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Entrepreneurial Center Receives an AARP Foundation Grant

Entrepreneurial Center is among 32 community-based organizations selected to receive funds to help older adults build the skills to work for themselves

Hartford, CT, June 12, 2017 – AARP Foundation has awarded a grant to the Entrepreneurial Center to conduct Work for Yourself@50+℠ workshops in Hartford, CT. This national grant initiative is designed to help vulnerable older adults assess opportunities for self-employment, build skills, and connect with resources that will enable them to generate income by working for themselves.

The first workshop will be offered at the Center during the second week in July. The Entrepreneurial Center, located at 1265 Asylum Avenue in Hartford, CT, provides hands-on educational programs, business advising, technical assistance, and networking events for new and expanding small businesses, as well as aspiring entrepreneurs. The Women's Business Center, which specializes in serving women in business, is its largest initiative.

“For many low-income older adults, self-employment and business ownership is an opportunity to change their future,” said Emily Allen, Senior Vice President AARP Foundation Programs. “AARP Foundation is proud to work with organizations like the Women’s Business Center who are committed to helping older adults successfully run their own business. Our Work for Yourself@50+ program is designed to enable older adults to pursue self-employment by connecting them with trustworthy resources in their own communities.”

Fred Wergeles, Entrepreneurial Center Director, said, “The Center is excited to work with AARP and The Hartford to offer our resources to the ‘over-50’ client segment. We hope to spur new business start-ups by providing training, technical support, and advisory services to older adults looking for new career and business opportunities. Our experience with past clients shows that such customized business development services are instrumental in the success of these new ventures.” The program will be managed by Women’s Business Center Program Manager, Milena Erwin.

Through a nationwide open request for proposals, AARP Foundation, with support from The Hartford, identified and then selected promising organizations in high-need communities to receive grant awards and implement the Work for Yourself@50+ workshop model. The workshops help low-income adults 50 and older understand the pros and cons of self-employment and support them through the early steps that can lead to success.

“The Hartford is excited to work together with AARP Foundation on the Work for Yourself@50+ program, empowering mature adults to build on their potential and to prevail as independent entrepreneurs,” said Diane Cantello, head of Corporate Sustainability for The Hartford. “Self-employment creates small businesses that contribute to the stability and vitality of their local communities.”

Working with AARP Foundation, each grantee will put together a plan in its community to:

  • Publicize Work for Yourself@50+ resources and workshops to potential entrepreneurs
  • Host and facilitate a 90-minute introductory workshop, designed by AARP Foundation, to walk participants through the Work for Yourself@50+ materials
  • Connect program participants with local, accessible resources to help them take action on their income-generation plans

In addition to receiving grant funds, grantees will also participate in a community of practice and regular assessment to help build a body of knowledge about effective older-adult services and programs.

Creating and owning a business has long been heralded as a path to financial success and economic mobility; low-income older adults, however, face unique hurdles when re-entering the workforce in a nontraditional capacity. AARP Foundation’s and The Hartford’s investment in these grantees seeks to improve the lives of vulnerable populations by supporting and advancing effective solutions.

To learn more about the Work for Yourself@50+ initiative, please visit or call 1-888-339-5617 to receive a free toolkit and sign up for the July workshop at the Entrepreneurial Center.

About AARP Foundation

AARP Foundation works to ensure that low-income older adults have nutritious food, affordable housing, a steady income, and strong and sustaining social bonds. We collaborate with individuals and organizations who share our commitment to innovation and our passion for problem-solving. Supported by vigorous legal advocacy, we create and advance effective solutions that help struggling older adults transform their lives. AARP Foundation is the affiliated charity of AARP.

About The Hartford

The Hartford is a leader in property and casualty insurance, group benefits and mutual funds. With more than 200 years of expertise, The Hartford is widely recognized for its service excellence, sustainability practices, trust and integrity. More information on the company and its financial performance is available at Follow The Hartford on Twitter at

The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., (NYSE: HIG) operates through its subsidiaries under the brand name, The Hartford, and is headquartered in Hartford, Conn. For additional details, please read The Hartford’s legal notice at