Multicultural Small Business Labs

Bridgeport, CT

A successful event was held at the University of Bridgeport from September 13, 2023 – November 1, 2023.  We are looking forward to more upcoming labs in this area soon!

Innovation Lab Overview

The M&T Multicultural Innovation Lab celebrates and empowers local multicultural owned small businesses through education and a spirited competition. For the Bridgeport edition, we will be partnering with University of Bridgeport. The location for this 8-week program will be at the University of Bridgeport, School of Business, Mandeville Hall:

University of Bridgeport, School of Business, Mandeville Hall
230 Park Ave
Bridgeport, CT 06604

Program Eligibility

Open to existing Multicultural small business owners and hopeful Multicultural small business owners in the planning/concept phase (e.g. Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American) – in accordance to local demographics.

  • Been in business less than 36 months
  • Average annual revenues of $150K or less

Schedule

  • 8-week course presented by M&T Bank experts and community partners 
  • Beginning September 13, 2023
  • Course ends November 1, 2023
  • In-Person Attendance
  • 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Wednesday evenings

Curriculum

  • Business Planning (1 session)
  • Credit Fundamentals (2 sessions)
  • Marketing & Branding (1 session)
  • Networking & Community Resources (1 session)
  • Business Valuation (1 session)
  • Cash Flow & Financial Statements (1 session)

 

Pitch Competition

  • First Round: 2-minute video with written answers
  • Second Round: 3-minute live pitch with a 2-minute Q&A
  • Prizes:
    • 1st place – $10,000 check
    • 2nd place – $7,000 check
    • 3rd place – $5,000 check
    • 4th place – $3,000 check

Highlights from this event

2023 Bridgeport Small Business Lab Winners

CLOVIA MCINTOSH

Tubee

Our first-place winner, Clovia McIntosh, Founder and CEO of Tubee, earned the $10,000 top prize:
“I was inspired to start my business from a personal story. I was bathing my nephew Alex, who was 10 months old, and he slipped. I did some research and learned that 43K children slip and fall in bathtubs, and there really wasn’t a product on the market for children over 8 months old, so I started Tubee. What keeps me motivated is seeing people believing in me and rooting for me. One of the best lessons I’ve learned since starting my business is that people really want to help you. You just have to ask for help. If you keep going, the universe will put people in front of you and open doors, so you have to keep going, and you just can’t quit.”

A. D'ANAE, W. JAMMEH & L. JARAMILLO

WE. Out & About

Our second-place winners Anna D'Anae, Wale Jammeh, and Leydi Jaramillo of WE. Out & About earned a $7,000 grant.
“We are a travel community where we create custom experiences while removing the hassles of traveling. We’ve booked people on their first flights, booked experiences where they swim for the first time, and booked experiences people never thought they would do.
For us, success means that we did what we said we would do, that we completed our mission for our community, and we put smiles on people’s faces. Thanks to M&T’s Multicultural Small Business Lab, we can now jumpstart our Passport Initiative project, which will allow us to go into high schools and provide seniors the opportunity to get their passports for free.”

YVONNE DANIELS

YVR First

Our third-place winner, Yvonne Daniels, YVR First, earned a $5,000 grant.
“I’ve been doing hair since I was a little girl. My hair is really, really thick, so I could never find a hairdresser to do my hair. Once I started doing my own hair, people would ask me to do theirs, and it turned into a business.
Thanks to the M&T Multicultural Business Lab, I now can articulate what my business is driven for—I can finally articulate the voice of my business. If I were to give my advice to a budding entrepreneur, I would tell them to keep going and that there is no finish line. When you think you’ve accomplished a goal, pick another one and do it again.”