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July 2, 2024

Women’s Business Development Council reaches $10M in pandemic-era grant funding

Contributed Warehouse 635 Owner Camille Hudson, left, stands with Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz at a recent Women's Business Development Council event. Hudson was a recipient of business grant through the council's Ignite program.

A Stamford-based women’s business organization said it has distributed $10 million in funding to women-owned small businesses from three grant programs launched during the pandemic year of 2020.

The Women’s Business Development Council, which was founded by CEO Fran Pastore in 1997, said the grant programs were launched in 2020 to help women-owned small businesses struggling to access relief funding during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, hundreds of small businesses have been supported through the grant funding, the organization said.

The first program, Ignite, provides grants between $2,500 to $10,000 to qualified women-owned businesses that have been operating for at least two years. The organization said $3 million in grant funding has been allocated through this program to 328 businesses in the state.

The Launch Pad program awards grants of up to $2,500 to qualified startup businesses, and the Child Care Business Opportunity Fund allocates grants of up to $25,000 to qualified licensed and aspiring child care businesses. The child care grant is given through a partnership with the state Office of Early Childhood, according to the organization.

The organization said it also partners with the communities of New London, Waterbury, and Torrington to give grants to businesses specifically operating in those cities. JPMorgan Chase also partners with the Women’s Business Development Council for grants, investing more than $600,000 in the Ignite program since it launched in 2020.

The grant programs are ongoing and future rounds will be announced online.

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