Our Program Overview
“Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.”
Each assigned student visits the business location and assist the business owner using a “train the trainer” approach. They help to develop Upper Albany entrepreneurs’ business acumen by applying concepts acquired from the intellectual capital developed at the University of Hartford and a series of seminars devoted to the specific areas of need identified by conducting a needs assessment. As part of the mutual learning experience, students obtain hands-on, real world understanding about owning and operating a small business as well as first-hand exposure to diversity through this unique service learning initiative. More than 295 students have participated in the program and a staggering total of over 11,300 hours of training have been served to the merchants of Upper Albany.
The MBI served 10 businesses during its first year of existence. It currently provides service to 25 micro-enterprises in Upper Albany and has worked with a total of 62 different businesses over the course of the past four years. As a direct result of the MBI program, 26 businesses have received computers and training, 22 businesses received loan assistance totaling over $765,000, at least 145 new jobs have been created in the neighborhood, 2 businesses significantly expanded their operations and more than 88.1 million dollars in private investment has been infused within the community of Upper Albany. In 2004, the MBI was recognized as the “Best Economic Development Program” in the State of Connecticut and was featured in BusinessWeek’s SmallBiz in 2005. The MBI initiative is a unique, innovative public-private partnership that has helped illuminate that the Upper Albany gateway is critical to the success of the revitalization efforts throughout Hartford.