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M&T Bank, in partnership with the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology,  is seeking as many as 50 entrepreneurs to participate in its second annual Capital Region Multicultural Small Business Lab – a program designed to provide multicultural business owners with the guidance and skills needed to build strong businesses, spur economic growth in the Harrisburg area and build generational wealth for their families.

The seven-week program will focus on business planning, establishing credit, accessing capital, marketing, branding, and networking.

The Multicultural Small Business Lab launches May 10, with courses held weekly each Wednesday evening at Harrisburg University. It will conclude June 21 with a pitch competition and opportunity to win grants totaling $12,000 — $6,000 for first place, $4,000 for second place and $2,000 for third place – all funded by M&T.

  • Entrepreneurs interested in participating in the program must complete an online application no later than April 18 and meet the following eligibility requirements:
  • Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx or Asian American;
  • In business no more than three years;
  • Annual business revenue of $350,000 or less; and,
  • Reside in the Greater Harrisburg area.

Qualified applicants will be enrolled in the free program on a first-come, first-served basis. Entrepreneurs who participated in the Capital Region Multicultural Small Business Lab in 2022 are eligible to enroll this year, if they did not receive a prize award during last year’s program.

“The Multicultural Small Business Lab provides local entrepreneurs with the guidance and resources necessary to pursue opportunities benefitting their surrounding communities,” said Nora Habig, M&T Bank’s regional president for Central and Western Pennsylvania. “This year’s program marks the second year of our partnership with the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship to offer the Capital Region’s small-business owners a program and grant opportunities to propel their businesses to the next level.”

Jay Jayamohan, CIE’s executive director, said: “Without a doubt, entrepreneurship has proven to be one of the most effective ways of closing the wealth gap. CIE is proud to continue and strengthen our partnership with M&T through the Multicultural Small Business Lab to support intergenerational wealth-building opportunities for individuals driving innovation in Central Pennsylvania.”

The Capital Region Multicultural Small Business Lab launched in 2022, providing 40 minority small-business owners with free access to resources and education to grow their business. Three participants of last year’s program also won $10,000 in total funding from M&T through a business pitch competition. Last year’s Capital Region Multicultural Small Business Lab received the 2022 Catalyst Award from the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and Capital Region Economic Development Corp.’s for its impact on businesses in the area.

“The Multicultural Small Business Lab was truly a life-changing experience for me as a minority entrepreneur,” said Joy Boudreau, the Cameroon-born owner and co-founder of Joy of Events Group in Camp Hill, Pa., and winner of last year’s pitch competition. “It provided me with new insight into branding and financial operations, including business credit; bolstered my confidence and encouraged me to assign proper value to my services; and finally, through the pitch contest, provided me with the funding needed to promote my company and better serve my customers in Central Pennsylvania. I’m grateful to have been selected to the program and strongly encourage my entrepreneur peers in the region to apply.”

To apply for the Capital Region Multicultural Small Business Lab, visit

Jayamohan has worked extensively with Fortune 500 and Global 1000 companies, the US government, startups, venture capitalists, and foundations. As executive director of the Harrisburg University Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, he is responsible for creating a multi-pronged, interconnected hub that aligns business activities across campus and across disciplines. He leads the effort to establish this important permanent center of innovation to create greater impact, social and business, by having innovative thinkers and entrepreneurs from Harrisburg who join with students, faculty and society to collaborate on ideas and solve problems.

Learn more about CIE and Mr. Jayamohan:

The Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CIE) works to empower innovators to build successful ventures, including Harrisburg University students and faculty, as well as entrepreneurs in the community. In addition, CIE offers opportunities for partners to invest in important scientific discoveries, technological innovations, and academic research.


Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Harrisburg University is a private nonprofit university offering bachelor and graduate degree programs in science, technology, and math fields to a diverse student body. For more information on the University’s affordable demand-driven undergraduate and graduate programs, call 717.901.5146 or email,