Multicultural Small Business Lab

Our next Multicultural Small Business Lab is being held in Bridgeport, CT. It will kick off on Wednesday, September 21st and run every Wednesday evening through November 2nd. Hurry now, space is limited to 50 participants.

Program Highlights

The Multicultural Small Business Lab is an intensive 7 week program designed to help empower, develop and scale racially and ethnically diverse micro businesses. M&T Bank’s Multicultural Small Business lab aims to promote business and financial inclusion through empowerment, providing diverse owners with much needed access to information, tools, resources, and connections they need to grow and thrive. The Lab’s mission is nothing less than to present an opportunity for multicultural businesses to increase their visibility, accelerate their business, achieve success and increase our bank’s engagement of Multicultural Business Owners across our various markets.

Creating a Business Plan

Learn what it takes to create an effective business plan through discussion on setting goals, knowing your industry, what finances you have in place, and much more!

All About Credit

Do you need to understand more about credit and how it can affect your business? With M&T small business multicultural lab, we will dive into the importance of credit, accessing capital and how you package your credit application.

Marketing & Branding

Learn how to make your business stand-out among the competition through an in-depth discussion on branding and marketing so you can be prepared to get the word out on your diverse business. 

Pitch Tips

You have everything that you need to scale and grow your business, but your business needs funding. As part of the series, we will provide you tips and tricks when presenting to potential investors. Learn how to present with ease and how to make your business plan shine.

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

(Registration ends August 12, 2022)

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 Previous Events

Businesses in Buffalo, NY and Harrisburg, PA had a great time at our kick-off events.

Hear from past participants

“ ‘Ideas meet opportunity’. So glad M&T (& Harrisburg University) saw fit to choose Harrisburg as the 2nd stop for their Multicultural Small Business Lab. Harrisburg is a tough place for minority business startups. But, with a little help, guidance, and access to resources….anything is possible. Can’t wait to make my pitch for my business during week 6!” 

Cathy Hall
Urban Links Unlimited, LLC.

“A business plan is like a map that allows you to see where you’re going and what all to expect along the journey.”

Daiyana Ritter
The Real Dai, LLC.

“I was so happy to see how excited everyone is to be a part of such an amazing opportunity. The staff was extremely welcoming and informative. What stood out the most was the number of successful business owners that are attending. They understood that there is always room for growth even as a successor.”

Brittany Scott
Property Jewels

Upcoming Programs

Check back to register for upcoming labs where you can learn how to write a business plan, understand credit and learn about access to capital, connect with other multicultural small business, and have a chance to participate in the Multicultural pitch competition with a potential to win cash prizes.


Buffalo 2.0




Worcester, NY


Wilmington, DE 


Multicultural Small Business Lab for disabled diverse small businesses in partnership with the National Disability Institute (Location, TBD)


You must be a resident of the city where the lab is being held. Please refer to the specific location terms and conditions.

Yes, the principal owner needs to be a permanent legal resident of the Greater Bridgeport Metropolitan Area. See Terms and Conditions.

We are open to different kinds of multicultural – racially & ethnically diverse small owned businesses (e.g. Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, Asian American ). To qualify, the principal owner must be 18 years or older, a permanent legal resident of the Greater Bridgeport Metropolitan Area, be in business for 36 months or less, and have a annual business revenue of $150,000 or less. See Terms and Conditions.

To register, please review the terms and conditions. If eligible, you can enter here.

No, you will be provided the tools to build your own.

NO PURCHASE, ACCOUNT OPENING, LOAN APPLICATION, DEPOSIT OR PAYMENT IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN, NOR WILL IT INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING. There will be two rounds in the Competition. The preliminary judging (Round I) will be on or about October 19, 2022. Five Finalists will proceed to the final pitch (Round II) to be held at the graduation event on or about November 2, 2022. The competition is open to any business participating in the Multicultural Small Business Innovation Lab Pilot with a principal owner who is a permanent legal resident of Connecticut and is 18 years of age or older as of the date of the Competition. Each participant in the competition (Entrant) must have attended all classes in the Program to qualify. Employees, officers, directors, agents, contractors and representatives of Sponsor, University of Bridgeport, and their affiliates, advertising and promotions agencies (the “Released Parties”), and such persons’ immediate family members and members of their households are ineligible to participate in the Competition. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. No business may win more than one prize. First Prize will consist of a $6,000 check. Second Prize will consist of a $4,000 check. Third Prize will consist of a $3,000 check. Fourth Prize place will consist of a $2,000 check. Sponsored by M&T Bank. © M&T Bank. Member FDIC.