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. 

Harriet Jones

Connecticut’s small businesses took a hit from Hurricane Sandy last fall, but they fared better than their counterparts in New York and New Jersey. WNPR’s Harriet Jones looks at a new study from insurer The Hartford.

 

Despite the economic downturn, aerospace is a thriving international business. But for small manufacturers in Connecticut, it can be a challenge to plug into global markets. This summer, some of them will have a chance to show their wares at the famous Paris Air Show. WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan reports.

Harriet Jones

Small business owners from around Connecticut came to Hartford this week – urging the Governor and the legislature not to add to their burdens. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

                                                   

When pundits talk sometimes about Connecticut being business un-friendly, this is an example of what they mean.

 

“I wrote all of the senators, all the representatives, I wrote Malloy’s office, I put phone calls in, I put emails in, and I have never received a single reply from anybody.”

 

When Hurricane Sandy blew across the Northeast it caused devastating damage to the boating industry. The losses could amount to more than half a billion dollars. And as WNPR’s J Holt reports, Connecticut’s marine industry is still feeling the effects four months later.

Harriet Jones

Connecticut is once again facing a fight over the beer and liquor industry. After the introduction of Sunday sales, this year the focus will be on alcohol pricing. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports on a lesser known tier of the industry -- the distributors.

 

 

At a massive warehouse in West Haven, a forklift shifts several cases of beer to be loaded for a delivery. This is the premises of Star Distributors, one of ten liquor and beer distributing businesses in the state.

 

Nurturing Home Grown Business

Feb 27, 2013
Sujata Srinivasan

Economic recovery is often tied to increasing exports and attracting foreign investments. But some economists say it’s just as important to grow what’s known as the “non-tradable” sector - small businesses that provide products and services for people who live here. WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan reports.

 

History major Maggie Downie was working in museum education when she realized she wanted to start her own business. 

 

Sujata Srinivasan

State officials have warned businesses and municipalities to clear roofs of snow loads to prevent possible collapse from the weight. WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan reports.

 

Heavy rain on Monday in addition to three feet of snow over the weekend, is putting quite a bit of load on rooftops. Gov. Dannel Malloy at a press conference in Branford:

 

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.

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. 

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?

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.

Legislators appear to have stepped away for the minute from significant changes to tax advantaged retirement accounts in the latest attempt at a fiscal cliff fix. That’s welcome news for those who say right now most Americans don’t do enough to save for retirement. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Surveys consistently show that working for or owning a small business is a woefully bad way to plan for your golden years.

Harriet Jones

One group that didn’t get the Christmas present they were hoping for this year is the nation’s credit unions. They want to expand their lending to small businesses, but as Harriet Jones reports, regulation – and opposition from the banks -- stands in their way.

Many credit unions have a history of humble beginnings, and the Charter Oak credit union, based in Groton, is no exception.

“We were born in the Electric Boat boatyard, out of a lunchbox where five people put in $25.” 

Cindy Papish Gerber

I try to be a happy person, and I’m becoming more and more aware of the fact that to be truly happy, you have to look beyond yourself. (This seems particularly true when you consider recent events.) So I decided to pose the question “what role should things like “volunteerism, charity and giving back” play in our lives?

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.

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.

courtesy mberggr, Flickr Creative Commons

The state of Connecticut is offering financial incentives to small businesses to carry out research for large corporations. As WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, the state is acting as a matchmaker for new projects

 

Innovation is expensive and often risky. It also requires many creative thinkers to get it working. That’s why increasingly many big technology-based corporations are looking for new partnerships and ways to outsource research and development functions.

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.

State Energy Plan A Threat For Some Businesses

Nov 19, 2012

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.

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.

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.

Harriet Jones

As Connecticut gets back on its feet in the wake of Sandy, job number one for many small businesses is just to be able to open their doors once again. As WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, in some hard hit shoreline communities, that’s a challenge.

Monday morning, as Sandy bore down on the tri-state coastline, some businesses defied the oncoming weather. In downtown Mystic, Wide World of Bagels was one of the few stores that still had power and owner Nicole Denkis was running to keep up with all the additional customers.

Just as many households prepared for the worst of Hurricane Sandy, so too did employers. But what’s the evidence that businesses have learned anything from the natural disasters Connecticut experienced last year? WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Jeff Cohen/WNPR

Harriet Jones

University towns face a unique challenge in fostering a successful downtown business environment. And perhaps none more so than the rural town of Mansfield, dwarfed by UConn’s massive Storrs campus. But the town is hopeful that a decade’s worth of work to construct an entirely new downtown will shortly come to fruition. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Matthew Bevin returned to his family's historic bell making business in 2008. It was running at a loss, and Matt's uncle was about to sell the last bell factory in East Hampton.  Bevin, who is a serial entrepreneur in his own right, turned the business around within a year. In 2010 and 2011, Bevin Brothers, a 180 year old five-generation family business, turned a profit. 

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.

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.

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? 

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