Sujata Srinivasan

Reporter

Sujata reports for the WNPR News business desk. Her features range from small business, entrepreneurship, innovation and microfinance to local impact of quantitative easing and changing trendsin global markets. She’s reported from abroad for WNPR and helped develop a segment on jobs and economic recovery, part of the business coverage.

A fulltime freelancer, her work has appeared in numerous publications including the Hartford Business Journal, Forbes.com and the Indian edition of Forbes, where she’s had the honor of interviewing several Nobel Laureates in economics. She was also invited to cover the U.S. Department of State’s Global Diaspora Forum, hosted by Hillary Clinton. Previously, Sujata was the editor of the now defunct Connecticut Business Magazine, where she assigned and edited award-winning writing. She’s worked as an adjunct professor of economics; a senior editor at an investment firm; and was the interim bureau chief at CNBC-TV 18 in Chennai, India. At CNBC India, her occasional non-business reporting included the sensational kidnapping of a movie star by a sandalwood bandit.

Sujata has a master’s degree in economics from Trinity College, Hartford; a post-graduate diploma in journalism from the Times School of Journalism, New Delhi; and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Madras, Chennai. She is a recipient of the Jon Davidoff Scholarship for journalists from Wesleyan University.

Hunger, education, and poverty alleviation through entrepreneurship are the causes that she supports through donations and by organizing monthly food drives. A great fan of Mark Twain, she authored Twain’s biography for children, produced as a CD by Allegro Corp. Sujata and her husband enjoy scenic walks in beautiful New England, museums, theatre and travel. Favorites include watching the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain and sunset in Key West, kayaking in the Bermuda Triangle and seeing Much Ado About Nothing at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

Sujata Srinivasan

Later stage manufacturing companies are not, as a rule, high on the venture capital radar. According to PriceWaterhouseCoopers MoneyTree Report, only three out of 53 VC financing transactions in Connecticut went to manufacturing firms last year. Of this, two were established businesses with a revenue-making product. So how are some manufacturers bucking the trend and attracting big VC investments? 

Sujata Srinivasan / WNPR

The Pakistani community in Connecticut strongly condemned the massacre of scores of school children by Taliban gunmen in Pakistan on December 16. Nearly 100 members of the Pakistani-American Association of Connecticut held a vigil at the Connecticut State Capitol last Friday.

Sujata Srinivasan / WNPR

The city of Waterbury claims many firsts. The first brass in America was rolled here. It’s where the first pewter buttons were made, and the first Mickey Mouse watch was produced. One historic store on Bank Street sells products that are still uniquely made right here in Connecticut. 

Sujata Srinivasan / WNPR

What consumer product comes to mind when you think of Vermont? Maple syrup, Cabot cheese, or Ben & Jerry’s, perhaps? If that's what comes up in a kind of consumer word association, marketing gurus would nod their heads knowingly.

A strong product is great, but if you don’t build a strong brand, it won't sell. How are businesses and policy makers branding Connecticut-made products?

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. 

Sujata Srinivasan

As the pace of the gubernatorial campaign picks up, with the position up for re-election this November, Governor Dannel Malloy is making minimum wage a top priority issue. A further increase in the minimum wage is one of the most politically polarizing debates the legislature is likely to see this session. 

Pact

  We live in an age where our cell phones tell us how much to exercise and what to eat. And people find that it's helping them. 

T. Charles Erickson

It’s that time of the year when miserly Ebenezer Scrooge and sweet Tiny Tim electrify the Hartford Stage with their heart-warming story, like they have these past 15 years. But now, in honor of the theater's 50th anniversary season, the production has redesigned costumes, more special effects, and new lighting.

The holiday cheer is much needed. The multiple award-winning Hartford Stage, like its counterparts nationwide, has struggled through the tough economy.

Sujata Srinivasan

As I drove across the East Haddam swing bridge, car tires rumbling over the open grate, it was hard to imagine that the 19th-century Goodspeed Opera House – looking like a wedding cake on the Connecticut River – was anything but a place for musical theater. Yet in addition to being a performance space, it served as a passenger terminal for a steamboat line. It was the town’s general store, post office, dentist’s office, and even a parking garage.

Thanks to a series of very fortunate events, Goodspeed's restoration in 1963, after a period of neglect, was followed by 19 productions that went on to Broadway, receiving more than a dozen Tony awards. In 2006, another fortunate event – a set of strategic business decisions – saved the Goodspeed yet again. 

Sujata Srinivasan

I’m with production manager Eryka Wright on the shop floor of East Hartford-based Onyx Spirits Co. LLC, which makes handcrafted Prohibition-era moonshine. While some workers carry boxes, Wright and one of her employees are doing the chicken dance. "We do random dance outbreaks to keep the blood flowing and keep the energy high," she said.

Wright supervises employees with developmental disabilities. They're trained by MARC Inc., a state-funded, Manchester-based not-for-profit chapter of ARC, a national advocacy group for people with disabilities such as autism, Down's syndrome, and fragile X. The organization places workers at companies across Connecticut, including Bob’s Discount Furniture, Gerber Scientific, and McDonald’s franchises. 

Sujata Srinivasan

The state Department of Consumer Protection is expected to award licenses by early 2014 to producers and dispensaries for the newly legalized medical marijuana market. In a ripple effect, other companies are also gearing up to grow market share in a new industry, estimated at $1.7 billion nationally by the Wall Street Journal, and predicted to quadruple in size during the next five years. 

Sujata Srinivasan

The public will soon have access to a one-stop web portal for information on tax credits and direct financial assistance the state is offering to help businesses grow and expand in Connecticut. Governor Dannel Malloy at a press conference in Bloomfield said taxpayers have the right to know what their state government is doing to promote economic development and job creation. 

Sujata Srinivasan

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is taking steps to reduce artificial trans fats in processed foods. According to the agency, the move could help prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths each year. This means manufacturers, retailers, and restaurants could have to reformulate some of their recipes.

Sujata Srinivasan

October is “Manufacturing Month” in Connecticut, and efforts are underway to create the next generation of engineers and innovators as part of the state’s “Dream It. Do It” program. Companies, nonprofits, academic institutions and the state government are working together to promote the high-tech sector to youngsters through month-long events such as “Manufacturing Mania,” where school kids are exposed to manufacturers and career opportunities.

Sujata Srinivasan

The ripple effects of the government shutdown are starting to extend beyond federal employees into the private industry. Small businesses are bracing for a range of issues from delayed regulatory approvals to a possible crunch in cash flow.

Sujata Srinivasan

Thomas Edison said, “If we all did the things we are really capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves....” For kids in the Connecticut Invention Convention program, now poised to expand through corporate grants, becoming inventors and entrepreneurs seems to be all in a day’s work.

Lucy Nalpathanchil / WNPR

People currently collecting unemployment benefits in Connecticut won’t be impacted by the federal shutdown. Also, federal employees who are out of work can apply for benefits.

Sujata Srinivasan

This week was Farm-to-Chef week, as the Connecticut Department of Agriculture makes an effort to promote local produce at Connecticut restaurants. The state’s eateries report they are seeing more demand for locally-grown food.

Sujata Srinivasan

With U.S. economic growth inching upward, the Federal Reserve’s announcement in May that it might taper off quantitative easing – initiated to boost domestic growth – is sending emerging economies into a tailspin. Global economies are so inter-connected with the U.S. through trade and investment channels that the currencies of Brazil, Indonesia, South Africa and Mexico all fell. But the Indian currency was especially sensitive, falling to its lowest in 20 years.

Sujata Srinivasan

The U.S. economy is picking up and the Eurozone’s out of a recession, but emerging markets are now slowing down. In this new economy, companies find it takes more than one market to fuel growth.

Think of the global economy as a large pizza pie worth nearly $75 trillion. Each country adds more dough and toppings, and the pie keeps growing. But downturns change that.

Sujata Srinivasan

In an ongoing effort to create growth for mom and pop businesses in the state, the U.S. Small Business Administration is making capital available to Connecticut Economic Development Fund, a non-profit offering micro-loans. WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan has more.

James Dufour owns Connecticut Carpentry in Meriden. He makes cabinets for hospitals and employs seven people. Up until the start of the financial crisis, the nearly 30-year-old business had little trouble accessing bank loans. 

Sujata Srinivasan

Social entrepreneurship is becoming a buzzword with more people looking to solve social problems through the private market. In the conclusion of a three-part series on corporate social responsibility, WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan looks at how entrepreneurs and policymakers are growing this sector.

Gov. Dannel Malloy's office

In his first official visit to any state since his confirmation, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx visits Union Station in New Haven to talk about rail investment, safety and economic growth. 

“We are thinking about jobs, economic opportunity and safety. We’re putting people to work by fixing bridges and installing new high-level platforms. We’re revitalizing train stations. The time has come to put rail on par with our highways and other modes of transportation.”

Sujata Srinivasan

Many companies are finding that conscious capitalism is good for the brand. What's called corporate social responsibility can also boost employee morale and sometimes even the bottomline. In the second of a three-part series, WNPR’s Sujata Srinivasan looks at the ways in which businesses are making virtuous practices work for them.

“The fishing now upstream since this fish ladder went in is premo; it’s extraordinary. It’s much better than it’s ever been. I’m just psyched you guys have done it.”

Sujata Srinivasan

A new study finds that the way teachers interact with young children while they play, can have a powerful impact on toddlers’ mathematical abilities. WNPR visits a pre-school on the campus of Eastern Connecticut State University.

This toddler is rolling a dice on a board game, trying to figure out how many spaces to get to a pig. Along the way, his teacher is constantly engaging him in “math talk.” The child was one of about 65 four and five-year-olds in a study on the importance of math education during play.

Professor Sudha Swaminathan.

Sujata Srinivasan

A new study finds that the way teachers interact with young children while they play, can have a powerful impact on toddlers’ mathematical abilities. WNPR visits a pre-school on the campus of Eastern Connecticut State University.

This toddler is rolling a dice on a board game, trying to figure out how many spaces to get to a pig. Along the way, his teacher is constantly engaging him in “math talk.” The child was one of about 65 four and five-year-olds in a study on the importance of math education during play.

Professor Sudha Swaminathan.

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.

 

Sujata Srinivasan

The great recession drove many companies to look for sales overseas. A new survey of Connecticut companies shows that half of those responding said exports helped them weather the downturn. Now, domestic markets are looking up, but those firms still want to diversify across the world. WNPR's Sujata Srinivasan reports.

 

Sujata Srinivasan

The recent growth in farmer's markets in Connecticut speaks to the increasing popularity of locally grown food. Now the state's Department of Agriculture has big plans for Connecticut-grown produce to fuel the economy and create jobs.  

Wikimedia Commons

When GE Capital announced it will no longer finance gun purchases at small firearms dealers, it predictably drew both praise and criticism. But the company’s own explanation of the move seemed to raise more questions than it answered. 

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