STAMFORD, Conn. — Governor Ned Lamont recently announced the Women’s Business Development Council (WBDC) will be awarded $9.8 million in grant funding, distributed over a five-year period, through a business support initiative administered by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD). In total, the DECD program is providing $46.6 million in funding to ten local nonprofit economic development organizations across the state.
WBDC will use the funding to expand its microgrant and technical assistance programs for businesses throughout Connecticut. WBDC’s Equity Match Grant and Launchpad programs provide capital infusions of $2,500 to $10,000, coupled with expert technical assistance to effectively help women-owned businesses access the financial capital and business acumen they need to launch, scale, and grow thriving enterprises in Connecticut. The funds will also support the opening of a new office in the distressed municipality of Waterbury.
“We are thrilled by the governor’s announcement, and to be among the amazing and deserved organizations that are also receiving support through this initiative, ” said WBDC Founder and CEO Fran Pastore. “With these funds, we have the opportunity to grow and expand some of our existing programs that have had significant and measurable impact on our state’s small business community. We are also able to expand our reach by establishing a new office in Waterbury.”
$1.2 million per year will go directly to Connecticut entrepreneurs through grants (at least 800 grants) of $2,500 to $10,000. These grant programs — Equity Match Grant (EMG) and Launch Pad — will help launch new businesses or grow existing businesses.
The Equity Match Grant program was launched in 2020, and has awarded 167 grants to Connecticut businesses totaling more than $1.5 million. Of these EMG awards, 30% are minority owned, and 21% of the businesses are in distressed communities. Additionally:
56 recipients have created 119 jobs since receiving EMG funds;
16 recipients have accessed 21 additional capital infusions totaling more than $1.2 million; and
83% of businesses have reported increased revenues
The Launchpad Grant program, currently in its pilot phase, is designed to help start-up businesses get off the ground and provides the tools needed for new businesses to thrive. To date, the Launchpad Grant program has awarded 15 grants totaling $37,500.
The funds will also allow WBDC to provide one-to-one business advising, mentorship, financial education, and networking opportunities to all grant applicants – awarded or not – with a customized focus on women of color in distressed municipalities.
The funding is also supporting the expansion of WBDC’s presence by opening its fourth regional women’s business center in Waterbury. WBDC’s presence in this distressed community will position the council to serve as a strategic partner with the City of Waterbury in its efforts to strengthen the economy of the city and surrounding communities.
About the Women’s Business Development Council
The Women’s Business Development Council’s (WBDC) mission is to support economic prosperity for women and strengthen communities through entrepreneurial and financial education services that create and grow sustainable jobs and businesses across Connecticut. WBDC educates, motivates, and empowers women to achieve economic independence and self-sufficiency. Since 1997, WBDC has educated and trained more than 16,670 clients in all of Connecticut’s 169 towns—helping women to launch, sustain and scale over 12,500 businesses, create and maintain over 25,880 jobs in Connecticut, and access more than $28.7 million in capital. Visit ctwbdc.org for more information.