News release from M&T Bank:.
M&T Bank (NYSE:MTB), in partnership with Bridgeport’s East Main Street Revitalization Association Inc. (EMSRA), is proud to announce a series of financial education programs designed to serve the needs of East Side residents. M&T will launch a series of Financial Empowerment Sessions and a Spanish-language Multicultural Small Business Lab to provide the East Side with the education and experience needed to further support the East Side’s revitalization.
M&T’s Financial Empowerment Sessions address a wide range of topics covering fraud prevention, consumer credit, small business, loans, and more. These sessions will be held on the East Side beginning in Q4 2023. A full schedule will be released with more information later this year.
M&T will also launch its first Spanish-language Multicultural Small Business Lab focused on small businesses from and around the East Side of Bridgeport. Participants will gain access to invaluable resources and support to elevate their enterprises and compete for cash prizes of up to $7,000 in a Shark Tank-style pitch competition. The program will accept as many as 30 applicants participating in three sessions staffed by M&T bankers. Applications will open in Q4 2023.
EMSRA—a community-driven, community-based development entity focused on economic growth and community pride—will help drive awareness and facilitate these programs. With the support of Governor Ned Lamont, EMSRA received $1.75 million from the State, including $1 million from the State Bond Commission and $750,000 from Connecticut’s Community Investment Fund.
“We are thrilled to partner with the East Main Street Revitalization Association to support and uplift Bridgeport’s East Side,” said Frank Micalizzi, M&T’s Bridgeport Regional President and Head of Commercial Banking. “Through this collaborative initiative, we aim to provide vital information and knowledge to empower residents and entrepreneurs and foster a lasting positive change within the community.”
“Extending our Financial Empowerment Sessions and our Multicultural Small Business Lab in the East Side of Bridgeport reflects our commitment to the growth of local businesses and a more successful and resilient local economy,” said David Femi, Head of Multicultural Banking & Diverse Market Strategy at M&T Bank and Business Banking Regional Manager. “By providing these tools and resources, we aim to have an even greater impact on the people of the East Side.”
Community Support for M&T’s Multicultural Small Business Lab
Local elected officials from Bridgeport have also welcomed this collaboration as a significant step toward supporting the economy of the East Side. Bridgeport City Council President, Aidee Nieves, highlighted the importance of such partnerships, saying, “This partnership between M&T Bank and EMSRA showcases the power of collaborations in uplifting our community. Providing community members with the financial knowledge and tools to grow financially creates a brighter future for Bridgeport and its residents.”
Deputy Speaker Christopher Rosario, 128th Assembly District added: “Residents and businesses of the East Side have struggled to access services such as these. Now, with the help of M&T Bank, we can provide this part of the Bridgeport community the attention and resources they need to make a better life for themselves and their families.”