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The COVID-19 pandemic and the associated shutdown have meant lost sales and financial hardship for small businesses, and they have made face-to-face networking nearly impossible. The combination has left many of those businesses in a tenuous situation—unable to sell to current customers and unable to look for new ones. The University of Hartford’s Entrepreneurial Center & Women’s Business Center’s 11th Annual CT Business Matchmaker is designed to help address that problem. This year, the event will be held in a virtual format on Friday, October 2, from 8:00AM until 2:30PM.

CT Business Matchmaker pairs small, established businesses, contractors, and service providers with “Primes,” which are large and medium-sized companies, municipalities, agencies, and other hiring entities who are actively interested in growing and diversifying their supplier lists. Primes can expect to be connected with experienced small businesses that can fill a range of roles from skilled labor and products to operations consulting. It is an invaluable opportunity for companies to interview and vet contractors and expand their contracting relationships.

Helping to build opportunities for Connecticut’s small businesses is a driving priority for The Metropolitan District (MDC), one of the Prime attendees and this year’s Gold Sponsor. “Through the CT Business Matchmaker, we accomplish our goal of reaching out to new subcontractors and providing economic opportunities to local businesses,” said Michael Jefferson, MDC’s Diversity Manager.

CT Business Matchmaker 2020 will be an interactive, virtual experience. Attendees will be able to identify potential partnerships during a series of 10-minute, one-on-one video interviews that are designed to connect small businesses with companies and agencies that subcontract services and supplies. They will also have the opportunity to network with other small businesses by video or chat, either individually or by joining topic-specific conversations. Everything will be available online and can be accessed from the comfort and safety of your office.

Registration for small businesses will open Tuesday, September 8. You can register here.

A few slots for Primes are still available. If your company, agency, or municipality has subcontracting opportunities, please email Milena Erwin at to register. There is no charge for Primes to participate.

“The Matchmaker program is a premier event offering significant new opportunities for Connecticut-based small businesses. Moving to an online format was a necessity this year, but we are committed to recreating the fast-paced Matchmaker environment that has worked so well for a decade,” said Milena Erwin, the Women’s Business Center Program Manager. “The current pandemic has impacted everyone, and disproportionately affected women- and minority-owned small businesses. In support of our Women’s Business Center mission, we continue to focus on providing them meaningful ways to make the connections they need to move forward and rebuild. We look forward to hosting another valuable Matchmaker event.”

This year’s sponsors include Dimeo Construction Company, Key Bank, Connecticut Airport Authority, Stanley Black & Decker, and CMAA Connecticut Chapter. In addition to the Entrepreneurial Center & Women’s Business Center, organizing sponsors include the University of Hartford’s Construction Institute, CT Department of Administrative Services, CT Procurement Technical Assistance Center, CT Human Rights & Opportunities, CT Center for Advanced Technology, CT Secretary of State’s Office, Disability in Connecticut, and US General Services Administration. The US Small Business Administration is an event partner.

To learn more, visit

About the University of Hartford’s Entrepreneurial Center & Women’s Business Center

The University of Hartford’s Entrepreneurial Center & Women’s Business Center provides personalized business advising, educational programs, technical assistance, and networking events to new and expanding small businesses in Connecticut. The Women’s Business Center focuses on serving women, minority-owned businesses, and other underserved constituents. Part of the nationally-renowned Barney School of Business, the Center specializes in turning ideas into viable businesses and break-even companies into sustainable, profitable, and scalable enterprises. For more information, visit