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. 

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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?

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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.

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Retirement
12:03 pm
Wed January 2, 2013

Retirement Tax Rules At Issue In Fiscal Talks

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.

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Credit Unions
11:18 am
Wed January 2, 2013

No Deal For Credit Unions On Small Business Lending

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.” 

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Look Beyond Yourself
5:02 pm
Sun December 23, 2012

Real Life Survival Guide Episode 68

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?

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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.

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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.

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Financial Incentives
3:02 pm
Mon December 3, 2012

State Puts Dollars Behind Innovation Partnerships

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.

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'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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Small Businesses Reopening Doors
2:18 pm
Fri November 2, 2012

Power Outages Frustrate Shuttered Businesses

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.

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Hurricane Sandy
8:05 am
Fri November 2, 2012

Businesses Batten Down The Hatches For Sandy

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.

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Sandy Recovery
4:50 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

Oyster Farmers Take Stock of Sandy's Damage

Business Environments
10:54 am
Tue October 23, 2012

A New Downtown For Mansfield

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.

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Historic Bell Making
11:08 am
Wed October 3, 2012

Bells Ringing Once Again In Belltown

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. 

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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.

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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.

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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? 

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Keeping it in the Family
11:41 am
Mon September 17, 2012

Keeping It In The Family, Part 1

Harriet Jones

“Keeping it in the family” takes on a whole new meaning when that family runs a business. In the first of a two part series, WNPR’s Harriet Jones visits two very different family businesses here in Connecticut.

In an ordinary looking house in an unremarkable street in Bridgeport, an extraordinary enterprise is being carried on.

“I’m Beverlee Dacey and I am second generation of the family business….”

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Internships
9:05 am
Tue September 4, 2012

Internships to Stem the Brain Drain

Harriet Jones

Internships are a common way for big companies to bring on new talent and to decide on possible future hires. But running an internship program can be financially impossible for many of Connecticut’s small technology companies. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports on a program that aims to change that.

Strain Measurement in Wallingford is an engineering firm that makes sensors, primarily for medical devices.

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Forming a Union
10:19 am
Thu August 16, 2012

Mystic Seaport Workers Ready For Union Vote

Harriet Jones

Workers at Mystic Seaport take to polls Friday to vote on whether to form a union. As WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, it’s the latest stage in what has become a contentious labor relations saga for the famous museum.

Working at Mystic Seaport is about as far as you can get from the traditional 9 to 5.

“I do blacksmithing, sailmaking, coopering, sail handling, and then talk about the historical relevance of all the artifacts and exhibits around the Seaport.”

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Starting a New Company
4:45 pm
Mon August 6, 2012

Helping Entrepreneurs To Spread Their Wings

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….”

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Franchises
2:26 pm
Mon August 6, 2012

Hit By Recession, Franchising Hopes To Bounce Back

Harriet Jones

Franchised companies have been through very tough times, just like other small businesses during the recession, but some are betting they have what it takes to make a quicker recovery. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

This is Connecticut’s latest Wireless Zone location, in Cromwell, and it’s the grand opening day. Co-owner Matt Pensiero says for him, the cell phone business is a smart place to be.

“Maybe ten years ago it was kind of a toy, kind of, you know, something nice to have; but now, it’s a have-to-have.”

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Small Business Lending
12:08 pm
Mon August 6, 2012

Lending Drops Amid Small Business Caution

Levels of lending to small businesses took a long dip this year, before recovering slightly in May. As WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, it’s the first time since the height of the recession that borrowing has seen a prolonged decline.

It’s often said that credit is the lifeblood of a small business. And therefore when small businesses aren’t getting loans, it’s significant.

“Small business is at the forefront of the economy.”

Bill Phelan runs PayNet, a firm that tracks small business lending.

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Small Business Conferences
7:13 am
Mon July 9, 2012

Innovation, Trade Summit Comes To CT

Connecticut will be the destination later this month for hundreds of small high tech companies from all over the Eastern United States. They’ll be here for the national Small Business Innovation Research and Global Trade Summit, to be held at Mohegan Sun. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

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OpSail
8:42 am
Fri July 6, 2012

New London Preps For OpSail

Harriet Jones

The tall ships sail into New London this weekend for OpSail – the first time in 12 years that Connecticut has hosted the event. WNPR’s Harriet Jones visited the city to see how it’s getting ready.

Coming into New London on Eugene O’Neill Drive, you might glance across one of the city’s car parks and notice two painters hard at work on an enormous mural. Ten feet up in the air on a hydraulic platform. 

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Small Business Express Program
9:33 am
Thu June 14, 2012

State Loan Package Broadens Its Focus

Sujata Srinivasan

It’s been about six months since Connecticut issued its first loan under the Small Business Express program. The aid package has proved wildly popular with business owners in the state, but as WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, it’s raised some questions along the way.

What do a printing firm, a financial services company, a hardware store and a biomedical device maker have in common? They all qualify for funding under the state’s small business express program.

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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.

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