Milena Erwin

Company: University of Hartford

Location: East Hartford

Tell us about your community building activities in 2020?

Led WBC during and after the rapid transition to virtual operations in March. Center assisted over 1200 small business clients, including with federal, state and local emergency funding. Maintained and expanded many internal and external relationships, including with partners like Launch Hartford and SBA (expanded CARES-related focus). Introduced new programs with strengthened focus on support to women and minority entrepreneurs, disproportionately affected by the pandemic economic downturn.

What community building goals did you accomplish or milestones did you hit in 2020?

Exceeded funder goals for clients served (1200), business starts and capital infusion. Resource partner on emergency funding programs, including with HEDCO, State of CT and City of Hartford. Led weekly Coping with COVID webinars. Co-led annual CT Business Matchmaker events and UH business plan/pitch competitions. Expanded WBC marketing communications. Introduced new programs like Women of Color in Business quarterly panel discussions, and women’s pitch competitions. Influential Women Award.

Nominator Justification

WBC moved programs online in March, assisted over 1200 clients. It helped with information on emergency funding programs, weekly coping with COVID webinars. Milena arranged for the new Women of Color in Business panel series, regular women in business panel discussions, executed 2 large contracting virtual events, and co-led the virtual Business Matchmaker, hosted 2 Women Entrepreneurs pitch competitions, awarding monetary prizes. She was recognized with Influential Woman Award by Boy Scouts.

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