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M&T Bank plans multicultural small business innovation lab in Niagara County


Thu, Mar 21st 2024 08:20 pm

Program empowers entrepreneurs with expert resources, ending in $10,000 pitch competition

M&T Bank Press Release

M&T Bank is bringing its Multicultural Small Business Innovation Lab to Niagara County this spring. Registration is now open and established, and aspiring entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply. Designed to empower, develop, and grow racially and ethnically diverse small businesses, the program provides local entrepreneurs with guidance, education and resources to start and build businesses that strengthen neighborhoods and meet community needs.

During the six-week program, 35 Niagara County businesses will develop skills to accelerate their entrepreneurial journey and grow their expertise in critical areas, such as creating business plans, establishing credit, accessing capital, marketing, networking, and more. M&T will hold this year’s program in partnership with Niagara University. The program will start in May at the Academic Complex on campus and will include participation from professors and high-level administrators.

The M&T Bank Multicultural Small Business Innovation Lab will conclude with a pitch competition awarding $10,000 in grant funding. Three winning businesses will be determined by several factors, including the market or community needs the business addresses, the effectiveness of its business plan, its ability to adapt, and its potential for growth and community impact.

Interested small business owners should register at mtb.com/niagarauniversity by April 15. To participate, small businesses must meet the following criteria:

√ Any multicultural-owned small business

√ Principal owner must be a Niagara County resident

√ In business no more than three years, with annual business revenue of $350,000 or less

Registration is open through April 15. Apply online at mtb.com/niagarauniversity.

M&T Bank developed its Multicultural Small Business Innovation Lab in response to a community challenge identified in conversations with local leaders, area nonprofits, and business customers who felt the region’s entrepreneurial support ecosystem needed to be more accessible for multicultural businesses. Emphasizing inclusion and access, this growing initiative provides solutions for ongoing business education, guidance to navigate everyday challenges, mentoring from successful business leaders, and more.

The Multicultural Small Business Innovation Lab was held twice in Buffalo. Since its launch in 2021, M&T has organized the program in several communities, including Harlem; Bridgeport, Connecticut; and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The bank plans to bring the program to more communities as it continues to expand its differentiated approach to meeting the unique needs of multicultural entrepreneurs.

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