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Unemployed veterans hope new tax credit initiatives at the state and federal levels will help them find jobs. Some Connecticut businesses say they’re just waking up to the opportunity.

Harriet Jones

If you want to start your own business, your age may be a critical factor in your success. But not in the way you might imagine. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Picture an entrepreneur. Are you thinking of a young, intense 20-something, up all night writing computer code? The reality, more often than not, is at the other end of the age spectrum.

“This is my place of business, which is two filing cabinets and a used laptop and a used monitor. Starting a new business you’ve really got to improvise.”

Courtesy: Eugene Montano

2011 was a challenging year if you were running a small business. WNPR’s Harriet Jones has been speaking with small business owners in Connecticut about the year just past, and looking ahead into 2012.

2011 was supposed to be the year the economic recovery really picked up steam. For small business owners, it depends where you were standing.

“It’s been the toughest year, definitely been the toughest year.”

For many companies, cloud computing is still kind of a fuzzy concept. But the IT professionals tell us that 2012 is the year it will come into sharp focus. Many businesses will spend this year figuring out how the cloud make sense for them, and how to integrate it into their IT strategies. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

2011 may be remembered as the year that disappointed many of our economic hopes. The recovery was supposed to pick up steam and give us significant job growth, but that wasn’t the way it played out. WNPR’s Harriet Jones has been talking to a panel of economists about the year that’s just ending and looking ahead into 2012.

Certainty was hard to come by in 2011, but Alissa DeJonge, chief economist for the Connecticut Economic Resource Center says at least this much definitively.

Harriet Jones

December’s a pretty intense month for many people – but imagine if you were a Christmas tree farmer.  As this busy season comes to a close, WNPR’s Harriet Jones visited Staehly’s Tree Farm in East Haddam to find out what kind of a year this has been for the state’s tree growers.

“Hi there… how are you….”

From the Occupy Wall Street movement to uproar over the prolonged power outages during the October snowstorm, people’s engagement in public space is alive and growing. A New Haven-based start-up is harnessing technology to make city governments and other public entities more accountable and efficient. WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan reports.

The Connecticut Economy is a quarterly review put out by the University of Connecticut that analyzes - well - the state’s economy. The latest edition was recently released and includes an analysis of Connecticut’s quality of life.

One major factor in any economic study is the unemployment rate and yesterday, the Connecticut Department of Labor released new statistics showing a slight drop to 8.4% in what the department calls a plateauing of the unemployment rate.

maorix (Flickr Creative Commons)

The Connecticut Mirror's Mark Pazniokas looked at how Governor Dannell Malloy is taking a broad look at new ways to bring more gambling revenue into state coffers. Mark Pazniokas joins us now by phone.

From Pazniokas' story:

With competition rising on all sides, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says he is working with the Mashantucket Pequots and Mohegans to stabilize their market share -- and Connecticut's 25 percent cut of the gross profits from their slot machines.

Getting On The List

Dec 12, 2011
J Holt

Municipal contracts can be an important source of income for small businesses. But it’s not always easy to find a way through the maze of red tape to get the work. Hartford has been trying particularly to help small contractors, and women and minority-owned businesses to benefit from city contracts. WNPR’s J Holt brings us the story.

Rosemond Frett has been in business in Hartford for fourteen years, but she’s never had a contract with the city itself. She says when she first registered her company with the state in 1997, she did seek out opportunities.

Harriet Jones

Connecticut has been obsessed this year with questions about economic development. How much public money should be spent to help private businesses create jobs?  Which investments make the most sense with limited resources?  Many towns are dealing with these questions on the local level. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports on a successful entrepreneur in Groton – who needs help from the town to create more jobs.

Connecticut’s small businesses may not yet have seen the full impact of the state’s two disastrous storms. That was testimony given to the Governor’s Two Storm Panel, which heard Wednesday from business owners and representatives. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Harriet Jones

The failure last week of the super committee on debt reduction has implications in many different walks of life. Connecticut’s small farms are among those who have been left in limbo. That’s because a new, and significantly different version of the Farm Bill was to have been attached to the super committee’s proceedings. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Farm policy in the US has for decades revolved around huge agribusinesses

Harriet Jones

Black Friday is an established Holiday tradition, as we work off the turkey with a visit to the mall. But small, local retailers often get left out of the spending spree. The relatively new concept of Small Business Saturday is an attempt to put that right. WNPR’s Harriet Jones has the story.

Charge card giant American Express began the Small Business Saturday campaign in 2010. One year on, the concept has expanded.

Federal transportation officials have officially committed $275 million for a busway from New Britain to Hartford.  As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, state officials say construction will begin this Spring. The state says that when the busway opens in 2014, it will be a bus-only stretch of road with 11 stops and service every three to five minutes, carrying an estimated 16,000 passengers a day.  The half-billion dollar project has drawn criticism from those who say it's too costly to those who say it's the wrong transportation plan to begin with.  At a press conference, Governor Dannel Malloy defended the busway as he celebrated it.

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