BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Women's Business Center IGNITE Awards were held for the first time at Canisius College Thursday to honor women around Western New York who are walking a different path as entrepreneurs.

According to the WBC, 36 percent of businesses are owned by women in the state of New York, ranking the 4th in the nation.

"Women business owners are a big part of the accomplishments of Western New York and our history as women," said WBC Executive Director Sara Vescio. "In the '80s, the federal government realized there was such a need to level the playing the field for women entrepreneurs that they created the Women's Business Centers across the country."   

Five women were honored for their achievements as well as for their support of other women entrepreneurs.

"I'm actually born and raised in Buffalo. I started my business on my own. So as a woman and a minority woman I love to bring the message that you can do whatever you want to in life. Especially with the free resources that are out there in the world," said Dolly Randle, of Compliance and Administrative Services of NY.

"We're very fortunate in Buffalo to have SBA-sponsored Women's Business Center. It's truly a magnificent place and I would recommend that any woman business owner get in touch with the business center and see what they can do for you," said Glenna Bett, of Cytocybernetics.

The WBC has over 90 business programs for women. Last year, it helped a dozen women launch new businesses in the Buffalo area.