HARTFORD — The University of Connecticut School of Business has announced that Connecticut has been awarded a five-year, $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency to operate a national MBDA Advanced Manufacturing Center.

Participating businesses will work with the UConn School of Business and other technical assistance partners to access advanced manufacturing and general business assistance to meet challenges and seize opportunities.

“Connecticut is proud to have so many diverse manufacturers who can be further supported through this grant,” Gov. Lamont said. “The expert guidance we will be providing these manufacturers will give them opportunities to expand their businesses into new markets or refine current operations to run more efficiently.”

MBDA is the only federal agency dedicated solely to supporting minority businesses. The MBDA Advanced Manufacturing Center will connect minority-owned manufacturers with experienced professionals to help them refine their business strategy and operations, assist with financial analysis, and connect them with Manufacturing Extension Partnership centers for deeper analysis of which advanced manufacturing services would be appropriate for that business.

“Supporting Connecticut minority-owned manufacturers, through technical assistance provided by the grant partners, as well as UConn through programs such as the Technology Incubation Program, is critical to their success,” John Elliott, dean of the UConn School of Business, said. “The MBDA grant will give us an opportunity to increase assistance in a variety of areas to these businesses.”

Manufacturers working with the center will have access to assets and resources which can help them cut costs, increase sales, and create and retain jobs. It will also intentionally address the unique challenges these business owners face and work to provide personalized assistance.

The MBDA Advanced Manufacturing Center is supported by a number of key partners throughout the Northeast United States and Puerto Rico. These partners include CONNSTEP, PRIMEX, Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership and the state Department of Economic and Community Development.

Businesses interested in participating in this program can contact the Connecticut Small Business Development Center at ctsbdc@uconn.edu or 877-723-2828.

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