development Center Inc.  read more



Congratulations to WEDC's 2013 LEAP Award Winners! $5,000 grants were awarded to:

  • Cary and Meryl Gabeler
    Anjolie Ayurveda
    Natural body care line and perfumes
  • Viviana Kaffury
    Kaffury Designs
    Graphic design and publicity services
  • Geraldine Merola Barton
    Vivere! Botanicals
    Natural skin care product line
  • Kendra Porter
    Honor You
    Image consulting for plus size women
  • Yamile Ramirez
    IP Management Solutions

    Business consulting for dentists
  • Ibanessa Soto Hogan
    Masterpiece Accounting Solutions
    Accounting, bookkeeping and tax services
  • Julie Sullivan
    Spa Parties at Home
    Mobile spa business
  • Maria Valente

    Chocolate store


WEDC Opens Mid-Hudson Satellite (WEDC-MHV) in Poughkeepsie!

WEDC is very excited to announce that we have opened a satellite at The Hancock Technology Center at Marist College to give residents in Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester counties access to our high-quality, low cost business training programs.  Read more.


Veterans Realize Business Dreams

Veterans and WEDC graduates, Deborah Tompkins and Marialisa Walton Zywotchenko, made the front page of The Journal News on August 29, 2012!  Ernie Garcia profiled Deborah and Marialisa in his article about veteran entrepreneurs and programs such as ours that assist them in their small business endeavors.  Check out the article here!


WEDC is the first Kiva Zip Trustee in NY State!

Congratulations to WEDC grad, Margie Nugent of Making Faces Parties, for being the first NY State entrepreneur to be endorsed on the Kiva Zip platform! Kiva Zip is Kiva's new US initiative that enables borrowers to be crowd-funded by lenders all over the country investing as little as $25 each.

Go to the Kiva Zip web site to see WEDC's Trustee profile and check out Margie's progress in raising $600 to fund the purchase of a stencil cutting machine to increase her market as a body artist.

If you are a WEDC client who needs a loan of $5000 or less to deal with the impact of Hurricane Sandy on your company, please e-mail



Congratulations to our 2012 LEAP Award Winners!

Five $5,000 grants were awarded to:

  • Candida Canfield, Dinner In Hand, LLC
  • Melinda Huff, Mirame
  • Susanne Leary Shoemaker, Undercare, Inc.
  • Christine Sinclair, A Bark Above
  • Marialisa Zywotchenko, Cyrus Contracting Co.

In addition, Mrs. Lanza generously awarded 5 additional $4,000 grants to:

  • Lea Cullen Boyer, Green Guru Network
  • Kecia Palmer-Cousins, G&K Sweet Foods, LLC
  • Diana Scott-Sho, The Luscious Little Dessert Company
  • Donna Simons, Donna Simons Studio
  • Tamara Wrenn, Just Us Women Productions, LLC


Marketplace Opportunity for WEDC Graduates at 6/14 Annual Event

WEDC graduates have the opportunity to participate in the marketplace at our Annual Spring Luncheon Event that will be held on Thursday, June 14, from 11am - 2pm, at the Tappan Hill Mansion in Tarrytown, NY.

The marketplace will be a great venue in which to showcase and sell your products and services, and gain access to many potential customers.  Each participant will have a table to feature your business.


Exhibitor Fee:

$60 for Option 1 includes table with tablecloth, event ticket, and copy of the keynote speaker's book

$25 for Option 2 includes table with tablecloth and a boxed lunch


Spaces are limited.  Sign up Now! To sign-up, please contact Kenya Ajose at Preference will be given to WEDC graduates who have not participated in our microenterprise fairs in the past.  


In honor of LEAP Day, WEDC announces our 2012 LEAP Awards Program

What an appropriate day to announce that WEDC will, once again, be offering our Lanza Enterprise (LEAP) Award Program to help women entrepreneurs boost their businesses to the next level!  Five $5,000 equity awards will be presented to WEDC 15-Week Program graduates or participants who have completed comprehensive business plans and who meet the award criteria.

This program is a collaboration among the Lanza Family Foundation, the Women’s Research and Education Fund (WREF) and the Women’s Enterprise Development Center (WEDC). It is designed to help women who are owners of microenterprises (businesses with five or fewer employees) achieve greater business success.

The application deadline for the 2012 LEAP Award is May 3, 2012. ___________________________________________________________________________

WEDC Welcomes 3 New Board Members
Singari Seshadri,venture capitalist and start-up advisor, Martin L. Schmelkin, Managing Director, Associate General Counsel with Goldman Sachs, and Tracey A. Di Brino, General Manager of Carr Workplaces, have joined WEDC's Board of Directors.



IBM Catalyst Grant

On June 15, 2011, WEDC partnered with IBM to present “Big Business Meets Small Business.” IBM Senior Vice President Ginni Rometty presented a keynote speech, which was followed by IBM volunteers mentoring more than 100 WEDC clients in IT, finance, sales, marketing, planning, operations, social media and legal issues. A highlight of the event was when Ms. Rometty presented WEDC’s Executive Director, Anne Janiak, with an IBM Catalyst Grant for $10,000.

WEDC's Veteran's Entrepreneurial Training (VET) Program
WEDC was awarded a grant from the Walmart Foundation to create the WEDC Vet Program.  VET will open the door to business ownership for veterans and help them to create profitable businesses. For additional information call 914.948.6098.


WEDC Launches New Web site
WEDC is proud to announce that we have launched our new Website and on-line community.  Look around the site and check out all our new features!  We added a newsroom and a place to share your success stories.  Sign up for our biweekly e-mail blasts, enroll in our workshops on-line, and do business with our entrepreneurs. 


WEDC Creates On-Line Community with Business Directory

You have been asking us for a WEDC business directory and we are thrilled to introduce it in our on-line community.  To enter your information, click on the "sign up" button on our homepage or sign up directly on our community page.  Then enter your business information.  (If you work at home, you may choose to omit your street address.) Add a photo. Then, whoever comes to our site looking to do business with a WEDC client or supporter will be able to search for you by name, location, industry, name of company, and if you graduated from our 15-Week program, your class.  It's that easy.  So get started now!

Check out the story of WEDC grad Ibanessa Soto Hogan's Masterpiece Accounting Services!

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