• WBDC Announces Small Business Grant Programs in Waterbury and Torrington

    STAMFORD, Conn. — The Women’s Business Development Council (WBDC) is announcing the launch of a pair of grant programs aimed to give a boost to established small businesses based in the cities of Waterbury and Torrington. The programs are being offered through partnerships with the City of Waterbury and the City of Torrington, and make grants of up to $10,000 available to eligible businesses in each city. The programs each launched on June 21.

    The launch of these city-specific programs comes just over six months after a similar program was launched in New London. To date, that grant program has distributed grants to 19 businesses totaling $170,858.

    Prior to the New London grant program, WBDC launched its Equity Match Grant (EMG) Program in 2020 to support the growth of women-owned small businesses throughout the state. To date, the EMG Program has provided grants totaling $2M to 216 businesses in every county in Connecticut.

    “We are excited to partner with Torrington and Waterbury and to put our experience in small business grant-making to use to help the businesses in these communities prosper,” said WBDC Founder and CEO Fran Pastore. “These partnerships, along with the support we’ve received from the state and Webster Bank, will allow us to create positive and lasting economic impacts in both communities.”

    “Small businesses are vital for the economy, innovation, and employment, but they also face many challenges and risks,” said Torrington Mayor Elinor Carbone. “Since the pandemic, many of our existing business owners have been struggling to regain their foothold and potential start-ups put their dreams of owning their own business on hold. These funds can provide technical assistance, financial aid, and support to both. I am looking forward to seeing our American Rescue Funds put to work for the small business community.”

    In addition to partnerships with each municipality, these grant programs are supported by funding WBDC recently received from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), to expand the organization’s microgrant and technical assistance programs for businesses throughout the state.

    “Under the leadership of Governor Lamont, we are making major investments in programs that support small business growth throughout the state,” Paul O. Robertson, Deputy Commissioner of DECD, said. “DECD is proud to work with WBDC and our other nonprofit partners to ensure we are reaching those small businesses in need and connecting them to the many financial and technical resources available to help them thrive.”

    Later this year, WBDC intends to expand its regional presence by opening its fourth office in downtown Waterbury. Webster Bank, a long-time supporter of WBDC and its Equity Match Grant Program, continues to be an integral partner, committing $300,000 over a 5-year period to support WBDC’s presence in Waterbury.

    “Webster has a long history of supporting minority and women-owned businesses through our partnership with WBDC as founding funder of the Equity Match Grant program,” said Marissa Weidner, Chief Corporate Responsibility Officer at Webster. “As the program continues to expand, we see meaningful results with the increased growth and vitality of these businesses.”

    Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary said, “Under the leadership of Fran Pastore, the Women’s Business Development Council has committed to open a new office in downtown Waterbury to complement their current offices in Stamford, New Haven, and New London. This grant program, along with the classes and business advising available through WBDC, will provide businesses in our community with the tools and resources they need to grow and prosper. We are excited about the positive impact WBDC’s presence will bring to Waterbury’s Central Business District and to the entrepreneurs within our community.”

    Both programs will award grants to help fund clearly defined projects that will have a measurable impact on the business, its growth, and profitability.

    For information on the Torrington/WBDC Small Business Grant Program, including eligibility, application requirements, and dates of upcoming information sessions, visit

    For information on the Waterbury/WBDC Small Business Grant Program, including eligibility, application requirements, and dates of upcoming information sessions, visit

    Businesses do not need to be women-owned to be eligible.

    Photos from both events

    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 over 13,300 businesses, create and maintain 29,000 jobs in Connecticut, and access more than $66 million in capital. Visit for more information.