NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Women-owned businesses are helping to change the landscape of New Haven thanks to equity match grants from the Women’s Business Development Council and the state of Connecticut.

At the height of the pandemic, women business owners failed to receive the necessary loans and grants.

“Unfortunately, 80% of the funding from the federal government went to male-owned businesses and white-owned businesses,” Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz told News 8.

However, this equity grant is designed to level the playing field. The grant starts at $2,500 and tops out at $10,000.

“Women can’t even get loans, because that’s more debt, so to have a grant is even better to grow their business,” WBDC Manager Kenyetta Banks said.

For Kiara Matos, this is not just another business deal, but more about molding the future.

“It’s going to allow me to hire people,” Matos of Ceramic Studio said.

She noted that “if I don’t sit on that wheel, there’s nothing I can show and sell out there.”

Additionally, Havenly Treats, the business best described as ‘a cafe on a mission,’ received a grant. Camila Guiza-Chavez, codirector of the cafe, said the business’ best-seller is their baclava. But that’s not all that’s being served up at Havenly Treats.

“Our mission is to build the community power of immigrant and refugee women in New Haven through job training, education, and organizing,” Guiza-Chavez said.

According to the National Association of Women Businesses, 40% of U.S. businesses are owned by women and generate $1.8 trillion a year.

“Seventy cents of every dollar that someone spends at this store will stay right in this immediate community,” Bysciewicz said.

Whether it’s an artistic expression of a tasty Havenly Treat, these women are a force in New Haven – and making a difference.