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Entrepreneurial Center Receives $100,000 Grant to Support Hartford Small Businesses

The Entrepreneurial Center (EC) at the University of Hartford has received a $100,000 Community Development Block Grant from the City of Hartford for the Hartford Small Business Technical Assistance Program (HSBTAP) for the third year. This initiative is designed to support the City of Hartford’s One City One Plan goal to help existing businesses remain in Hartford and expand their economic prospects.


Over the past two years, the EC staff has worked with 41 Hartford-based businesses, providing free training, advising and technical assistance customized to their goals. Business owners have worked on improving their social media campaigns, general marketing strategies, operations, sales, financial management and access to capital, human resource processes, and procurement of government contracting opportunities. For year three the EC is adding website development and search engine placement assistance for its HSBTAP participants.


“The Hartford Small Business Technical Assistance Program gives us the opportunity to work in depth with small business owners and help them achieve the next levels of business development at little cost to the owners. Some of our HSBTAP clients complete one or two business objectives with us while others achieve numerous goals. A Hartford resident myself, I find it truly gratifying to be part of the City supporting its businesses in such an effective way,” said Shelli McMillen, HSBTAP Program Administrator.   


Amy & Tao LaBossiere, owners of Fine Art Painting LLC, remarked, “Thanks to this program and its dedicated counselors, we developed our business plan, learned QuickBooks to get our accounting and financials in order, networked with other wonderful small business owners, and received support in social media marketing to amp up our business efforts. We are grateful to the HSBTAP program for the opportunity to take our business to the next level toward sustainability and growth.”


Another enthusiastic participant, Tekeya Hamlett of TAZ TAX Services commented, “The HSBTAP program is phenomenal. It has been an honor to work with the staff that is very supportive and always enthusiastic. My adviser helped me identify and rectify a weakness in my current business structure. The Women’s Business Round table has helped me to step out my comfort zone and network. I’ve started a social media campaign and am looking forward to improving my website next.”

The Entrepreneurial Center is currently assessing businesses interested in participating in HSBTAP. For more information, contact the Entrepreneurial Center at 860-768-5681 or visit

The University of Hartford’s Entrepreneurial Center, established in 1985, provides hands-on coaching and business training for new and expanding small businesses, as well as aspiring entrepreneurs. It is funded in part by the US Small Business Administration, CT Dept. of Economic and Community Development, Prudential Foundation, and the City of Hartford.