Upper Albany Main Street was awarded a $287,000 grant from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving over a three-year period. The funding ensures full-time management and coordination of its Micro Business Incubator Program and Albany Avenue/Homestead Building Improvements Program.
The Micro Business Incubator (MBI) program provides training, resources and support to the independent businesses lining Albany Avenue and provides assistance to business start-ups. The program promotes economic development by assisting entrepreneurs build the necessary skills to improve their businesses, increase revenues, and create additional jobs within the community. The program provides individualized services delivered on site at the business location in an effort to overcome the most significant barrier to training, "time." The MBI pairs local businesses with University of Hartford students for regularly scheduled one-to-one training. Areas of training vary based on the needs of each client that includes but is not limited to; business planning marketing, management, technology, graphic design, customer training, financial literacy, technology, cost accounting and merchandising. UAMS expects that at least 30 new North Hartford small business owners will be served through the MBI Program in 2018. UAMS expects that at least 60 additional small businesses will strengthen their operations through the MBI Program over the HFPG three-year grant.
The MBI Program is a valuable community resource to these existing businesses and potential startups in the commercial district, actively stimulating new business development in the community. The MBI empowers local entrepreneurs to build long term sustainable economic development which creates/retains wealth and provides employment opportunities within the community. A core group of participating businesses have demonstrated significant business acumen and an appetite for growth. Part of this request will support additional staff to provide advanced training that will include; search engine optimization, preparation of financial documents, operation management, and business expansion.
The second component of the proposed Hartford Foundation for Public Giving three-year grant pertains to the coordination of the Route 44/Safety/Streetscape Project and the expansion of the UAMS/DECD/City of Hartford "Albany and Homestead Avenue Building Improvements Program)". During 2017, four small businesses along Albany and Homestead Avenue completed façade improvements. UAMS expects that a total of eight building improvements will be completed by 2018. Activities in this component will consist of planning of façade improvements with builders, bidding, and assistance to businesses seeking to sustain their businesses during the façade improvement period. UAMS will be centrally responsible to DECD with regard to ensuring the project keeps to the stated timetable of activities and milestones.