M&T Bank has committed $300,000 to supporting entrepreneurs in Buffalo.
The bank’s grant will benefit entrepreneurship program EforAll, a national nonprofit group that helps people in underrepresented communities start and grow their own businesses. EforAll opened a Buffalo office in May 2021.
In addition to the grant, which will be paid over three years, M&T employees will volunteer to mentor EforAll entrepreneurs.
The idea behind EforAll is to help residents in cities like Buffalo create their own opportunities to build a business and build generational wealth for themselves and their families.
Mentorship is a key component of EforAll’s services, offering advice, solutions and connections to the entrepreneurs.
“When starting a business, people often rely on their network for connections to information and resources that help them navigate the ambiguity that accompanies entrepreneurship,” M&T Western New York Regional President Eric Feldstein said. “Many people in our community find themselves at a disadvantage because they don’t have that experience in their social circle – and disproportionately these would-be entrepreneurs are from diverse racial, ethnic or cultural backgrounds.”
People are also reading…
EforAll offers a business accelerator program and pitch contest.
The accelerator program is a yearlong entrepreneurship course that includes business classes, mentorship and funding opportunities.
The pitch contests are opportunities for entrepreneurs to present their business ideas to a panel of judges and win up to $1,000 and get feedback on their idea.
Of the business owners in the accelerator program, 74% are women, 58% are Black, Indigenous or people of color, and 46% are immigrants.
“Our focus on inclusive entrepreneurship refers to our ongoing and collaborative work to ensure everyone, no matter who they are or where they’re from, can access the resources and support they need to start and grow their own business,” EforAll Executive Director Juweria Dahir said.
M&T Bank in recent years has committed to fostering new ideas and training underserved members of the community.
Last year, M&T launched a Multicultural Small Business Innovation Lab to support businesses serving Buffalo’s East Side through guidance, education, access to capital, marketing and networking. Through the bank’s New Ventures division – M&T’s version of a startup lab and incubator – the bank is focused on creating solutions for problems their customers and community members are facing.
Through M&T’s Tech Academy, the bank has developed training programs for people who are traditionally underrepresented in technology roles, especially people of color, women and veterans.