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Equity Match Grant Program gets $300,000 boost from JPMorgan Chase as fourth round of funding opens

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The Women's Business Development Council announced Tuesday it has received a $300,000 matching donation for its Equity Match Grant Program, which was created to help women-owned businesses in Connecticut grow and has just started its fourth round of funding.

WBDC CEO Fran Pastore said funding will be matched through the state Department of Economic and Community Development. The program provides grants between $2,500 and $10,000, and since December 2020, $924,000 has been awarded through 98 grants.

Pastore said the goal was not to provide operating funds but to give businesses and entrepreneurs "the latitude, the space, to pivot their business by coming up with an innovative concept or idea."

Applications for the fourth round of funding opened Monday and will be accepted through Feb. 13. Information about eligibility and application requirements is available at

Forty-two businesses were awarded grants in December as part of the third round. In southeastern Connecticut, this includes Trade Labels in Mystic, Rhodes Collar in Mystic, Norwich Fitness Center, MB Graphic Design in Taftville, and Ivy's Simple Homemade in Waterford.

In a webinar Tuesday morning, Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz talked about visiting Ivy's, and how a grant helped the catering company purchase a larger refrigerator and expand its takeout business.

Bysiewicz said she and Pastore created the program after seeing that the Paycheck Protection Program forgivable loans went mostly to businesses that are male- and white-owned.

Jona Jeffcoat of Infinity Music Therapy Services is using the third-round funding she got to help create a mobile music-therapy clinic, which will resemble her existing treatment room in Southington but travel around the state.

Kevnesha Boyd of Quality Counseling in Hamden, which she said has a mission "to resolve and reduce the impact of racial discrimination and trauma within the Black community," received a grant in May, in the second round. She said this funding helped her develop her website and recruit more staff.


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