WNPR

Business

Last year President Obama challenged the nation’s businesses to double their exports within 5 years. Connecticut has been responding to that call, and as WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, small business has been a key part of the effort.

Exporting—selling products overseas—is complex and often challenging. It may not seem to be a natural fit for a small business. Not so, says economist Peter Gioia of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.

Harriet Jones

Manufacturing used to be a mainstay of employment in Connecticut. Competition from lower-cost states and overseas production has decimated the industry. But small manufacturers persist in the state and are finding ways to survive. WNPR’s Harriet Jones visited one shop in Milford for our latest small business profile.

Harriet Jones

Connecticut has around 5,000 manufacturing companies. You may be picturing Pratt & Whitney or Electric Boat, but of course the vast majority of manufacturers are small businesses. WNPR’s Harriet Jones looks at the challenges facing those firms in a shrinking industry.

It’s a typically busy day on the shop floor at Prestige Manufacturing in Milford. Ken Dugan has run this business for 27 years.

Harriet Jones

We hear all the time that small businesses are having trouble accessing credit. But sometimes it’s hard to picture what that means both for an individual firm, and for the wider economy. To find out more, WNPR’s Harriet Jones visited a construction company that’s currently rehabbing several old homes in Middletown.

Cash is the lifeblood of any small business, and access to financing can be a critical factor in whether a small enterprise can grow and thrive. Businesses need credit to hire and to make capital investments. It may sometimes seem as if the chips are stacked against them.

For 17 years, Joe Petti ran a small manufacturing firm, Delaney Engineering in Milford. He says one of the biggest issues he faced growing his company was dealing with the banks.

courtesy Larry Berk

“Buy local” has become a rallying cry for small businesses attempting to revive the high street. But it’s also a good message for those small businesses whose customers are big business. Plenty of small suppliers in Connecticut would like to see big corporations and state government look first in their own backyard when they spend money.

For the latest of WNPR’s small business profiles, business reporter Harriet Jones met with one such small supplier. 

Chion Wolf

We keep hearing that “small business” is what's going to drive an economic recovery.  But I have a question:  What is a small business anyway?

The Small Business Administration says anything under 500 employees is the number - but that's depending on the industry. The state’s jobs bill last year says it's under 50 employees, although most economists seem to agree under 100 is a more realistic and inclusive measurement.

Harriet Jones

WNPR’s Small Business Project is in Waterbury this week. 

A special edition of Where We Live this Wednesday will come live from the Palace Theater in downtown Waterbury. 

The Brass City has seen its share of hard times and economic upheaval, but revitalization efforts, many led by small business, are underway. 

Harriet Jones

This year, WNPR’s Small Business Project is taking apart what it means to be a small business owner. As part of our coverage we’re showcasing the huge diversity of the state’s small businesses and what they’re accomplishing. Most businesses start very, very small—even at the kitchen table. For the first of our small business profiles, WNPR’s Harriet Jones visits a tiny commercial kitchen in Griswold.

Jennifer Chominski is spending the morning pressing out piecrust for her baking business, Gracie Mae’s Kitchen.

More details are slowly emerging about the Connecticut-based financial expert that Warren Buffett has chosen to oversee investments at Berkshire Hathaway. The billionaire has been trying to arrange succession planning at the company after his five decades in charge. 

A prominent UConn law professor has been tapped to advise the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, founded under the Dodd-Frank financial reform act. Patricia McCoy will be working on mortgages. McCoy is the director of UConn law school’s Insurance Law Center and an expert on consumer finance issues. She’s been a prominent commentator on the foreclosure crisis, and an advocate of protecting the rights of homeowners who were the victims of predatory lending.

Pages