Entisar Elamin was chopping parsley Monday for a batch of baba ganoush when a parade of official visitors popped in with their own recipe — for helping other women like her make it in the Connecticut economy.

Elamin, a refugee from Sudan, was at work in the kitchen of Havenly Treats within the cavernous strip of storefronts across from Criterion Cinemas on Temple Street.

Havenly Treats, a nonprofit, is more than a restaurant. It runs training programs for refugees like Elamin to learn skills and land jobs or create new businesses of their own.

The visitors were a delegation of state economic development officials led by Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz (who was already a fan of Havenly’s baklava). They held a press conference at Havenly to announce a heap of new assistance for small businesses: A five-year, $46.6 million grant program aimed at enterprises run by Black, Hispanic, women and immigrant entrepreneurs.

The money goes to nonprofits like the Connecticut Women’s Business Development Council (WBDC) and the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, which is receiving a $7.2 million slice. (Read about that here.) Those nonprofits then distribute the grant money to individual small businesses to help them grow, meet technology needs, and train new people.


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