Camp Hill’s Joy of Events Group Wins First-Ever Capital Region Multicultural Small Business Innovation Lab Pitch Competition

Cameroon-born owner Joy Boudreau took home the $8,000 grand prize

HARRISBURG, PA.; June 10, 2022 — Joy Boudreau, owner and co-founder of Joy of Events Group LLC in Camp Hill, Pa., won the $8,000 grand prize of the pitch competition held June 9 to culminate the first-ever Capital Region Multicultural Small Business Innovation Lab, sponsored by M&T Bank.

Boudreau, who was born in Cameroon and immigrated to the U.S. in 1991, started her business in late 2019 with her husband, Tyler, after planning their wedding earlier that year. She is the lead planner for Joy of Events, which plans corporate meetings and conferences, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, graduation parties and more.

“To start a business during any climate is an arduous undertaking, so starting our business right before a pandemic was not for the faint of heart,” Boudreau said. “I can only hope for continued growth in this region and the opportunity to use my success to lift other wedding vendors of color up and provide educational opportunities to youth interested in the business.”

The pitch competition capped the final session of the six-week business accelerator program that launched May 5 in partnership with Harrisburg University of Science and Technology’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CIE). The Capital Region Multicultural Small Business Innovation Lab focused on business planning, establishing credit, accessing capital, marketing, branding and networking. Weekly courses were held Thursdays at Harrisburg University through June 9.

Tomisheri Tilman, owner of Mind Body Rest, earned the second-place prize of $4,000 in the pitch competition, while Kyiana Gooding, owner of Klawed by Kitty, was awarded the third-place prize of $3,000. Of the $15,000 in prize winnings, M&T Bank contributed $10,000 and Dauphin County Commissioners added another $5,000.

Other participants in the pitch competition included Antonette Fry, owner of Uptown Candles, and Shanice Love, owner of Love Galore.

The Capital Region Multicultural Small Business Innovation Lab was offered to entrepreneurs who met the following eligibility requirements:

  • Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx or Asian American;
  • In business no more than three years; and,
  • Annual business revenue of $350,000 or less.

In all, 40 entrepreneurs from the Harrisburg area participated in the Capital Region Multicultural Small Business Innovation Lab – the second in a series of business accelerator programs launched by M&T Bank to help multicultural small businesses in its 12-state footprint gain access to the resources and knowledge needed to grow.

Last year, the bank kicked off its Multicultural Small Business Innovation Lab series in Buffalo, N.Y., and it is planning to offer a similar program this year in Bridgeport, Conn. – one of the Northeast markets M&T entered with its acquisition of People’s United Financial, Inc.

“Our Multicultural Small Business Innovation Lab series is an important step in M&T’s work to encourage and invest in entrepreneurism in the communities we serve,” said David Femi, head of M&T Bank’s Multicultural Banking & Diverse Market Strategy. “These multicultural businesses, when guided and supported, can make a difference in people’s lives and uplift our communities.”

The Capital Region Multicultural Small Business Innovation Lab is an outcome of focus group meetings M&T held with various multicultural community leaders who described the challenges their communities face when launching and growing their businesses in the region.

About M&T Bank

M&T Bank Corporation is a financial holding company headquartered in Buffalo, New York. M&T’s principal banking subsidiary, M&T Bank, provides banking products and services in 12 states across the northeastern U.S. from Maine to Virginia and Washington, D.C. Trust-related services are provided in select markets in the U.S. and abroad by M&T’s Wilmington Trust-affiliated companies and by M&T Bank. For more information about M&T Bank, visit www.mtb.com.

About Harrisburg University of Science and Technology

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. For more information on the University’s affordable demand-driven undergraduate and graduate programs, call 717-901-5146 or email, Connect@HarrisburgU.edu. Follow on Twitter (@HarrisburgU) and Facebook (Facebook.com/HarrisburgU).

© 2022 M&T Bank. Member FDIC.

Media Contact:
Scott Graham
(410) 409-4803
sgraham1@mtb.com

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