The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency has awarded Connecticut a five-year, $2 million grant to operate a national advanced manufacturing center.

The center will connect minority-owned manufacturers with experienced professionals to refine business strategies and operations, assist with financial analysis, and connect them with Manufacturing Extension Partnership centers for additional resources.

CBIA affiliate CONNSTEP is one of the key partners in the center, along with the University of Connecticut School of Business, the Connecticut Small Business Development Center, and the state Department of Economic and Community Development.

CONNSTEP is Connecticut’s official MEP representative, part of the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology.

CONNSTEP president and CEO Beatriz Gutierrez said the center will help unlock new growth opportunities within Connecticut's manufacturing sector, a critical part of the state's economy.

"This partnership will help leverage growth opportunities, create jobs, and strengthen the state's manufacturing ecosystem."

CONNSTEP's Beatriz Gutierrez

"This collaboration will ensure that traditionally underserved manufacturing enterprises can access technical, business development, and other resources needed to operate efficiently and expand," she said.

"There are tremendous untapped growth opportunities within the sector—this public-private partnership will help leverage those opportunities, create jobs, and strengthen the state's manufacturing ecosystem and economy."

Gov. Ned Lamont said the partnership will provide minority-owned manufacturers "opportunities to expand their businesses into new markets or refine current operations to run more efficiently."

The grant is one of four awarded nationally by the Commerce Department and will be administered by the Connecticut SBDC, which is located at the UConn School of Business.

For more information about participating in the program, contact the Connecticut SBDC (; 877.723.2828).