BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Small business owners in Buffalo’s west and east sides are getting a big boost.

On Monday M&T bank and Canisius College held their second annual multicultural small business innovation lab at Canisius’s Science Hall commons. The goal is to empower racially and ethically-diverse entrepreneurs to start and grow new businesses.

Monday, seven business finalists from this program participated in the final pitch competition. Three of the finalist will be awarded a total of $20,000 to help kickstart their business. One organizer says by giving back to a small business owner, this will help grow and benefit the community.

“We know when our small businesses do well, our communities will do well. So this is one way to invest in community growth. This is one way to invest in the sustainability of this communities work, and showing our commitment to growing to small businesses that serve all these neighborhoods and communities where we live and work,” said David Femi, the head of multicultural banking for M&T.

Over 50 local entrepreneurs participated in this year’s program. M&T is also working to build a culturally-fluid bank that will serve the west and east sides of Buffalo.

The prize winners were Ari Parson PR led by Ari Parson, Kiper Moving and Transportation led by Dante Giggs and MOBE Kitchen and Bath Remodeling led by Mubark Abdalla. They won $10,000, $6,000 and $4,000, respectively.