Business | Connecticut Public Radio
WNPR

Business

courtesy eGen

Connecticut would like to reinvent itself as the next Silicon Valley. Some economic development experts say our future lies with the state’s small technology companies. If that’s to become a reality, Connecticut’s universities will have to be a key part of the change. A conference today at UConn aims to show the way. 

courtesy eGen

Connecticut would like to reinvent itself as the next Silicon Valley. Some economic development experts say our future lies with the state’s small technology companies. If that’s to become a reality, Connecticut’s universities will have to be a key part of the change. A conference today at UConn aims to show the way. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Harriet Jones

This recession began with the bursting of the housing bubble, and home building has been one of the industries hardest hit in its aftermath. Eighty percent of new houses in Connecticut are built by local, small construction companies. WNPR’s Harriet Jones went to find out how those survivors have reinvented themselves.

Courtesy Dymax

This has been National Small Business Week. The President proclaims this week to honor and recognize the contribution of small businesses to the economy. Tonight the Small Business Person of the Year will be chosen in a special ceremony in Washington DC. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Harriet Jones

This was one of the snowiest winters in recent memory in Connecticut. There seemed to be almost an epidemic of roof collapses as buildings all over the state gave way under the weight of accumulated snowfalls. Many of those affected were businesses. WNPR’s Harriet Jones went to visit with one of them, to see how the recovery is progressing.

One snowy day last February, the two staff working at Alexandra Litor’s French bakery in Stafford Springs heard the sounds of the building collapsing all around them.

Harriet Jones

It can feel daunting and perhaps lonely to start a new business. So where can you turn for some friendly advice and seasoned experience?

It turns out there are hundreds of retired executives in Connecticut who offer free counseling services to small business. They're known as SCORE.

WNPR's Harriet Jones sat down with four SCORE counselors, Dennis Peoples, Nazz Paciotti, Joe Beerbower and Eric Steinmetz, who have a pretty good perspective on what small business people do right...and wrong...when getting started.

Harriet Jones

Governor Malloy has declared the state of Connecticut open for business. But many small businesses find when they come in contact with state government, their first experience is frustration. WNPR’s Harriet Jones looks at just how well the state is doing in streamlining its approach to business.

This is Larry’s Auto Power in Groton, and that’s a race car engine on the test block.

“We do street performance engine rebuilding, racecar engine building.”

Harriet Jones

One of the biggest financial pressures on small businesses in Connecticut comes from the cost of utilities. The cost of electricity in particular puts Connecticut businesses at a severe disadvantage. The burden is affecting companies, but work is being done to address the problem.

Bridgeport Small Business Breakfast

May 4, 2011

Connecticut lawmakers have passed a new, two year budget that raises taxes - and is counting on union concessions.  What will it mean for small business?

creative commons

Workplace expert Al Bhatt says our places of employment should be made up of jazz bands, rather than a marching band.

Bhatt’s done consulting work for big companies like Facebook, Siemens, American Express, and State Farm Insurance.

Now Facebook, I can see them being pretty improvisational...but an insurance company?  

Today, in advance of our “small business breakfast” tomorrow in Bridgeport, we’re going to look at the changing workplace in big businesses, and how they’re adapting to a new workforce.  

Jeff Cohen/WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy said his administration is continuing its talks with state labor unions to fill a $2 billion hole in the proposed budget.  WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports.

Harriet Jones

WNPR’s Small Business Project has reported on the high cost of training a skilled workforce to meet the needs of the state and the nation.

This week Harriet Jones visits a small business in Connecticut that’s working on providing a cost-effective and innovative solution to that problem.

I’m in East Hartford at the premises of a company called VRSim, getting a lesson on how to spray paint a vehicle door, from Rebecca McKnight.

“So I’ll do a quick spray for you.”

Harriet Jones

For many small businesses, training Connecticut’s workforce is a key issue for the state’s economic future. That’s one reason why Governor Malloy’s recent proposal to move the state’s technical high schools into municipal control raised so many eyebrows. WNPR’s Harriet Jones looks at how well Connecticut is planning to meet its workforce needs in the new millennium.

You might think in an economy like this, employers with a job to fill would be inundated with qualified candidates.

It can cost small businesses between $5,000 and $10,000 just to administer their tax returns each year. That’s the finding of a new survey, which calls for radical improvements to the tax code. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

The National Small Business Association conducted a survey of its members on how much time and money it takes them to comply with the federal tax code.

“The tax code is incredibly complex”

Legislators, municipal leaders and business people from Southeastern Connecticut have voiced opposition to a plan to tax the Millstone nuclear power plant. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

via WikiMedia Commons

The Deputy Chief Executive of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange was in New Haven on Tuesday.  She spoke about African capital markets at a special Yale University event.

Nicky Newton-King says its important to talk about, in her words, the “elephants in the room."  "Things that we don’t talk about that we should talk about if we’re trying to improve and  position capital markets on my continent to be really meaningful global players."

Photo: bodycoach2, Flickr Creative Commons

Starting a business from scratch is a mammoth undertaking. Starting a business in the midst of a bad economy might seem like an impossible task. But entrepreneurship traditionally spikes in any recession – and this latest downturn was no exception. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

Christina Kazanas used to be the principal grantwriter for the City of Stratford. Her friend Rebekah Harriman wrote grants for the City of Bridgeport.

J. Holt, WNPR

Connecticut’s marine industry is one of many facing tax increases in governor Malloy’s proposed budget. But those in the industry say the changes could have unintended consequences. 

Early April is a quiet time for boating here in Connecticut. Most pleasure boats are still tucked under winter covers, but for Connecticut boatyards this is just as important a time of year as any other.

At pilot’s point marina in Westbrook, Rives Potts is inspecting a 46 foot sailboat that his yard has been rebuilding in one of their sheds.

In 1970, a former Pratt and Whitney employee, Henry A. Backman, started the aerospace engineering and manufacturing company HABCO in Glastonbury with only 5 employees.

40 years later, his daughter, Kristen Muschett, owner and CEO of the company, employs 32 people, and oversees a growing portfolio of innovative products. WNPR's Sarah Miner reports.

(Machines working on the shop floor)

Harriet Jones

Over the next year or so, Pfizer will lay off more than a thousand people in Connecticut. If most of these highly skilled workers leave the state it’s estimated the hit to the local economy could be more than $100 million annually. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports on the prospects for retaining some of these skills by growing new small businesses.

In a two thousand square foot former restaurant in New London you can catch a glimpse of what a homegrown biotech industry might look like in this part of the state.

Courtesy Kenneth Gosselin/The Hartford Courant

Harriet Jones

The state’s main economic development agency gets a new chief this week. On Thursday, insurance executive Catherine Smith will take up her post as Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development. As she prepared for her new role, she sat down with WNPR’s Harriet Jones.

Many people might feel daunted by the challenge that Catherine Smith has taken on. But she says when the call came from Governor Dannel Malloy, she didn’t hesitate.

Paul Cross, Creative Commons

The proposed merger of Northeast Utilities and NSTAR would create the third largest utility in the country and the largest in New England

NU of course is based in Connecticut and NStar in Massachusetts.  The companies would retain headquarters in both states, but the top executives would be in Boston.

So, what does this mean for you?

Flickr Creative Commons, Hampton Roads Partnership

On today's show we're going to look at the elaborate networks -- pipeline is too straight and straightforward a word -- that exist in Connecticut to nurture new businesses -- which came to be called, in the last two decades -- "start ups."

Courtesy of Aetna

Insurers in Connecticut say they’re in dialogue with state officials as the new federal health care exchanges are constructed. The exchanges are due to go into effect in 2014. 

The Malloy administration has put new efforts into implementing the federal health care reform law, and special adviser to the governor, Jeanette DeJesus says many stakeholders, including the insurers are active in the process.

WNPR’s Small Business Project is taking an in-depth look at the health care crisis facing small employers. In the second of our two reports, WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports on what’s being done to address the problem.

Almost everything about health care reform is controversial. But one thing everyone does agree on. It’s time to act.

One of the biggest financial concerns most small businesses face is providing health care. This week, WNPR’s Small Business Project is taking a two-part look at the health care crisis facing small employers. In the first of her reports, Harriet Jones talks to the businesses that are feeling the pinch.

Adchem Manufacturing Technologies in Manchester is a very successful Connecticut small business, employing 35 people.

Harriet Jones

Governor Dannel Malloy has talked a lot about the importance of big business in his first few weeks on the job, and he’s sat down with many of the state’s largest employers. Monday in New London he visited with a small company, that ten years ago was just one man and his computer. WNPR’s Harriet Jones went along.

STEPHEN DUNN / HARTFORD COURANT

Incubator Assists Small Businesses in New Haven

Mar 7, 2011
Photo Courtesy of Connecticut Innovations

Connecticut doesn’t yet have a reputation as a breeding ground for new high-tech companies, but there are efforts underway to change that image.  In 2008, Connecticut Innovations introduced the CTech Incubator Program. WNPR’s Andrew Huston reports on some of the companies growing there.

Pages