entrepreneurs

Connecticut Craft Beer: A New Industry is Brewing

Aug 7, 2015
Chion Wolf

To say Connecticut is known for its world class craft beers is not accurate-- at least not yet. But a bold band of merry (and quite innovative) beer brewers from cities all around are on a mission to change that, one small batch at a time. With nearly 40 in-state breweries currently in operation-- a ten fold increase from the number we had only six years ago -- the Connecticut craft beer industry is booming.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

    

An invention to treat Alzheimer’s Disease, patented by a Connecticut entrepreneur, could now be in human clinical trials before the end of this year. The development comes just months after the launch of the technology.

Sujata Srinivasan / WNPR

The head of Connecticut Innovations, Claire Leonardi, has announced her resignation from the quasi-state agency. Leonardi has led Connecticut’s technology investment arm for almost three years. 

A new website for Connecticut entrepreneurs aims to launch 500 new companies in the state. The grassroots effort connects inventors with investors and help services.

Connecticut Innovations, the state’s tech investment agency, has run short of money, and says it will delay funding some of its key programs. The issue — it can’t get onto the Bond Commission agenda.

Sujata Srinivasan / WNPR

The odds were never in favor of small businesses. Data from the Small Business Administration shows that only about one-third of all start-ups make it beyond the first ten years. 

Around the country, there are lots of tinkerers working on what they hope will be the next brilliant idea — but who don't have the tools in their garage to build it.

In dozens of cities, those innovators can set up shop in a "maker space" — community workshops where members have access to sophisticated tools and expertise.

Maker spaces have become hotbeds of technological innovation and entrepreneurship. Now, governments, universities and big corporations are taking notice — and beginning to invest in them.

Until recently, Mike Smith, 64, of Long Beach, Calif., worked 11 hours a day, Monday through Friday and then half a day on Saturday. He was a district manager for a national auto parts chain.

He dreamed of retiring early, but it wasn't an option for him because he and his wife relied on the health insurance tied to his job.

"At our age, with some pre-existing medical conditions, it would have been very costly to buy insurance on the open market — about $3,000 a month," he says.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

Do you ever wonder how the banner ad that pops up on your favorite website gets there, and who chooses what you’ll see?

At the moment, the buying and selling of digital ads is largely controlled by big legacy agencies. But there’s a tiny upstart company in Stamford that wants to disrupt the growing market.

Ben Simo / Creative Commons

Our schools teach a variety of foreign languages: Spanish, French, even Latin. But should we be focusing on the language of computer programming? Even NBA star Chris Bosh is asking everyone from young kids to the homeless to learn to code. Why aren’t we teaching it more? It seems like President Obama needs an army of coders to fix the glitchy HealthCare.gov website.

Crowdfunding is popular among musicians, filmmakers and artists looking for a way to finance their next project.

Now the Securities and Exchange Commission is considering rules that, for the first time, would allow small companies to solicit investments over the Internet and sell shares to the general public.

For some small firms, these new rules come as welcome news.

Can Connecticut Retain Its Star Tech Companies?

Nov 8, 2013
Harland Quarrington / Creative Commons

Connecticut has its share of tech giants, like Priceline.com and TicketNetwork. But it's increasingly up against stiff competition from other states to grow and retain technology companies. 

Ben Simo / Creative Commons

It may not be enough anymore to just be tech-literate. There is a mainstream push to teach people, both kids and adults alike, to be code-literate. On an episode of Where We Live, there was a discussion with people who code, making the case for more code education.

B:Hive

Five million dollars in state funding has been awarded to more than 20 organizations that will promote start-up businesses in Connecticut through the state's entrepreneurial ecosystem. CT Next was launched a year ago to try to create a climate that would support entrepreneurs and foster successful startup businesses. But the first year got off to a slow start, and there was disagreement about who should take the lead in developing the ecosystem.

Ben Simo / Creative Commons

Our schools teach a variety of foreign languages: Spanish, French, even Latin. But should we be focusing on the language of computer programming? Even NBA star Chris Bosh is asking everyone from young kids to the homeless to learn to code. Why aren’t we teaching it more? It seems like President Obama needs an army of coders to fix the glitchy HealthCare.gov website.

Fairfield University

Businesses need somewhere to start out in life, and incubators are an increasingly popular solution. The new business incubator at Fairfield University aims to foster links with the community.

For many online and other small businesses, getting a loan or a big cash advance is tough. Banks and other traditional lenders are often leery of those without years of financial statements and solid credit scores.

But some lenders and other financial services companies are beginning to assess credit risk differently — using criteria you might not expect.

Jeffrey Grossman is an acupuncturist in Bellingham, Wash. He's also a small businessman. He creates media marketing materials for other acupuncturists hoping to expand their practice.

Tucker Ives / WNPR

People who immigrate to the United States are twice as likely as native born Americans to start their own businesses. A new organization in Hartford says that entrepreneurial spirit needs to be fostered to help the city's economy.

The Grid New Haven

The job of software developer is one of the hottest occupations in the world right now, and demand for developers is only expected to accelerate. That poses a dilemma for startup technology companies here in Connecticut. In an incredibly competitive marketplace, how do they find and cultivate the right talent? One program in Connecticut is trying to come up with a solution.

Reddit calls itself "the front page of the Internet." The social news site and global discussion board has become increasingly popular since it launched in 2005. Topics range from politics and entertainment to animal videos and conspiracy theories. Many public figures have used Reddit to reach out to fans and supporters, and last year, President Obama used the site to answer voter questions live.

Harriet Jones

  It’s been just over a year since Connecticut began to create an ecosystem for entrepreneurs. Dubbed CT Next, the system has launched four hubs, hosted many events, signed up hundreds of nascent companies and spent almost five million dollars. But as it goes into its second year it has changed direction and some are left wondering if enough has been achieved.

Sujata Srinivasan

U.S. student loan debt is at $1 trillion and growing. The average college-related debt for a graduate is now $35,000. That has some students questioning the value of a college degree. WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan met some entrepreneurs who began their companies fresh out of high school.

 

Harriet Jones

This Friday, wannabe entrepreneurs will gather at UConn for the second annual Startup Weekend Storrs. It’s a 54 hour marathon which aims to develop and launch new companies into the real world. But does it work? --  and does that matter? WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

 

Chion Wolf

It’s been a little over a year since Governor Dannel Malloy announced Startup Connecticut - an effort to support entrepreneurship in the state. The idea is to create an “innovation ecosystem” to grow the economy. The state is setting up four innovation hubs.  

courtesy: FSW Inc.

Starting a new company is a lonely business. It can be particularly difficult if you have nowhere to turn for guidance or support. One program in Bridgeport has aimed to fill that gap for local entrepreneurs for the last 12 years. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

“Good to see you!.......

“Thank all of you for coming. Hope you guys are enjoying your meal….”

Courtesy Tigerplish, Flickr Creative Commons

You’d think most entrepreneurs would follow the Facebook formula for success. Take an idea, bankroll it with venture capital, and float an initial public offering worth billions of dollars. But that’s not what every start-up wants. WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan reports.

Sujata Srinivasan

Most people wait till adulthood to discover their knack for business. But others tap into their entrepreneurial spirit before they even hold a drivers license. In the second of a two part series on young inventors, WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan meets the teen entrepreneurs.

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. 

Business Boot Camp Gives Veterans A New Start

Mar 1, 2012

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.

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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