Gov. Lamont announces $9.8 million funding to women-owned businesses

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Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont (D) recently announced that $9.8 million in funding will be provided to the Women’s Business Development Council, an organization that works to grow sustainable businesses across the state.  

The funding, which will be distributed over a five-year period, is part of a $46.6 million investment by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development. The rest of the funds will go to nine other local nonprofit economic development organizations, according to a press release.  

WBDC will use the funds to expand their technical assistance programs for women-owned businesses throughout the state, the press release said.  

“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 press release said.  

Fran Pastore, WBDC’s founder and CEO, said the organization is thrilled to receive the funding.  

“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,” Pastore said. “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.”  

One of the grant programs, called the Equity Match Grant, has awarded 167 grants to state businesses, totaling $1.5 million, since its launch in 2020.  

The Launchpad Grant, which is the other program providing funding, is in its pilot phase and has so far awarded $37,500 over a total of 15 grants, the press release said.  

Also according to the press release, WBDC will focus on women of color in distressed municipalities across Connecticut.  

“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,” said the press release.  

The funding will also be allotted to the opening of an additional WBDC business center in Waterbury, Connecticut, which is expected to contribute to strengthening the city’s economy.  

“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,” said the press release. 

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