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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.

Muhammad Yunus won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his work pioneering the concept of “micro credit,” providing small loans to village entrepreneurs as a way to fight poverty. 

Harriet Jones

Tourism is vital industry for Connecticut, generating some $14 billion in visitor spending each year. Small businesses are the mainstay of the sector. But as WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, many are worried about the future.

Governor Dannel Malloy says he gets it on tourism.

“We’re going to rethink in its entirety our approach to tourism—we’re going to work where partnerships work and we’re not going to carry partnerships that don’t work.”

Harriet Jones

Many communities around Connecticut rely on small businesses to provide essential, basic services. For WNPR’s latest small business profile, Harriet Jones visited a home-based daycare in Hamden that’s helping children and parents alike.

Morning exercise is all part of the routine at Every Child Ahead in Hamden.

“I just care for them like they’re my children, and I think that’s why I keep my daycare full.”

Harriet Jones

If Connecticut is to have an engaged and productive workforce it must have reliable childcare. Childcare comes in many different forms, but an increasing number of providers are small, home-based businesses. WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports.

In a tiny condo in Hamden, Lushanna Thompson is allowing her small charges to let off some steam.

Aplicare

Getting into the international market can be both exciting and challenging for a business. It offers the chance for new customers and growth, but it’s also a steep learning curve. WNPR’s Harriet Jones visited one Meriden firm that’s sending Connecticut-made medical products all around the world, and bringing work back from overseas.

“So this is our production floor. We have 21 production lines, that are operating on two shifts….”

Flickr Creative Commons, theslowlane

Radio wears a lot of different outfits. On one end of the spectrum there's Clear Channel Communications, which owns 900 stations. On the other, there's a guy who broadcasts from the back of a truck in the Collinsville section of Canton on Saturdays.  

The State of Big Biz

Feb 18, 2011
Chion Wolf

Governor Malloy says Connecticut’s “open for business” – but not everyone in the business community sees the same thing.

First it was United Technologies saying that Connecticut might be too expensive a place to do business.  Now, Aetna’s saying the same thing. Is it possible that big corporations are making plans to get out of the state? Today we’re joined by The Hartford Courant’s Dan Haar, to talk about the role of Connecticut’s big employers in the future of the state.

Last year President Obama challenged the nation’s businesses to double their exports within 5 years. Connecticut has been responding to that call, and as WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, small business has been a key part of the effort.

Exporting—selling products overseas—is complex and often challenging. It may not seem to be a natural fit for a small business. Not so, says economist Peter Gioia of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.

Harriet Jones

Manufacturing used to be a mainstay of employment in Connecticut. Competition from lower-cost states and overseas production has decimated the industry. But small manufacturers persist in the state and are finding ways to survive. WNPR’s Harriet Jones visited one shop in Milford for our latest small business profile.

Harriet Jones

Connecticut has around 5,000 manufacturing companies. You may be picturing Pratt & Whitney or Electric Boat, but of course the vast majority of manufacturers are small businesses. WNPR’s Harriet Jones looks at the challenges facing those firms in a shrinking industry.

It’s a typically busy day on the shop floor at Prestige Manufacturing in Milford. Ken Dugan has run this business for 27 years.

Harriet Jones

We hear all the time that small businesses are having trouble accessing credit. But sometimes it’s hard to picture what that means both for an individual firm, and for the wider economy. To find out more, WNPR’s Harriet Jones visited a construction company that’s currently rehabbing several old homes in Middletown.

Cash is the lifeblood of any small business, and access to financing can be a critical factor in whether a small enterprise can grow and thrive. Businesses need credit to hire and to make capital investments. It may sometimes seem as if the chips are stacked against them.

For 17 years, Joe Petti ran a small manufacturing firm, Delaney Engineering in Milford. He says one of the biggest issues he faced growing his company was dealing with the banks.

courtesy Larry Berk

“Buy local” has become a rallying cry for small businesses attempting to revive the high street. But it’s also a good message for those small businesses whose customers are big business. Plenty of small suppliers in Connecticut would like to see big corporations and state government look first in their own backyard when they spend money.

For the latest of WNPR’s small business profiles, business reporter Harriet Jones met with one such small supplier. 

Waterbury Small Business Breakfast

Jan 26, 2011
Chion Wolf

We keep hearing that “small business” is what's going to drive an economic recovery.  But I have a question:  What is a small business anyway?

The Small Business Administration says anything under 500 employees is the number - but that's depending on the industry. The state’s jobs bill last year says it's under 50 employees, although most economists seem to agree under 100 is a more realistic and inclusive measurement.

Harriet Jones

WNPR’s Small Business Project is in Waterbury this week. 

A special edition of Where We Live this Wednesday will come live from the Palace Theater in downtown Waterbury. 

The Brass City has seen its share of hard times and economic upheaval, but revitalization efforts, many led by small business, are underway. 

Harriet Jones

This year, WNPR’s Small Business Project is taking apart what it means to be a small business owner. As part of our coverage we’re showcasing the huge diversity of the state’s small businesses and what they’re accomplishing. Most businesses start very, very small—even at the kitchen table. For the first of our small business profiles, WNPR’s Harriet Jones visits a tiny commercial kitchen in Griswold.

Jennifer Chominski is spending the morning pressing out piecrust for her baking business, Gracie Mae’s Kitchen.

More details are slowly emerging about the Connecticut-based financial expert that Warren Buffett has chosen to oversee investments at Berkshire Hathaway. The billionaire has been trying to arrange succession planning at the company after his five decades in charge. 

A prominent UConn law professor has been tapped to advise the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, founded under the Dodd-Frank financial reform act. Patricia McCoy will be working on mortgages. McCoy is the director of UConn law school’s Insurance Law Center and an expert on consumer finance issues. She’s been a prominent commentator on the foreclosure crisis, and an advocate of protecting the rights of homeowners who were the victims of predatory lending.

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