The University of Hartford’s Entrepreneurial Center & Women’s Business Center is providing training and resources to motivated small business owners through its Small Business Technical Assistance (SBTAP) program with support from Prudential Financial, Inc.

The program, which offers business advising and targeted technical assistance to eligible small businesses in the Greater Hartford area, helps business owners like Alix Hryniewicki of InK Hair Bar in Farmington. From the time she first started working in hair salons, Hryniewicki had a gut feeling that she was destined to have her own salon.

After 10 years working in top salons across the area and learning from the successes and challenges experienced by these businesses, she decided it was time to take all that knowledge and break out on her own. At the Center, she was matched with an advisor who guided her through the development of a business plan, helped research locations, and assisted in obtaining a small business loan. With financial backing and a solid business plan, InK Hair Bar opened in the summer of 2018.

“For a first year, I really couldn’t have asked for much more,” Hryniewicki reports. She has stayed busy with building a new clientele and positive word-of-mouth has been her biggest asset. While Hryniewicki came to this business with a store of knowledge on salon management, the nitty gritty of launching a business was not something she had studied. She is grateful to have had the Center resources available to her and has become a cheerleader for the organization.

“I think it’s great. I talk about it all the time,” she added, “They’re available whenever you need to talk to them and that’s been so important for InK. I couldn’t do it without them!”

Milena Erwin, Women’s Business Center Program Manager, said, “We appreciate the commitment of Prudential to the Hartford community and the support they provide our Center. The SBTAP program allows us to expand our services and assist even more women- and minority-owned businesses. These businesses are making great strides and their success contributes to local economic growth and development.”

Since 2010, Prudential has contributed $600,000 to the University of Hartford’s Entrepreneurial Center & Women’s Business Center. “Training and resources provided by programs like these are essential to putting more Americans on track for sustainable financial wellness,” said Daryl Shore, Director of Inclusive Communities with Prudential, “Our investment in the Center is one more way we’re working to create pathways to economic growth for underserved communities.”

The Center’s successful track record has secured the continued support of Prudential. During 2018, the Center helped 1000 clients to launch 58 new businesses, access $450K in capital, and create 300 jobs.

Through Center programming, a team of experienced staff, local small business experts, and resource partners provide entrepreneurs with a number of services including:

  • Training for business and professional growth
  • One-on-one business advising
  • Women-focused programs, including the Women’s Business Roundtable and the Power & Progress Business Women’s Symposium
  • Individualized technical assistance for business plan development, financing, hiring, contracts, marketing, government contracting, tax planning, and more
  • Comprehensive business planning courses
  • Connections to small business resources

About the University of Hartford’s Entrepreneurial Center & Women’s Business Center

The University of Hartford’s Entrepreneurial Center & Women’s Business Center provides personalized business advising, educational programs, technical assistance, and networking events to new and expanding small businesses in Connecticut. The Center focuses on serving women, minority-owned businesses, and other underserved constituents. Part of the nationally renowned Barney School of Business, the Center specializes in turning ideas into viable businesses and break-even companies into sustainable, profitable, and scalable enterprises.

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