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Submitted by KeyBank
NEW HAVEN, Conn., Feb. 2, 2023 /CSRwire/ — KeyBank announced ConnCORP as the recipient of a $1 million grant from the KeyBank Foundation to support the ongoing work of the ConnCORP Lab and its entrepreneurial support ecosystem. The grant, distributed in $200,000 increments over the next five years, is intended to address the ongoing business challenges facing the Newhallville/Dixwell neighborhood.
As it stands, the current ecosystem within the Newhallville/Dixwell neighborhood is unable to fully encourage or support the creation and sustainability of local businesses and minority entrepreneurs. These minority-owned companies remain small and mostly have no employees. On average, of all New England states, Connecticut has fewer and smaller minority-owned businesses.
“We have created something truly special with the ConnCORP Lab and are interested in working with community operators and organizations to amplify our efforts to give Black entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses a chance to succeed.” said Aya Beckles Swanson, Executive Director of the ConnCORP Lab. “This is just part of the bigger picture to channel much-needed support into our community of business owners who have a much steeper hill to climb to success. With this investment in our work, we hope to close the gap between the initial idea and commercial success.”
KeyBank’s grant to ConnCORP comes as part of Key’s National Community Benefits Plan, which has already committed more than $29 billion in lending and investing in Key’s national footprint to support affordable housing and community development projects, home ownership and small business lending with to support low- and middle-income communities and philanthropic efforts aimed at education, human development and safe, vital neighborhoods.
“ConnCORP brings innovative solutions to the challenges faced by minority-owned businesses in the community,” said Elizabeth Gurney, Executive Director of the KeyBank Foundation. “Supporting local businesses to grow, employ more workers, and support the economic health of the Newhallville/Dixwell neighborhood is critical to building and sustaining a thriving community.”
Over the next five years, KeyBank funding will help the lab hire a program director and scale program offerings to the local business community. In addition to regular entrepreneur workshops and training, offerings include the Launch Pad at the Lab speaker series, a quarterly investment round for women of color designed to break the intimidation many feel about investing in capital markets, and monthly opportunities for lab tenants to engage connect other business owners in the New Haven area, increased coworking membership, and overall support for the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Key’s investment will also support the ConnCORP and Quinnipiac Community Entrepreneurship Academy — a 12-week entrepreneurial clinic taught by QU professors and business students and featuring a pitch competition and up to a $5,500 entry fee from the SBA for each Participant culminates making it through the course.
“The Lab’s efforts to provide underserved business owners and minority entrepreneurs with business resources and financial literacy training are critical to New Haven’s economic health and growth and align directly with KeyBank’s business and community goals” , he said Matthew Hummel, KeyBank’s market president and commercial sales leader for Connecticut and Massachusetts. “We are inspired by ConnCORP’s mission to advance economic development in the community of Newhallville/Dixwell and are proud to expand our partnership with them.”
Through his work, which includes commercial property acquisition and revitalization, as well as investing in new and existing local community-based businesses, ConnCORP seeks to attract businesses to New Haven and ultimately catalyze and support a place-based impact investing ecosystem in the city.
“The importance of black-owned businesses in our communities cannot be overstated.” said Erik Clemons, CEO of ConnCORP & ConnCAT. “For more than a decade, we’ve built a legacy on the strategy of empowering community members with the tools they need to determine success the way they see fit. Our next steps with this investment are to continue the work started and expand our reach to support a broader ecosystem of entrepreneurs.”
ConnCORP believes that the business and entrepreneurial ecosystems must play a significant role in transforming the Dixwell/Newhallville neighborhood. The Lab is an immersive and transformative space for innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship education, and a community space to learn and share ideas about corporate ownership. The lab provides a place to learn financial and business skills, share best practices, and receive logistical support. Most importantly, The Lab provides a place where aspiring entrepreneurs can connect with like-minded people and share support and encouragement.
Our Mission: Promote economic development and economic justice in impoverished communities by investing in local commercial and residential real estate and minority-owned businesses.
Our main activities include the acquisition and revitalization of commercial properties and investments in new and existing local community-based businesses. ConnCORP also seeks to attract businesses to New Haven, ultimately catalyzing and supporting a place-based impact investing ecosystem in the city.
About the KeyBank Foundation:
The KeyBank Foundation serves to fulfill KeyBank’s purpose of helping customers and communities thrive, and its mission is to support organizations and programs that prepare people for a successful future. The foundation’s mission is advanced through three funding priorities – Neighbors, Education and Labor – and through community service. To deliver meaningful philanthropy that transforms lives, the KeyBank Foundation listens closely to understand the unique characteristics and needs of its communities, and then supports solutions with targeted philanthropic investments. The KeyBank Foundation is a non-profit charitable foundation funded by KeyCorp.
KeyCorp’s roots stretch back almost 200 years to Albany, New York. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Key is one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies with approximately $189.8 billion in assets as of December 31, 2022. States under the KeyBank National Association name through a network of about 1,000 branches and about 1,300 ATMs. Trading under the KeyBanc Capital Markets name, Key also offers a wide range of sophisticated corporate and investment banking products, including mergers and acquisitions advisory, public and private debt and equity, syndications and derivatives, to middle market companies in select industries throughout the United States. Visit https://www.key.com/ for more information. KeyBank is a member of the FDIC.
KeyCorp’s roots stretch back 190 years to Albany, New York. Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, Key is one of the largest bank-based financial services companies in the United States with approximately $176.2 billion in assets as of March 31, 2021. States under the KeyBank National Association name through a network of approximately 1,100 branches and more than 1,400 ATMs. Trading under the KeyBanc Capital Markets name, Key also offers a wide range of sophisticated corporate and investment banking products, including mergers and acquisitions advisory, public and private debt and equity, syndications and derivatives, to middle market companies in select industries throughout the United States. Visit https://www.key.com/ for more information. KeyBank is a member of the FDIC.
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