Multicultural Small Business Labs

Bridgeport, CT

A successful event was held at the University of Bridgeport from September 21, 2022 – November 2, 2022.  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 the University of Bridgeport. The location for this 7-week program will be at the University of Bridgeport’s small business innovation center:

University of Bridgeport
John J. Cox Student Center
244 University Avenue 
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/Latinx, Asian American) – in accordance to local demographics.

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


  • 7-week course presented by M&T Bank professionals and community partners
  • Beginning September 21st, 2022
  • Course ends November 2nd, 2022
  • In-Person Attendance
  • 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Wednesday evenings


  • Business Planning (1 session)
  • Credit Fundamentals (2 sessions)
  • Marketing & Branding (1 session)
  • Networking & Community Resources (1 session)
  • Business Valuation (1 session)
  • Virtual self-service coursework to be delivered through M&T Tech Academy (where available)


Pitch Competition

  • First Round: 2-minute video with written answers
  • Second Round: 5 finalists will conduct a 3-minute pitch with a 2-minute Q&A
  • Prizes:
    • 1st place - $6,000
    • 2nd place - $4,000
    • 3rd place - $3,000
    • 4th place - $2,000

Highlights from this event

2022 Bridgeport Innovation Lab Winners


Brandon Ross

Pawsome Pet Products

Our first place winner Pawsome Pet Products, founded by Brandon Ross, earned the top prize of $6,000.  This business specializes in a multifunctional, multipurpose pet carriers, including a "2 in 1 Pawsome Pet Carrier n'car seat".

Malcolm Wilson

Level Up Community Gym

Our second place winner Level Up Community Gym, founded by Malcolm Wilson, earned the top prize of $4,000.  This gym is a nonprofit gym offering income-based memberships with the mission of lowering obesity rates in Bridgeport and Stratford, CT, area. 

Virgilio Rosario

Rosario Resource Group LLC

Our third place winner Rosario Resource Group LLC, president Virgilio Rosario, earned the top prize of $3,000.  This resource group is a contracting company that hires people who have been in prison or in jail in the Bridgeport area.