Women in Connecticut should be feeling exceedingly optimistic about their future in the wake of this year’s elections. Not only did the state reelect a centrist governor committed to economic growth and opportunity, but a recent $46.6 million state investment designed to support underserved and start-up businesses — naming women-owned businesses specifically — will soon bear fruit.
Such support drives success, like in the case of Alisa Bowens-Mercado’s New Haven-based Rhythm Brewing Company. Motivated by economic disparities in the billion-dollar beer industry — where upwards of 88% of brewery owners are white — Alisa Bowens-Mercado opened her doors in 2017 as the first Black, woman-owned brewing company in the state and the fourth in the country. Recently facing inflationary pressures, she sought and secured grant funding from the Women’s Business Development Council that allowed her to not only stabilize her business but set her sights on national distribution opportunities.
When women are empowered with the resources necessary to invest in their businesses, the socioeconomic returns are significant. Consider that there are 112,000 women-owned businesses in Connecticut that generate $16.5 billion in annual revenue. This type of impact is possible when the environment is well-cultivated for growth, which can only succeed when private and public sector investments and policies take a holistic view of the needs of women.