Business

Sales
10:40 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

Key Committee Agrees Sunday Sales

Connecticut is a step closer to Sunday alcohol sales, after a key committee voted in favor of the measure. But the bill leaves in place many protections for small package stores worried about sweeping deregulation. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

This has been one of the consuming issues in this short legislative session – one that prompted a marathon 12-hour public hearing before the General Law Committee. Republic state Senator John Kissell said it was an extraordinary day.

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Open for Business
8:12 pm
Wed March 21, 2012

How Business Friendly Is Connecticut?

Governor Malloy has declared Connecticut open for business. But many business lobbyists continue to say it’s one of the least business friendly states in the nation.  So who’s right?  WNPR’s Harriet Jones takes a look at a new analysis of Connecticut’s competitiveness.

This year’s debate over the minimum wage has crystallized a lot of views of Connecticut’s legislature as anti-business.

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Small Business and Health Insurance
11:38 am
Wed March 21, 2012

Healthcare Bill Attempts To Improve Access For Small Businesses

Harriet Jones

A new bill before the legislature aims to provide more options for small businesses purchasing health insurance. But as WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, it looks likely to stir up significant controversy.

Carolyn Malon runs a dental practice with her husband in Farmington.

“Every day in my own practice, I see the challenges that patients, self-employed people and small employers have in assessing good quality insurance coverage.”

As a small business owner she’s backing new legislation to increase access to health coverage for a very personal reason.

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Alcohol Sales
9:31 am
Mon March 12, 2012

Blue Law Changes Feared, Welcomed

Harriet Jones

In the past, attempts to reform Connecticut’s blue laws have been dominated by one simple issue – Sunday alcohol sales. But the bill before the legislature this year takes the debate much further. And it has the package store industry in uproar. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Here at the Legislative Office Building with the session in full swing, many of the conversations are about one thing.

“This has been such a significant issue in the building.”

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The Faith Middleton Show
4:39 pm
Thu March 8, 2012

Financial Advisor Bob Kreitler

Get the latest on the economy, and protecting and growing your money. Tips from our financial analyst. Plus a look at the novel about a real life experiment, having college students raise babies from adoption centers. Learn how it changed the lives of the children and students.

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Rocky Hill
11:25 am
Mon March 5, 2012

New Leadership For Connecticut Innovations

Sujata Srinivasan

Connecticut Innovations has a new chief executive officer in charge of a potential merger and a much larger investment portfolio. Claire Leonardi spoke to WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan on how she plans to shake up the organization.

Claire Leonardi brings more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry to her new job as CEO of Connecticut Innovations – or CI – a state-funded organization in Rocky Hill that invests in advanced technology ventures.

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Business
11:16 am
Fri March 2, 2012

Angels Seek Connecticut Investments

falcon1961, Flickr Creative Commons

Connecticut’s angel investment tax credit appears to be working as new figures show increased funding for start-up companies. Less encouraging, venture capital investments, the next stage of funding required for a company to grow, declined statewide last year. WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan reports. 

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Coming Home Project
3:00 pm
Thu March 1, 2012

Business Boot Camp Gives Veterans A New Start

Edward Young, whose automotive transport business is based in Milford, Conn., arrives to pick up a car to be delivered to Pennsylvania from the Valenti auto dealership in Watertown, Conn.
Rick Hartford Hartford Courant

The pullout of American troops in Iraq and those returning from Afghanistan have brought many service members back to their families and into the civilian job market.

While there is a new law that offers incentives to employers who hire them, many veterans across the country are trying to start their own businesses. A rigorous, free program started at Syracuse University is giving them the tools to be their own boss.

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Ticket Resale Legislation
10:26 am
Thu March 1, 2012

State Official Weighs In On Ticket Resale Proposal

TicketNetwork has pulled out of Connecticut’s First Five economic development program.  The news comes after the recent arrest of Don Vaccaro, CEO of the South Windsor-based company. Vaccaro has been charged with a hate crime and has taken an indefinite leave from TicketNetwork.

Meanwhile, Connecticut’s Department of Consumer Protection has just submitted to lawmakers its analysis of the ticket sales industry, and its view on a controversial proposal to change ticket sale laws in the state. 

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Coming Home Project
10:47 am
Wed February 29, 2012

Business Boot Camp Gives Veterans a New Start

Black Knights Services

A version of this story aired on NPR's "All Things Considered" on February 29, 2012

A few months ago, WNPR reported on a unique training program for veterans at the University of Connecticut. A consortium of business schools run The Entreprenuership Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities, which teaches veterans to be their own boss.

As part of our Coming Home project, WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil follows up with an EBV grad who is now a small business-owner.

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Proposed Bills
9:25 am
Mon February 27, 2012

Minimum Wage Proposal Provokes Controversy

The legislature’s labor committee will hear testimony this week on a bill to raise the state’s minimum wage. After last year’s successful passage of paid sick leave there are indications it may be a tough political battle. Many businesses also say it’s too soon in a weak economic recovery to further raise their costs. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

House Speaker Chris Donovan, introducing his legislation to raise the minimum wage, invoked some high profile bi-partisan support.

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Retail
12:07 pm
Fri February 24, 2012

Award Winning Retailer Closes Doors

Harriet Jones

  We’re told the economic recovery is gaining pace, but some businesses are still finding it hard to keep their footing in this changed economic landscape. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports on one high profile business failure in Connecticut this week.

The tills are ringing briskly at North Cove Outfitters in Old Saybrook, but that’s because bargains are flying off the shelves in a liquidation sale. Regular customer Mike Campbell summed up the mood.

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Jobs
10:47 am
Thu February 23, 2012

Grote & Weigel Will Remain In Business

Harriet Jones

The Grote & Weigel meat processing company has been saved from closure and 40 people will retain their jobs at the Bloomfield institution. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

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Education and the Workforce
4:01 pm
Thu February 16, 2012

STEM Series: Employers Promote STEM Learning

Harriet Jones

Connecticut’s students are falling behind in science, technology, engineering and math. All this week WNPR is examining this problem, and its implications for our 21st century workforce. Today, Harriet Jones reports on efforts by employers to address the lack of STEM skills. 

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Books
7:15 am
Mon February 13, 2012

Iconic Madison Bookstore For Sale

Harriet Jones

News this week that the book world will soon mark the end of an era. Roxanne Coady, doyenne of independent booksellers, is putting up the “for sale” sign on her creation, RJ Julia. The store has been a fixture in Madison for more than 20 years. WNPR’s Harriet Jones went to visit.

You only need walk in the front door at RJ Julia to know this is Roxanne Coady’s mission. Coady left a lucrative corporate career when she was turning 40 to begin this personal passion. Now 22 years later, she says it’s time to move on again.

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State Budget
11:41 am
Mon February 6, 2012

Business Leaders Call For Fiscal Restraint In Legislative Session

The General Assembly reconvenes later this week for a session that looks to be jam-packed with issues. The state’s largest business organization says lawmakers will have a difficult balancing act. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

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Entrepreneurs
11:30 am
Mon February 6, 2012

Stamford Innovation Center Opens For Business

Harriet Jones

The City of Stamford hopes to attract high-tech entrepreneurs with a new initiative to convert its Old Town Hall into a business incubator. 

Stamford’s gracious, marble-lined Old Town Hall occupies some prime real estate in the center of town, but it hasn’t served as a hub for the town since the 1960s. Now it’s bustling once again.

“It’s a center of gravity and it works for the whole community.”

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Where We Live
10:23 am
Mon February 6, 2012

Locavesting

Shai Barzilay (Flickr Creative Commons)

Investment options are endless...Apple, Walmart, Starbucks, Microsoft, Exxon Mobil...but how about countless numbers of local startups around the country?

They might not be the most obvious investment choice. But many people call small business the backbone of our economy and the cornerstone of our communities.

So why aren’t we investing more in them?

Today, a look at investing locally or what our guest and author Amy Cortese calls locavesting. Her book looks at this new movement and explains how to profit from it.

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Meat Processing
9:26 am
Wed February 1, 2012

No Relish In Historic Company Closure

Harriet Jones

The owner of Grote & Weigel says he’s still hopeful of finding a buyer for the troubled meat processing company. As WNPR’s Harriet Jones, the historic Bloomfield firm is due to shut its doors in less than two weeks.

The smokehouses at Grote & Weigel’s Bloomfield headquarters are still running, for now.

“We’re reaching a point where we’re running out of meat now and we’re running out of casings and all the other supplies we need to make the hotdogs.”

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Manufacturing
12:41 pm
Mon January 30, 2012

Businesses Fall Behind On Disaster Planning

The end of January is gut-check time for anyone who’s made New Year’s resolutions. Many experts say top of the resolution list for small businesses should be a disaster recovery plan. After all, the incredible list of weather emergencies in Connecticut last year drove many businesses to the brink. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

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Where We Live
10:51 am
Mon January 30, 2012

Income Inequality and Economic Growth

zzzack, creative commons

The November elections are shaping up to be largely about the issue of income inequality.

That’s especially if multi-millionaire investor Mitt Romney gets the Republican nomination - which seems increasingly likely.  News of Romney’s tax rate - around 14% - coupled with outspoken statements from other uber-wealthy investors like Warren Buffett - who think they really should be paying more in taxes than those who work for them - have set up this battle.

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Jobs Bill
11:39 am
Fri January 27, 2012

Dems Seek To Expand Access To Jobs Bill

Harriet Jones

Connecticut Senate Democrats say they want to tweak the jobs bill that passed in last fall’s special session, in order to make it more effective for businesses. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Senate leaders chose the shopfloor of a successful Connecticut manufacturing business to make this announcement, Adchem Manufacturing Technologies in Manchester. Senate President Don Williams.

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Government
9:16 am
Mon January 23, 2012

Open Innovation For Government

Harriet Jones

A Connecticut company is partnering with NASA and Harvard University in an initiative that it hopes will bring a whole new level of efficiency to the federal government. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Topcoder, based in Glastonbury, was founded just ten years ago, but in that decade it’s become something of  a touchstone in the tech community.

“The idea that nobody is as smart as everybody is catching on now.”

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Connecticut Loans
2:31 pm
Fri January 20, 2012

Express Package Gets On The Road

Harriet Jones

The state of Connecticut has made its first loan under the small business express package. As WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, it comes just days after questions were raised about the program’s paperwork problems.

Scott DeFelice CEO of Oxford Performance Materials shows Governor Dannel Malloy the new equipment his company has invested in since moving into this new South Windsor facility in August.  Malloy is here because Oxford is the first company to get a loan under the state’s small business express package.

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Local Impact
9:52 am
Tue January 17, 2012

State's Business Loans Mired In Paperwork

Sujata Srinivasan

Last year’s jobs bill set aside $100 million as a loan pool to help small businesses grow and create jobs. It’s dubbed the Small Business Express Package, and applicants were promised a quick turnaround. State officials have been touring the state to explain the program to businesses that might benefit. But as WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan reports, they have yet to finalize a loan.

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Veterans
2:42 pm
Wed January 11, 2012

Connecticut Businesses Mull Hiring Jobless Vets

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.

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Starting Your Own Business
9:40 am
Tue January 10, 2012

Older Entrepreneurs More Numerous, Successful

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.”

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Small Business, Big Struggles
9:50 am
Wed January 4, 2012

The Small Business Year In Review

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.”

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Cloud Computing
11:02 am
Tue January 3, 2012

Is 2012 Your Year In The Cloud?

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.

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Economic Development
11:39 am
Fri December 30, 2011

The Economic Year Ahead

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.

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