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People told Giuliana Maravalle she was crazy when she moved her piano bar and gelato factory to a neglected industrial warehouse on Sargent Drive. One year later, she’s ready to expand the business with a new country and western bar, and people are eating her “artisanal” Italian treat from the Boston Symphony to JFK airport thanks to the work of a dozen additional employees.

courtesy eGen

Connecticut would like to reinvent itself as the next Silicon Valley. Some economic development experts say our future lies with the state’s small technology companies. If that’s to become a reality, Connecticut’s universities will have to be a key part of the change. A conference today at UConn aims to show the way. 

courtesy eGen

Connecticut would like to reinvent itself as the next Silicon Valley. Some economic development experts say our future lies with the state’s small technology companies. If that’s to become a reality, Connecticut’s universities will have to be a key part of the change. A conference today at UConn aims to show the way. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Harriet Jones

This recession began with the bursting of the housing bubble, and home building has been one of the industries hardest hit in its aftermath. Eighty percent of new houses in Connecticut are built by local, small construction companies. WNPR’s Harriet Jones went to find out how those survivors have reinvented themselves.

Courtesy Dymax

This has been National Small Business Week. The President proclaims this week to honor and recognize the contribution of small businesses to the economy. Tonight the Small Business Person of the Year will be chosen in a special ceremony in Washington DC. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Harriet Jones

This was one of the snowiest winters in recent memory in Connecticut. There seemed to be almost an epidemic of roof collapses as buildings all over the state gave way under the weight of accumulated snowfalls. Many of those affected were businesses. WNPR’s Harriet Jones went to visit with one of them, to see how the recovery is progressing.

One snowy day last February, the two staff working at Alexandra Litor’s French bakery in Stafford Springs heard the sounds of the building collapsing all around them.

Harriet Jones

It can feel daunting and perhaps lonely to start a new business. So where can you turn for some friendly advice and seasoned experience?

It turns out there are hundreds of retired executives in Connecticut who offer free counseling services to small business. They're known as SCORE.

WNPR's Harriet Jones sat down with four SCORE counselors, Dennis Peoples, Nazz Paciotti, Joe Beerbower and Eric Steinmetz, who have a pretty good perspective on what small business people do right...and wrong...when getting started.

Harriet Jones

Governor Malloy has declared the state of Connecticut open for business. But many small businesses find when they come in contact with state government, their first experience is frustration. WNPR’s Harriet Jones looks at just how well the state is doing in streamlining its approach to business.

This is Larry’s Auto Power in Groton, and that’s a race car engine on the test block.

“We do street performance engine rebuilding, racecar engine building.”

Harriet Jones

One of the biggest financial pressures on small businesses in Connecticut comes from the cost of utilities. The cost of electricity in particular puts Connecticut businesses at a severe disadvantage. The burden is affecting companies, but work is being done to address the problem.

Bridgeport Small Business Breakfast

May 4, 2011

Connecticut lawmakers have passed a new, two year budget that raises taxes - and is counting on union concessions.  What will it mean for small business?

creative commons

Workplace expert Al Bhatt says our places of employment should be made up of jazz bands, rather than a marching band.

Bhatt’s done consulting work for big companies like Facebook, Siemens, American Express, and State Farm Insurance.

Now Facebook, I can see them being pretty improvisational...but an insurance company?  

Today, in advance of our “small business breakfast” tomorrow in Bridgeport, we’re going to look at the changing workplace in big businesses, and how they’re adapting to a new workforce.  

Jeff Cohen/WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy said his administration is continuing its talks with state labor unions to fill a $2 billion hole in the proposed budget.  WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports.

Harriet Jones

WNPR’s Small Business Project has reported on the high cost of training a skilled workforce to meet the needs of the state and the nation.

This week Harriet Jones visits a small business in Connecticut that’s working on providing a cost-effective and innovative solution to that problem.

I’m in East Hartford at the premises of a company called VRSim, getting a lesson on how to spray paint a vehicle door, from Rebecca McKnight.

“So I’ll do a quick spray for you.”

Harriet Jones

For many small businesses, training Connecticut’s workforce is a key issue for the state’s economic future. That’s one reason why Governor Malloy’s recent proposal to move the state’s technical high schools into municipal control raised so many eyebrows. WNPR’s Harriet Jones looks at how well Connecticut is planning to meet its workforce needs in the new millennium.

You might think in an economy like this, employers with a job to fill would be inundated with qualified candidates.

It can cost small businesses between $5,000 and $10,000 just to administer their tax returns each year. That’s the finding of a new survey, which calls for radical improvements to the tax code. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

The National Small Business Association conducted a survey of its members on how much time and money it takes them to comply with the federal tax code.

“The tax code is incredibly complex”

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