Minority Business Growth Program

Join the Connecticut Small Business Development Center for this  FREE 8-session virtual course that will provide Minority Owned Businesses with strategies and support to accelerate growthSessions will have a presentation followed by an application exercise.

FALL 2023 COHORT: October 10th - November 2nd

Tuesdays & Thursdays 6:00 - 9:00 PM via WebEx. 

Register for the Fall 2023 Cohort here.

Program Description

The Minority Business Growth Program (MBGP) will provide students with knowledge and access to resources to help their businesses scale and thrive while taking part in a shared collaborative experience. 

At Connecticut Small Business Development Center (CTSBDC), we believe small and minority businesses are an important component for building and sustaining vibrant communities, therefore, a key objective of the MBGP is to help business owners understand essential drivers for growth.

Your MBGP journey will commence with a critical review of your business, its operational capability, performance, and resource adequacy to build a snapshot of your business status. Your journey will continue over eight engaging sessions where you will receive valuable information from subject experts, participate in practical exercises, networking sessions, and be guided through operational and technical challenges that are common to many small businesses.

New for the 2023 Fall Cohort:

Presentation by the Small Business Administration
John Xu, from the Small Business Administration, will join us in Session 8, to speak about the work of the SBA and will highlight services that are relevant for Small Businesses, including the various Loan Programs, including 7a, 504, and microloans.

Introduction to Business Management systems for growth-focused businesses
Students will have the opportunity to participate in Odoo’s Scale Up business educational game, which will teach students how to apply technology to help their business scale while managing multiple processes and functions at the same time. This learning platform is free to students as part of Odoo’s educational program.


"The eight-session online educational course has been very helpful in refreshing the key business fundamentals and its disciplined implementation. The instructor who led course content, guest speakers, and other subject experts have provided valuable resources."

Nikhil - 1st Cohort (May - June 2022)

To participate in the program, businesses must meet the following requirements:
  • Small Minority Businesses (5-100 employees)
  • Located in Connecticut
  • In operation for at least 1 year
  • Sales greater than $150,000

Businesses will be pre-screened to verify that they meet the eligibility criteria.

Course Curriculum
Session Date Topic
Session 1 Tuesday 10/10 - 6:00 - 9:00 PM (EST) Stage Setting
Introduction, Expectations, and Work Effort Requirements
Session 2 Thursday 10/12 - 6:00 - 9:00 PM (EST) Strategy
Understanding and Applying Business Strategy
Session 3 Tuesday 10/17 - 6:00 - 9:00 PM (EST) Marketing
Principles of Marketing
Session 4 Thursday 10/19 - 6:00 - 9:00 PM (EST) Marketing
Understanding Digital Marketing: Uses and Limitations
Session 5 Tuesday 10/24 - 6:00 - 9:00 PM (EST) Operations
Building Effective Teams
Session 6 Thursday 10/26 - 6:00 - 9:00 PM (EST) Operations
Management & Technology Adoption
Session 7 Tuesday 10/31 - 6:00 - 9:00 PM (EST) Operations
Tracking and Measuring Business Performance
Session 8 Thursday 11/2 - 6:00 - 9:00 PM (EST) Capital
Readiness, Types of Capital, including, Debt, Equity and Venture



Course Leader

Mark Hayles is a business advisor for the Connecticut Small Business Development Center where he focuses on the development of small and minority businesses, especially those in underserved communities across the state. He has long understood that thriving small businesses are critical to local economic growth and that they need access to opportunities, capital, and resources so they grow and thrive.

He has more than 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur, business educator, and mentor with a professional background in accounting, technology, and faith-based organizations in Europe and the US.

Mark’s life journey from the Caribbean to the UK, Europe, and the United States has helped him appreciate the incredible imagination, creativity, and determination of people to improve themselves and their communities. This experience has defined him and his rai·son d’ê·tre, to be an agent of impactful change.

Mark is passionate about learning and is a life-long student of history. He enjoys the outdoors, cooking (and eating), and being a dad to his two daughters.