Our Impact

Over the past 15 years, WEDI's proven programming has helped thousands of students and hundreds of entrepreneurs in Western New York to succeed in school and run thriving small businesses. 

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Economic Development

  • Since launching the Microloans program in 2009, WEDI has loaned nearly $1.4 million to 113 business owners and supported the startup or expansion of more than 100 small businesses.

  • Since 2012, Economic Development clients have created or retained more than 180 Full Time Equivalent jobs, all of which are filled by residents of Western New York.

  • Between 2017-2020, 35 Economic Development clients generated gross revenues of more than $15 million.

  • Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, more than 70% of the businesses funded by WEDI’s Microloans program were still actively operating (higher than the national average for small business).

  • Since 2011, WEDI’s West Side Bazaar has incubated more than 48 small businesses, 54% of which have graduated to their own retail storefronts.

  • All but one of the 14 small businesses at WEDI’s West Side Bazaar have stayed open through the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Education

  • More than 90% of ENERGY and FLY students move on to the next grade level each year.

  • In Launch’s first year, 100% of students proceeded to the next grade level and are on track to graduate in 2022. 

  • During the first half of the 2019-20 school year (prior to program closing due to the Covid-19 pandemic), 73% of Launch students, 73% of ENERGY students, and 63% of FLY students increased their GPA (prior to school/program closures).

  • In the 2019-20 school year, 59% of ENERGY students and 60% of FLY students increased their reading level (prior to school/program closures).

  • In the 2019-20 school year, 82% of ENERGY students and 79% of FLY students improved their skills in areas such as leadership, perseverance, and teamwork (based on pre- and post program self-assessments).

Success Stories

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Christine Uwimbabazi/Prime Care Transportation

Christine Uwimbabazi came to WEDI in 2017 when she was launching her company Prime Care Transportation, which provides clients with reliable rides to and from doctor’s appointments, dialysis treatment, and hospital visits. With WEDI’s help, she grew to have 24 cars and 18 employees and was named WEDI's 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year...read more.

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San Lin, Former ENERGY and FLY Student

When San Lin was starting fifth grade, his parents signed him up for WEDI’s ENERGY program in hopes that it would help with his English fluency. He eventually moved to FLY where his reading progressed by two grade levels, which boosted his confidence and helped him come out of his shell . San Lin is now a freshman at Hutchinson Technical High School where he is focusing on coding, drafting, and drawing...read more.

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Nadin Yousef/Macrame By Nadeen @ WEDI'S West Side Bazaar

When Nadin Yousef resettled in Buffalo in October 2014, her case worker noticed that Nadin had a talent for making macrame items and encouraged Nadin to start a business at WEDI's West Side Bazaar. The staff taught her how to talk with her customers and display her products for maximum appeal. In the near future, she plans to graduate from the West Side Bazaar and open a gift shop with classroom space...read more