Small Business

WNPR’s small business coverage elevates understanding of the challenges faced by small business, educates policy-makers, and highlights the vital role of small business to the state’s economy. 

Pages

Where We Live
3:50 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

LIVE from The Grove, New Haven

Chion Wolf

A few years ago, we broadcast from "The Grove" in New Haven's Ninth Square, when it was part of "Project Storefront" - an attempt to breath life into a neighborhood that needed help.

Now, this co-working space, which draws entrepreneurs from all over, is part of a state-sponsored innovation "hub" - as well as a center of activity for a thriving neighborhood.

Read more
Jobs
3:59 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Unemployment Data Conundrum

Sujata Srinivasan

The state unemployment rate dropped for the second month in a row in December. But the numbers have been volatile with intermittent highs and lows that sometimes don’t seem to add up. WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan takes a look at why short-term figures may not always show the long-term picture. 

Read more
Arts/Culture
10:29 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Development in Downtown Hartford

Global Jet, Creative Commons

Driving through downtown Hartford, you’ll see a lot of empty storefronts, plenty of parking garages, and some impressive high rises. And while the city has a hard time getting businesses to fill the office space - now at 26% vacancy -- developers can’t build housing fast enough to meet demand.

In fact, several of those old office buildings are being retrofitted for new housing. So people are voting for downtown housing with their dollars, but is there enough retail to keep feet on the street?

Read more
Finance
8:34 pm
Sun January 6, 2013

Microfinance Faces A Remade Future

Sujata Srinivasan

Microfinance – or small-scale loans – has rapidly grown into an international business that connects investors with impoverished borrowers around the world. Currently, microfinance institutions (MFIs) operate in over 100 countries and fund more than 92 million borrowers, according to the Microfinance Information Exchange. For-profit firms like Stamford-based Developing World Markets (DWM) invest in MFIs in India, which in turn provide loans to poor entrepreneurs, primarily women.

Read more
Small Business
3:34 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

A Rebirth For Hartford's "Plaza Mayor"?

Google Images

A city corner that's been called the gateway to Hartford's Latino community is now a series of empty lots -- and efforts to develop them failed a few years back. But as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, city officials say they're ready to try again.

Read more
Repairs & Contracts
6:14 pm
Tue December 4, 2012

Connecticut Science Center Still Litigating Faulty Roof

It's been about three years since the the Connecticut Science Center sued some of the contractors who built it, looking to recoup some of the money it lost from a faulty roof. Now, as WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, the science center has resolved some -- but not all -- of those claims.

Read more
'Tis the Season
10:56 am
Wed November 21, 2012

Small Retail Eyes Holiday Wallets

Harriet Jones

While shoppers gear up for Black Friday – maybe even for the midnight doorbusters on Thanksgiving  – small businesses are hoping they won’t be forgotten in the holiday rush. This weekend marks the third annual Small Business Saturday. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

If you’re a regular traveler on I-95, the name Clinton might bring to mind the big outlet mall that looms over the highway near that town.

Read more
Pipe Lines
5:31 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

State Energy Plan A Threat For Some Businesses

State officials held the first of several public hearings on Connecticut’s new comprehensive energy strategy last night, and many of those who attended voiced their concerns about the plan’s focus on natural gas.

Connecticut’s new energy plan calls for as many as 300,000 homes to be heated with natural gas instead of oil. That doesn’t sit well with the 600 or so home heating oil businesses in the state. Dozens of them said so in Bridgeport yesterday, including David Cohen, who works for Standard Oil of Connecticut. He said his industry could lose thousands of jobs.

Read more
Where We Live
12:06 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Small Business Breakfast: Health Care

Chion Wolf

We get together a few times a year to talk about the issues that face small businesspeople in Connecticut.  And today's topic is Health Care.

Read more
Connecticut
11:13 am
Mon November 5, 2012

Federal Loans For Small Businesses Hit By Sandy

Sujata Srinivasan

If you’re a business owner affected by Superstorm Sandy, you may be eligible for a loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration. WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan reports from a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center in Bridgeport.

Read more
Temporary Jobs
12:28 am
Tue October 2, 2012

Seasonal Hiring Picks Up

Harriet Jones

It’s time for additional hiring in some industries, as we head into the holiday season. WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan reports on the outlook for seasonal employment this year.

Connecticut retailers are cautiously optimistic at what could be a promising holiday season. A key indicator, the Consumer Confidence Index measured by the Conference Board rose nine points this September, rebounding to levels seen earlier in February. Timothy Phelan is president of the Connecticut Retail Merchants Association.

Read more
Where We Live
9:52 am
Wed September 19, 2012

Small Business Breakfast: Norwalk

Fred S.C. Li

Today we're broadcasting from one of the cultural meccas of Fairfield County - a waterside aquarium that hosts a half-millionlion visitors each year.  Among other things, they have exhibits of seals and fish, and lots of stuff for kids. 

Four times a year, WNPR's Small Business Project goes on the road to take the pulse of small business in our state.  Today, we'll be visiting with business leaders from the shoreline to talk about something that's unavoidably important this year: the politics of small business.

Read more
Where We Live
12:41 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

Recycling Routines: A Refresher

Heather Brandon

It wasn’t too long ago that everything you threw out went in the trash, then to a landfill. Now, due to changes in public attitude and government incentives, recycling has become a part of our daily lives.

Back in 1980, for instance, only about 10 percent of trash got recycled. That number is up to 34 percent. Much better, but still “lackluster” according to proponents of “sustainable” business. Some European countries are up around 50 percent. So, what can we do to recycle more? What’s the incentive? 

Read more
Entrepreneurship
9:40 am
Mon June 4, 2012

Bootstrapping Your Business

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.

Read more
Business Education
7:31 am
Fri April 27, 2012

Deans From Business Schools Around The World Gather In New Haven

Deans from 21 top business schools around the world will gather today in New Haven. Yale University will host the first meeting of a new global network for business education.

The international focus of the Global Network for Advanced Management is something totally new in the business school world, says Edward Snyder, Dean of the Yale School of Management.  

Read more
Coming Home Project
2:07 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Defense Department Mistakes Keep Contracts From Disabled Veterans

Photo by Chion Wolf

A 2004 law requires a certain percentage of federal contracting dollars to go to small businesses owned by service disabled veterans. But a recent inspector's report from the Department of Defense finds that in 2010, more than two dozen contracts were awarded to companies that weren't eligible.  

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.”

Read more
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.

Read more
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.”

Read more
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.

Read more
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.”

Read more
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.

Read more
Where We Live
11:01 am
Wed January 18, 2012

Hartford Restaurants Making The Grade

jimg944, creative commons

It’s already in place in New York - a grading system for restaurants. Soon, Hartford diners will find out if their favorite hotspot makes the grade.

This new grading system is also in place in Stamford, Norwalk, and the Farmington Valley.  How does it work?

Starting this month, Hartford health inspectors will begin checking each of the city’s 1,300 restaurants for cleanliness and safety. Following the inspections, restaurants must display their letter grades - “A” or “B.”  But there’s no, C, D...or a “For God’s sake don’t eat here.” Why not?  

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.”

Read more
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.”

Read more

Pages