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Diversity on Main 

A Program to Support Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

Matching local entrepreneurs with Main Street storefronts

Diversity on Main brings together Connecticut Main Street Center’s expertise as the state’s premier resource for developing and sustaining vibrant downtowns with the Black Business Alliance’s  comprehensive resources for Black-owned businesses, including education, capacity building, and technical assistance, in order to tackle the problem of vacant storefronts. The aim of Diversity on Main is to advance equity while contributing to thriving and inclusive main streets by establishing opportunities for minority-owned businesses to occupy and own main street storefronts and properties.

The M&T Charitable Foundation, the philanthropic arm of M&T Bank, awarded $150,000 to CMSC for its new Diversity on Main program in partnership with the Black Business Alliance. The funds will be distributed over a two-year term beginning in 2024. The grant is part of the second round of giving through the Amplify Fund providing more than $8.2 million to 68 lead non-profit organizations throughout New England, Long Island, and Rockland County, NY.

How It Works

Diversity on Main creates a matchmaking framework that places minority-business owners in main street storefronts and supports downtown revitalization efforts.  CMSC and BBA are committed to a two-year presence in host communities to collect baseline data, convene stakeholders, train and vet entrepreneurs, build a collaborative framework, and activate storefronts. Diversity on Main is launching its inaugural collaboration with the City of New London.

Would you like to host a Diversity on Main program in your community?

About Our Partners

Black Business Alliance

Established in 2016, the Black Business Alliance (BBA) stands as a comprehensive, community-driven hub for Black-owned businesses, striving to foster economic growth and sustainability. Its core focus lies in bridging gaps related to funding, educational resources, and capacity building. Positioned as a vital element within Connecticut’s entrepreneurial landscape, the BBA serves as a reliable repository of information, support, and education—a pivotal marketplace and nurturing community for Black businesses.

What sets the BBA apart is its meticulous efforts to integrate and build trust within the Black community, addressing the diverse facets of the African diaspora, and contributing to the mitigation of generational and inherited trauma through a holistic business perspective. With a documented track record of success, the BBA is renowned for delivering hands-on technical assistance that forges connections, builds trust, expands networking and collaboration opportunities, and imparts meaningful education.

City of New London

Diversity on Main is launching its inaugural collaboration with the City of New London via their Economic Development Department. Key participants include Director Felix J. Reyes and Economic Development Coordinator Elizabeth Nocera.

The two-year program will create a collaborative framework with a variety of downtown stakeholders who will work with CMSC and BBA to promote, advance and lead efforts for a more bustling and vibrant central business district. 

About Our Funders

M&T Charitable Foundation’s Amplify Fund

First announced in May 2022, the Amplify Fund is a $25 million philanthropic investment as part of the merger between People’s United Bank and M&T Bank. Powered by the M&T Charitable Foundation, the Amplify Fund is a one-time supplemental charitable program to provide further support in the legacy People’s United communities.

The first round of funding totaled more than $11.8 million to 105 nonprofit organizations and focused on equity and environmental initiatives, mission-driven and capacity-building work, community and tenant organizing, and financial empowerment and education for individuals and small businesses. 

With thanks to our Diversity on Main Funders:

Connecticut Main Street Center

P.O. Box 270
Hartford, CT 06141

© Connecticut Main Street Center 
P.O. Box 270, Hartford, CT 06141 | 860.280.2337