By Paul Schott

Twenty years ago, Fran Pastore saw a need — and an opportunity.

Women entrepreneurs in Connecticut were grappling with a dearth of funding and support services to start and grow businesses.

The Brooklyn, N.Y., native realized she could help tackle women’s unequal economic standing and create a new career for herself. She would build that idea into the Women’s Business Development Council, a nonprofit that has helped to create and sustain thousands of women’s businesses and jobs. Its two-decade record has garnered widespread acclaim, but looming state funding cuts threaten its mission.

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