Three Shelton women business owners to get a boost

Three Shelton female business owners are among those selected as winners of the 10th annual Women in Networking (WIN) Entrepreneurial Grant program.

The Shelton recipients are:

— Nicole Heriot, owner of Bring the Hoopla in Shelton, $1,500

— Jaime Aulet of Jaime’s Barefoot Books Boutique in Shelton, $500

— Wendy Hahn of Chocolate Pizza Co. in Shelton will receive a Women’s Business Development Council scholarship

Affiliated with Greater Valley Chamber

The three Shelton business owners are among six recipients recognized at a WIN holiday luncheon on Dec. 10 at the Courtyard by Marriott in Shelton.

The WIN grant is a named fund managed by the Valley Community Foundation. The WIN organization is one of three leads (networking) groups affiliated with the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Helping to enhance or start a business

The WIN grants can be used for expenses to enhance an applicant’s current business or to start a new business.

These expenses may include equipment, tuition, books, transportation, business wardrobe or childcare necessary to reach the applicant’s career goals. Recipients also receive a complimentary one-year membership to the WIN group.

The grant recipients will utilize their awards in different ways. Heriot will produce materials for an educational kit for Bring the Hoopla; Aulet plans to buy display materials along with additional inventory for Jaime’s Barefoot Books Boutique; and Hahn will obtain a scholarship for the WBDC FastTrak program Connecticut for Chocolate Pie LLC, the name of her company that operates Chocolate Pizza.

More than $38,000 distributed so far

This grant-in-aid program provides financial assistance to women 18 years or age or older in the Greater Valley towns of Shelton, Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Derby, Oxford and Seymour.

The grants are distributed from funds received from WIN membership dues and fund-raisers organized by the group. This past fall, WIN’s Appletini Harvest at the Inn at Villa Blanca raised more than $8,000.

Since its inception, WIN has donated over $38,000 to 35 grant recipients.

The other 2013 grant recipients are:

— Linda Drost, owner of Daily Aromatherapy in Ansonia, $1,100

— JoElle Anderson, owner of Dragonflies in Seymour, $1,000.

— Alyssa Antonucci of Beads by Alyssa in Ansonia, $600

Encourage economic development

“We are pleased to continue the legacy of awarding annual grants to well-qualified entrepreneurial women in the Valley,” said Courtney George, who chairs WIN and is a principal and chairman of Cohen and Wolf's Employment & Labor Group.

“During these difficult economic times, we are pleased to offer over $6,000 in grants in encourage economic development in the Valley,” George said.

Sharon Massafra, franchise owner of Home Instead Senior Care and independent consultant with Arbonne International, chaired the grant selections committee.

Group began in 2002

WIN is the first group of its kind to service the six-town region of the Greater Valley. Founded in 2002, the group was formed by a successful group of businesswomen who meet to discuss common issues.

Meetings are conducted on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month. These meetings are either held at the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce office or at a chamber member location. Social and educational events also are scheduled throughout the year.

To learn how to join, call the chamber at 203-925-4981 or go to