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The Women’s Business Development Council is offering grants of up to $10,000 to qualified women-owned small businesses in Connecticut
The Equity Match Grant Program is designed to help women-owned businesses grow! Grants between $2,500 and $10,000 will be awarded for clearly defined projects that will have a measurable impact on the business, its growth and profitability.
The grant funds cannot be used towards operating expenses (e.g. inventory, on-going marketing expenses, salaries), real estate improvements (e.g. construction costs), reimbursement for past purchases or debt repayment.
Applicants are required to provide a minimum 25% match (see below for more details).
THE GRANT APPLICATION IS NOW OPEN!
The deadline to apply is September 27th, 2023 @ 11:59 PM
This grant is a competitive process and WBDC may not be able to fund all applicants.
Learn about the Equity Match Grant
To be eligible, the business must:
– Be 51% or more woman-owned
– Be headquartered in CT, registered in the state of CT and owned by a CT resident
– Have been in business for at least two years before September 27th, 2023 (business must have been established by September 27th, 2021) with a record of sales
– Have a record of annual sales/revenue in last twelve months greater than $25,000 and less than $2,000,000
– Be in good standing with the CT Department of Revenue Services (DRS)
– Have an established business checking account
– Currently utilize a formal, digital bookkeeping/financial system (e.g. QuickBooks, Sage, FreshBooks, Wave Accounting)
– Be a for profit business
– Be owned by a woman at least 18 years old
The following businesses are not eligible
Childcare businesses are not eligible for the Equity Match Grant. If your business is in the childcare industry, WBDC has other programs for you. We encourage you to visit our Child Care Business Grants page to learn more or reach out to us at email@example.com
Any individual or business who has already received an Equity Match Grant is not eligible.
Non-profit organizations are not eligible.
Current vendors or contractors of WBDC are not eligible.
Former vendors are eligible to apply a year after working with WBDC.
Medical marijuana; liquor stores and alcohol distributors; adult businesses such as strip clubs; vape retailers; tobacco shops and smoking lounges; businesses having to do with gambling; gun stores and ranges; cash advance, check cashing, or pawn shops; bail bonds; collection agencies or services; and auction or bankruptcy or fire or “lost-our-lease” or “going-out-of-business” or similar sale
Join us to learn about the Equity Match Grant Program! This information session will go over the application process and requirements to apply and will include detailed information on how to answer the application questions, as well as time for additional questions.
There are no more live info sessions available. Get started by watching a recorded information session. Click here: Equity Match Grant Info Session
To download the information session slide deck: Click here
– Applicants are required to provide a minimum 25% match. This does not necessarily mean that the applicant needs to contribute funds to receive a grant.
For example, if the business receives a $10,000 grant for the purchase of new software, the business must have invested $2,500 in their business over the past 12 months OR be able to invest an incremental $2,500 of their own funds in that purchase
– Businesses located in distressed economic municipalities (as defined by DECD) do not need to provide the 25% match.
English PDF version of the FAQ: Click here
Spanish PDF version of the FAQ: Click here
Where can I find information on the Equity Match Grant?
Please review our website at: https://ctwbdc.org/equity-match-grant-program/Our website includes a detailed description of all the requirements to apply for the Equity Match Grant. In addition, we will have information sessions in August and September to help you prepare your application. In the case that you cannot attend a live session, a recorded session will be available on-demand.
What businesses are eligible to apply?
Most businesses can apply except the following:
– Childcare businesses are not eligible for the Equity Match Grant. If your business is in the childcare industry, WBDC has other programs for you. We encourage you to visit our Child Care Business Grants page to learn more or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
-Any individual or business who has already received an Equity Match Grant is not eligible.
-Non-profit organizations are not eligible.
-Current vendors or contractors of WBDC are not eligible. Former vendors are eligible to apply a year after working with WBDC.
-Medical marijuana; liquor stores and alcohol distributors; adult businesses such as strip clubs; vape retailers; tobacco shops and smoking lounges; businesses having to do with gambling; gun stores and ranges; cash advance, check cashing, or pawn shops; bail bonds; collection agencies or services; and auction or bankruptcy or fire or “lost-our-lease” or “going-out-of-business” or similar sale
Can I apply if I don’t live in Connecticut?
You cannot apply if your business is not headquartered/located in CT, registered in the state of CT and owned by a CT resident.
What can I use the funds for?
Grants are awarded for clearly defined projects that will have a measurable impact on the business, growth, and profitability. Examples of use of funds include equipment, adding ecommerce to websites, technology that expands capacity, and training that expands service offerings. Your proposal should clearly explain how the investment you want to make will help you grow your business.
What is not an eligible use of funds?
Operating expenses are not eligible. This includes:
-Real estate improvements (construction costs)
-Debt repayment or reimbursement for past purchases
-Subscriptions, or any monthly expense.
If you are unsure about what is an eligible use of funds, please set up an appointment to meet with a business advisor for assistance.
Can I use the funding towards marketing my business?
You cannot use the grant funds for the general marketing of your business/products/services. A marketing campaign is eligible if it is being used to market a new product or service offering for a limited amount of time. This campaign needs to have a measurable impact on the business’ growth and profitability.
If you are unsure about what is an eligible marketing project, please set up an appointment to meet with a business advisor for assistance.
I don’t know how to do projections; can someone help me?
Yes, we offer free business advising to our clients. To receive help for Equity Match Grant applications you must have attended an info session or watched one of our pre-recorded info sessions.
We encourage you to use our projections template:
Your first year of projections must be broken out by month. Email email@example.com to get in contact with a business advisor, or call (203) 353-1750 x133 to speak to our Program Specialist.
How long do I have to be in business?
You must be in business for a minimum of at least two years before September 27th, 2023 (business must have been established by September 27th, 2021) with a record of sales
Am I still eligible if I was previously a Sole Proprietor, and only recently became an LLC or registered my business?
If you have been the primary owner/operator of the business for at least two years and can provide all of the required documents needed for the application. Please note in your application the change in business structure.
How do I submit my application?
We will accept applications through the application portal (https://webportalapp.com/sp/wbdc) until September 27th. Emailed applications will not be accepted.
Can someone review my application before I submit it?
We are happy to work with clients as they prepare their applications only after they have attended an information session or watched the on-demand recording. We highly recommend that applicants begin to prepare their applications and attachments well in advance of the application due date. Applicants are welcome to work with our Business Advisors during that period. Once the applicant completes the application and clicks the “SUBMIT” button, the application is final and review sessions are no longer available.
*Please note* If you review your application with a business advisor, it does not mean you will receive a grant, as an external review committee is making the decisions on which applicants receive grants.
Who reviews the applications?
Applications are reviewed by an external panel of community partners who will select the awardees.
When will the grant awards be announced?
Grant awards will be announced in late November, pending the volume of applications received. Please do not reach out to us before then to check the status of your application as all updates will be emailed to you directly.
What happens if my grant application is not approved? Can I reapply in the future?
If you are eligible and your application is not approved, you will be contacted by WBDC and given the opportunity to meet with a business advisor to help you prepare for the next round of funding.
Is there a limit to the number of times I can apply?
Yes, you may apply up to three times. After being denied a third time you must wait a year before you are eligible to apply again. In the meantime, we highly recommend you take advantage of our business advising and classes to help you prepare for applying in the future.
Will there be future rounds of grants?
We are planning another round of grants in 2024. Please join our email list to be notified when the next grant round opens.
Do I have to make $25,000 in revenue or profit?
You need to make $25,000 in revenue/gross sales (not profit) in the last 12 months.
What if I don’t make $25,000?
If you have not made $25,000 in the last 12 months, we recommend you work with a business advisor to help support your business’ growth so that you may potentially apply in the future.
If my business is located in New London, Torrington, or Waterbury, should I apply for the Equity Match Grant?
No. We have partnered with the cities of New London, Torrington, and Waterbury to offer grant programs solely for the businesses located in these cities. If your business is located in one of these three cities, you should apply for the municipal grant for which your business is located. In addition, these municipal grants are typically awarded within a month, as the applications are reviewed monthly. For more details about the municipal grant programs click on the following links:
New London – https://ctwbdc.org/new-london-wbdc-small-business-grant-program/
Torrington – https://ctwbdc.org/torrington/
Waterbury – https://ctwbdc.org/waterbury/
Is the grant money considered taxable income?
Yes, the grant money is considered taxable income.
How to Prepare
What the review committee is looking for
– Thoughtful, complete, and well-developed picture of your business that shows a path to growth.
– Exceptionally clear use of funds, with a direct link to growth, focused, strong supporting detail.
– Financial Projections are robust and reflects seasonality of business in projections where all numbers make sense.
– Display the business’ long-term potential, with strong growth and potential for continued growth
– Job creation potential, with the business being on track to adding more jobs
– Return on investment, that the funds will unlock growth
– Grant will have a meaningful impact on the business and help the business grow and scale
Applications will be reviewed by an independent panel of experts from the community. WBDC Business Advisors will not be making the decisions on who receives grants.
This template is provided as a guide by the Women’s Business Development Council (WBDC). Applicants are welcome to use this template or their own format if they prefer.
How to Create Projections
Access on-demand lessons about how to create projections based on your business type.
For additional assistance please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request an appointment with a finance advisor.
How to Obtain Your Letter of Good Standing
Please request your letter from the CT DRS myconneCT online center: 𝗺𝘆𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗲𝗖𝗧 (ct.gov)
Here is a tutorial to on how to request the status letter for a business: Requesting a Status Letter (of Good Standing)
Click here to see an example of what your status letter should like. Please note that if it does not look like this – it is the wrong document.
Learn about the impact of the Equity Match Grant and how it has helped some of our amazing recipients! WBDC has awarded 167 Equity Match Grants distributing over $1.5 million to women-owned businesses across the state.
Meet Some of Our Equity Match Grant Recipients!
Anchor & Compass
Deep River, CT
Read Sage’s story
Read Aimee’s story
The Family Pizza Truck
Read Angela’s story
Trailing Twine Photography
Read Ling’s story
Read Corey’s story
Illumina Skin Care Massage
Read Lillian’s story
Ivy's Simply Homemade
Read Ivy’s story
Read Lynns’s story
Koko Floral Design
Read Koko’s story