Checks delivered by Connecticut’s lieutenant governor are helping women entrepreneurs send off boxes of baklava and a flock of ceramic birds into New Haven.

The money comes through the Equity Match Grant program, a joint effort of the Connecticut Women’s Business Development Council (WBDC) and Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz’s office involving stand private funding.

On Wednesday morning, Bysiewicz and WBDC representatives toured two New Haven businesses that benefited from recent grants: Kiara Matos’ new Orange Street gallery, and Havenly Treats up the block on Court Street.

The intiative has been offering local women-owned businesses grants ranging from $2,500 to $10,000 to help weather pandemic hurdles and support growth initiatives.

The grant started in 2020 in the wake of revelations that federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, issued as the pandemic first started to keep small businesses afloat, benefitted overwhelmingly white and male-owned ventures. As the Hartford Courant reported84 percent of Connecticut businesses that received PPP loans were white-owned, and 78 percent were owned by men.

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