U.S. Small Business Administration awards Quinnipiac $406,000 grant to start Community Entrepreneurship Academy and Clinic

The U.S. Small Business Administration has awarded Quinnipiac a $406,000 grant to develop a new business accelerator program for small businesses and minority entrepreneurs in Greater New Haven.

The funding will be used to create the Quinnipiac University Community Entrepreneurship Academy and Clinic (CEAC). Building upon existing expertise in its School of Business, Quinnipiac will offer entrepreneurial skill building, guidance, and ongoing mentoring to underrepresented entrepreneurs and small business owners in the local community.

“This immensely important grant supports both entrepreneurship and equity — a truly winning combination,” U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said. “I am pleased to see Quinnipiac University receive significant federal funding to support the entrepreneurial dreams of more than 100 minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses in the Greater New Haven Area. The Community Entrepreneurial Academy and Clinic will equip small and minority business owners with the knowledge and tools they need to thrive.”

The grant also will allow the clinic to serve as the educational partner to the Connecticut Community Outreach Revitalization Program (ConnCORP), which focuses on economic development and providing opportunities to New Haven’s underserved residents. Quinnipiac’s New Entrepreneurship Academy and Clinic will offer wrap-around business accelerator resources for minority-, women- and veteran-owned small businesses working with ConnCORP.

“We often talk about the responsibility and privilege of sowing back into our community,” said Erik Clemons, president of ConnCORP. “The opportunity we have before us through CEAC will allow us to take that next step towards continuing the growth of sustainable wealth generation for Black entrepreneurs throughout New Haven. ConnCORP is excited to be partnering with Quinnipiac University and I look forward to the fantastic strides we will make together for the benefit of minority small business owners.”

The academy will use a blended format of in-person workshops and virtual coaching. Quinnipiac faculty from across the university’s nine schools will serve as teachers, coaches and mentors, and Quinnipiac students will apply their classroom learning to help entrepreneurs be successful, providing services such as cybersecurity audits, fabricating product prototypes, and producing podcasts and marketing support.

As part of the in-person workshops at The Lab at ConnCORP and virtual business clinics, members will develop relationships with business leaders and other entrepreneurs, grow their network of support, and build their toolbox of resources to support business growth.

The roughly 12-week program uses a holistic design to help small businesses thrive, as members will gain knowledge and skills in accounting, budgeting, human resources management, sales, marketing, communications, web design, supply chain, business law and strategy.

As their expertise grows over the course of the program, each member also will create a full business plan along with a list of business support resources to utilize to help them continue to develop and grow their business.

“We are grateful to both Sen. Blumenthal and Sen. Chris Murphy for their advocacy for this important funding, which will enable Quinnipiac to leverage its distinctive academic resources and business expertise to help fuel the success of local business owners and entrepreneurs,” said Quinnipiac University Provost Debra Liebowitz. “Our long-term vision as the University of the Future includes helping our local communities thrive, and this new academy will advance those efforts in a meaningful way.”

Local small business owners and entrepreneurs interested in the new Quinnipiac Academy can send an email to QUEntrepreneurshipAcademy@quinnipiac.edu to learn more.

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