Retired banking executive named to statewide minority advisory board

George Mathanool
George Mathanool

George Mathanool of Groton has been named a member to the newly constituted Minority Business Initiative Advisory Board.

Mathanool, also a member of the CTNext board, former chairman of the town Economic Development Commission and a retired international banking industry executive, is one of nine members to be appointed to the board, which was authorized by a bill in the General Assembly. He is the sole representative of eastern Connecticut on the board.

The board has been given the task of advising the commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development, currently Catherine Smith, on connecting minorities to current state economic development programs like Small Business Express, as well as developing new programs to promote minority entrepreneurship.

"We hope to identify clear paths to help minorities to identify various programs and help to cultivate more active participation in business growth," Mathanool said.

"The minority population is growing significantly," he said. "It's an untapped opportunity to work with them on various levels."

Mathanool said the advisory board would be the grass-roots ears of the DECD, reaching out to minority associations and communities as well as regional and state agencies. Minority workforce development will be another area that the board will tackle.

According to a description found online, "The board must advise the commissioner on how to make technical assistance more available to minority-owned businesses and increase their access to capital and state contracts."

In addition, "The board must ... develop and administer financial literacy, minority employment, and entrepreneurship programs. The programs may include internship and externship, apprenticeship, entrepreneurship, and job creation subsidy programs."

The first board meeting is scheduled later this month, and not all members have yet been chosen. Board members are unpaid.

The state is allocating $2 million to the board in this fiscal year, and $1 million in the next.

According to its mission statement, "The board will seek to generate immediate and sustained awareness about programs and services offered by the state and its partners."

l.howard@theday.com

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