Press Releases

Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz


Lt. Governor Bysiewicz and WBDC CEO Pastore Announce the Distribution of $400,000 in Grants to Local Women-owned Businesses Through the Equity Match Grant Program

Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz and Women’s Business Development Council Founder and CEO Fran Pastore announced that nearly $400,000 in grants is set to be awarded to 44 women-owned businesses in Connecticut through WBDC’s Equity Match Grant Program.

The grants are the second round of awards given through WBDC’s Equity Match Grant Program. Twelve women-owned businesses constituted the first round of recipients in January 2021.

The Equity Match Grant Program, which was officially launched in January, was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and designed to provide much-needed cash grants to women entrepreneurs disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus.

“There’s no doubt that women-owned businesses have been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus. Our women entrepreneurs can help us drive economic growth as we continue to rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic, but only if we give them the opportunity to do so. The opportunity to start and expand their business, the opportunity to improve and build credit, and the opportunity for young women to acquire effective financial and business acumen. The Equity Match Grant Program helps women achieve all of that and so much more. I am so excited to see how these grants will empower women to take their businesses to new heights,” said Lt. Governor Bysiewicz.

“This Equity Match Grant Program is igniting creativity and innovation, and inspiring business owners to think out of the box,” said Pastore. “WBDC is proud to offer this direct aid to women-owned businesses to catalyze their growth, whether diversifying a new product line or accessing a new market.”

Together, Lt. Governor Bysiewicz and Fran Pastore, CEO of the Women’s Business Development Council, have raised nearly $700,000 in funds. The state Department of Economic and Community Development will match these funds dollar-for-dollar.

The Equity Match Grant Program, which is being administered by the Women’s Business Development Council through its Opportunity Fund, will aid entrepreneurs in accessing the capital needed to build banking relationships, improve credit, and overcome challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To celebrate the initiative and innovation of the recipient women entrepreneurs, Lt. Governor Bysiewicz, DECD Deputy Commissioner Thames and Pastore will travel to all of Connecticut’s eight counties, visiting grant recipient businesses. The Equity Match Road Trip is set to launch early May.

Visit to learn more about when the next round of grant funding will be announced or contact
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Samantha Norton

Director of Communications