small business

WBDC's Grant Program Provides $400,000 to Women-Owned Businesses

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

There is new help for women-owned businesses in the state coping with the impact of the pandemic.

The Women's Business Development Council is providing $400,000 in grant money to help women-owned businesses which may have suffered due to the pandemic.

WBDC raised a portion of the money for the Equity Match Grant Program. The state then stepped in to match the funds. The partnership generated $400,000 in grant money for women-owned businesses.

"This pandemic has impacted women out of the workforce, business ownerships and so again, anything that we can do to provide those interventions to keep the momentum going and not losing ground, we're going to be focusing on," Glendowlyn Thames, deputy commissioner for the Department of Economic and Community Development, said.

At least 56 local businesses are set to benefit from the grant program from 32 different towns across the state.

The program began after a lot of women-owned businesses faced economic issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The purpose of the Equity Match Grant is to put capital in the hands of women-owned businesses with a focus on equitable distribution," said Fran Pastore, CEO of the Women's Business Development Council.

Alisa Bowens-Mercado is the founder of Rhythm Brewing Company and one of the businesses selected to receive the grant money.

"It's a powerful statement and it helps a company like myself," said Bowens-Mercado. "We can grow our office, our employees, marketing, potential equipment for future brewing schedules. "

Business owners aren't just receiving a check but they have to also explain how the funds will be allocated once they receive the grant money.

For businesses like the Rhythm Brewing Company, those requirements actually help with having short-term and long-term goals.

"We're going to be using these funds strategically for every part and piece of our business to allow it to grow and more importantly to stay in the game," said Bowens-Mercado.

Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz and Fran Pastore will make their way to all of the businesses that will be receiving the grant money.

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