GROTON, Conn. — The Women’s Business Development Council (WBDC) visited a pair of local women entrepreneurs in the City of Groton on Wednesday, November 15. Both Angelique Cyriaque of Angelique Aesthetics and Adrienne Kneeland of Curls by Adrienne were recently awarded a grant through the WBDC Launch Pad Grant Program. Senator Heather Somers and Cierra Patrick, Economic Development Manager for the City of Groton, City leaders and local elected officials joined representatives from WBDC and Wells Fargo, a lead funder of the program, to recognize these local small business owners.
The Launch Pad Grant Program offers newly established businesses the opportunity to receive a $2,500 grant to put toward start-up costs. To date, the WBDC’s Launch Pad Grant Program has awarded $160,000 to 64 women-owned business enterprises throughout Connecticut.
“Roughly 23% of the more than 2,550 clients WBDC has served so far this year are emerging and start-up businesses,” said WBDC CEO Fran Pastore. “This generous support from Wells Fargo will enable us to help more of these businesses, many of whom are minority-owned, to thrive as they grow into financial independence and economic prosperity for themselves, their families, and the greater community.”
Wells Fargo provided $125,000 to support WBDC in delivering technical assistance, eligibility readiness support, entrepreneurial education, access to future funding relationships, and tailored business counseling to clients eligible for the Launch Pad grants. These services will prepare entrepreneurs to apply for, receive, and manage the grant funds to grow their business.
“As the Bank of Doing, we truly believe that small businesses are the heartbeat of our communities – here in Connecticut and nationwide,” said Terence Floyd, Vice President of Philanthropy and Community Impact for Connecticut at Wells Fargo. “That’s why partnering with organizations like the Women’s Business Development Council allows us to further our mission and help women entrepreneurs with the tools and resources they need to be successful. We are proud to support this important program, which will further strengthen the small business sector in Connecticut and help women-owned small businesses across the state.”
Both Cyriaque (photo) and Kneeland (photo) completed WBDC’s Guide to Plan for Success (GPS) program, a nine-session comprehensive business plan writing course designed for entrepreneurs with a single, concrete business idea who are looking for instruction, support, and expert advice while building a business plan. Each of the highly interactive sessions focuses on a critical aspect of business development, including marketing, sales, and finance.
Cyriaque said she intends to use the grant funding to expand and enhance the quality of skin care treatments offered at Angelique Aesthetics by investing in a skin tightening machine known for its efficacy in treating various skin conditions.
By incorporating this advanced technology Cyriaque said, “I can shift my service menu and gear it to focus on medical grade, non-invasive treatment options performed outside of the traditional clinical setting. Ultimately, the Thermoclear machine will benefit my clients and my business because clients will gain more self-confidence. My business can expand its target market to include individuals seeking medical grade services in a non-clinical setting.”
Kneeland is using her grant funding to acquire a mist machine for hair treatments.
“No one in my surrounding area is providing this technology,” Kneeland said. “Competitors in my area are not using the quality of products or chemicals we are; no one is specializing in curls, and some of them are using more traditional coloring techniques that aren’t as modern, blended, or long-lasting. The mist machine is also a very exclusive treatment, even in the surrounding states.”
To become eligible for a Launch Pad Grant, applicants must first complete one of WBDC’s courses for new businesses and meet certain eligibility requirements. They must:
Have been in business for less than two years
Be 51% or more woman-owned
Be headquartered in Connecticut and owned by a Connecticut resident
Have a business checking account or a separate account for the business
Be a for-profit business
Be owned by a woman at least 18 years old
Group photo: Adyanna Odom, WBDC Launch Pad Grant Coordinator, Sen. Heather Somers, Angelique Cyriaque, Adrienne Kneeland, Terence Floyd (Wells Fargo), Groton Econ. Dev. Mgr. Cierra Patrick
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 nearly 18,000 clients in all of Connecticut’s 169 towns—helping women to launch, sustain and scale almost 13,500 businesses, create and maintain more than 29,600 jobs in Connecticut, and access more than $52.5 million in capital. Visit ctwbdc.org for more information.