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City Shaper: Hadar Borden

Hadar Borden is the Director of the Blackstone LaunchPad at the University at Buffalo.

AMHERST, N.Y. — This week's City Shaper places a lot of importance on serving her community. As we continue to highlight the women who are part of Western New York's resurgence, 2 On Your Side's Kelly Dudzik takes us to UB North where our City Shaper is helping entrepreneurs launch their ideas.

Hadar Borden is the Director of the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars at the University at Buffalo. She is from Amherst.

Borden loves helping students and being part of their success stories.

"It's amazing to be able to be part of the experience and to be supporting our students to realize their hopes, their dreams," says Borden.

After graduating from the University at Buffalo, she was drawn back for a service-oriented career working in several departments here before landing at the Blackstone LaunchPad when it opened nearly four years ago.

"Helping students, our students take their ideas, what they're passionate about, what they're researching in the lab and turning it into a start-up," she says.

It's an innovation center.

“This is the former storage closet, transformed, right? Behind these lovely wood panels are cinder blocks. We've got these amazing white boards that we use on a regular basis. This is like where we all problem solve," explains Borden. "There's always something that they're talking about, exchanging ideas, introducing one another to different opportunities on-campus. I think that's the power of a small space."

The LaunchPad is for students, alumni, faculty, staff, and community members in any field where everyone is encouraged to be an entrepreneur.

"What's a typical day like for you? Usually when I ask this question, people say there is not a typical day," said Dudzik.

"There isn't a typical day and I think the students can attest to that," said Borden.

You walk in and can get a meeting with a venture coach- someone to guide you. They also have workshops and competitions.

"What gives you your passion for what you do?" asked Dudzik.

"I think it's the students," says Borden. "It's those ah-ah moments. It's the, hey, do you have a minute? When they come and they want to tell you what they've been able to accomplish, or where they got in, or their next step in life, or those emails that come by and just remind you that you're doing something that matters. There's impact."

The Blackstone Launchpad is also part of an event called "She Started IT" for girls in grades 6 through 10 on March 7 who are interested in learning about entrepreneurship.

Credit: WGRZ

If you know someone who would be a great City Shaper, just send Kelly an email to nominate them.

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