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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.

Connecticut Creates

May 25, 2012
Chion Wolf

We talk a lot on the show about the brain drain in Connecticut. The creativity drain, the young people’s exodus... you name it. But not all the creative people are leaving Connecticut. Some have become pioneers in their own communities. And now they are getting some attention through a new initiative called “Connecticut Creates” that that plans to profile and connect the movers and the shakers in the state. Suzi Craig is behind the project. We'll talk to her, and one of the innovators they're profiling.

A Tinkerer's Paradise

May 18, 2012
Uma Ramiah

There's a new clubhouse in New Haven, and it's meant for geeks. It's called MakeHaven. It offers space and equipment for people looking to build gadgets of all kinds, and imagination is the only limitation.

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.

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.”

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.

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.”

Chion Wolf

We keep hearing that the job prospects for young workers aren't very good. So, what if they start their own businesses? 

Today, we're live from the Oakdale Theater in Wallingford for the last Small Business Breakfast of the year. It's taking place as part of the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce Business Expo.

Jeremy Pollack.

Recent college graduates are finding it difficult to get a job at a time when the national unemployment rate remains stagnant at nine percent. But imagine if you're a veteran just back from serving overseas. You're trying to find employment while carrying the physical and mental effects of war. A consortium of schools including the University of Connecticut are helping turn disabled veterans into small business-owners. As part of WNPR's Coming Home Project, Lucy Nalpathanchil introduces us to a entrepreneurship 'bootcamp'.

Harriet Jones

Connecticut’s Small Business Development Center – the SBDC – has been using federal funds to provide help and advice to companies in the state for some 30 years. Now it’s re-organized itself to be closer to the entrepreneurial community. WNPR’s Harriet Jones visited with one of the center’s new regional representatives.

This is Three Rivers Community College in Norwich. It’s the home base for a new adviser for the Connecticut Small Business Development Center.

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