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Two Attractions Slated for Hartford


HARTFORD — State economic development officials expect two new attractions in the Capital City – a music hall/bistro debuting this summer on Front Street and a trampoline park on Brainard Road – to help drive forward the state’s tourism industry.

Both The Infinity Music Hall and Launch Trampoline Park were spotlighted during the kick off of the 2014 Connecticut tourism season Tuesday along with several other new destinations and festivals being counted on to help increase visitors and tourist spending.

Overall, the outlook was clearly upbeat Tuesday as Gov. Dannel P. Malloy praised the state’s recent success in promoting tourism.

Malloy said that the state Department of Economic and Community Development and its Office of Tourism have released tracking results that indicate the $22 million Statewide Tourism Marketing Fund investment over 18 months has generated gains in overall tourism spending and increased positive awareness of Connecticut as a place to visit.

“Tourism has always been a good investment for the state – it is a sector that generates billions in spending and represents more than 100,000 jobs for residents,” Malloy said.

Among the bright spots so far is that state lodging revenue is up 8.5 percent since the same time last year – outpacing U.S. averages and the New England states combined, according to a state press release.

Another positive cited at the kickoff was that the “Still Revolutionary” marketing campaign has reached target consumers in key markets with its message nearly 646 million times.

“For the past two years, we’ve been investing in tourism and it’s working – we’ve seen increases in jobs, tourism spending and a more positive reputation for the state,” said Randy Fiveash, director of tourism. “It’s critical that we continue to maximize this momentum and bring new visitors to the state. The exciting line-up of new offerings will help do just that.”

These new attractions include Infinity Music Hall & Bistro, which since 2008, has been a popular dining and concert destination in Norfolk, featuring a wide array of nationally known music artists in an intimate setting.

Infinity hopes to extend this experience in the capital city with a new and larger building that is partially funded with state aid. There hall will seat 400 in a traditional theater setup. Another 100 seats will be available in the mezzanine where drinks and the hall’s menu will be served bistro style.

Infinity in Hartford will start selling tickets in the spring for its shows, with four to seven performances a week likely depending on the availability of artists, said marketing director Mary Ann Clerkin.

The opening night act will depend on when the hall is ready, but performers who have appeared in Norfolk include Bare Naked Ladies, Taj Mahal, Tori Amos, Roy Clark, Kevin Costner and the Harlem Gospel Choirs.

Launch Trampoline Park was opened last fall by a partnership including former New England Patriots football player Ty Law. This indoor facility offers wall to wall trampolines, foam pit, basketball hoops and dodgeball.

Other attractions featured by the Office of Tourism are:

  • The revived Powder Ridge Mountain Park and Resort in Middlefield
  • The 4B Festival – curated beer, bourbon, barbecue and bacon –  to be held this March at The Old Trolley Barn in New Haven
  • The 1841 wooden whaleship, the  Charles W. Morgan, sailing from Mystic Seaport.
  • The Bear Creek Campground opening in June at Lake Compounce in Bristol/Southington
  • The Connecticut Antiques Trail,  a new statewide trail of antique shops and centers
  • An array of activities planned to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the state parks.

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Business Start Up Resources Now Online


HARTFORD — Secretary of the State Denise Merrill recently launched an online Business Startup Tool designed to help entrepreneurs more quickly register new businesses and access state and federal agencies needed for licensing, labor and tax regulations.

The online Business Startup Tool also connects business owners with resources to help with business planning and financing. It can be easily accessed online through the Secretary of the State website here.

“As our economy continues to recover, every one of us in government must do everything we can to help businesses start, succeed, and create jobs,” Merrill said.  “My hope is that this online tool can help entrepreneurs navigate their interactions with the multiple state and federal agencies they may need to launch their business ventures.”

The Secretary of the State’s online business startup tool lists direct links to: the Connecticut Departments of: Consumer Protection, Energy and Environmental Protection, Labor, Revenue Services, and the Connecticut Licensing Information Center. The tool also connects entrepreneurs to the federal Small Business Administration, Internal Revenue Service, and the federal Department of Commerce Patent and Trademark Office. In addition to regulatory agencies, the online Business Startup Tool also provides links to information on public and private sector business financing as well as business planning assistance.

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Report: More Than 380,000 Nonemployer Businesses Added to the U.S. Economy,


WASHINGTON, D.C. — The number of businesses without paid employees in the U.S. rose 1.7 percent to 22.5 million in 2011, according to a new report released on Thursday from the U.S. Census Bureau.

This marked the second straight increase in nonemployer businesses, with all but two states (Louisiana and New Hampshire) posting gains from 2010 to 2011.

Today’s findings come from Nonemployer Statistics: 2011, an annual report on U.S. businesses without paid employees, classified in nearly 450 industries for the nation, states, counties and metropolitan areas. Nonemployer Statistics covers businesses with no paid employees, annual business receipts of $1,000 or more ($1 or more in the construction industries) and subject to federal income taxes. Businesses with paid employees were covered in County Business Patterns, which was released in April.

William Bostic Jr., associate director for economic programs at the U.S. Census Bureau, said that about 75 percent of all U.S. business locations are nonemployer businesses.

This release covers 19.4 million sole proprietorships, 1.4 million corporations and 1.6 million partnerships, which together make up the total number of nonemployer businesses.

At the state level, California had the largest increase in the number of nonemployer businesses, with 72,605 added in 2011. The states with the next highest increases in the number of businesses were Texas (41,148), Florida (31,485) and New York (21,119).

Among the 50 counties with the largest number of nonemployer businesses, Los Angeles County, Calif., added the most nonemployer businesses (28,651). Other large increases were in Cook County, Ill. (11,705), Maricopa County, Ariz. (10,038) and Kings County, N.Y. (Brooklyn) with 8,455.

Among industry sectors, services that compromise the “other services” (except public administration) sector gained the largest number of establishments, adding 159,163 in 2011, an increase of 4.7 percent. Types of services that fall within this sector include automotive repair and maintenance, barbershops, beauty salons, laundries and dry cleaners.

The number of nonemployer businesses declined in only two sectors. The construction sector lost 36,262 establishments (1.5 percent), while the finance and insurance sector lost 3,088 establishments (0.4 percent).

Other highlights:

–Total annual receipts for nonemployer businesses were $989.6 billion in 2011, an increase of $38.8 billion (4.1 percent) from the previous year.

–The District of Columbia had the highest percent increase in the number of nonemployer businesses, up 7.2 percent, followed by North Dakota (4.3 percent), Arizona (3.2 percent) and Delaware (2.9 percent).

–North Dakota reported the highest percentage increase in receipts in 2011, up 13.2 percent to $2.3 billion.

–California had the largest dollar increase in nonemployer receipts, adding $5.5 billion for a state total of $143.8 billion in 2011.

–Among the 50 counties with the largest number of nonemployer businesses, Brooklyn had the highest percentage increase in receipts, rising 7.8 percent in 2011. Orange County, Fla., increased 6.8 percent and Harris County, Texas, followed with an increase of 6.6 percent.

 

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Magazine Picks Top 50 Diverse Companies


HARTFORD — DiversityBusiness.com today announced the “Top 50 Organizations for Multicultural Business Opportunities.

Over 1,300,000 diversity business owners participated in an online election to determine the “Top” fifty organizations and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. was named the #1 company for providing business opportunities to diverse business owners throughout the United States.

The honor extends itself to another forty-nine major U.S. corporations which call themselves The Div50. This esteemed, elite list is coveted by the most successful companies in the United States and has become the most recognized and respected in the country.

“The diversity practices of the Div50 has changed the course of economic inclusion and thereby the world as we know it”, said Kenton Clarke, CEO of DiversityBusiness.com. “The great diversity and vision of our country and our people have made this possible.”

The 13th annual list was produced by DiversityBusiness.com, the nation’s leading multicultural B2B online website. Over 1,300,000 businesses were asked to answer 10 questions about diversity business in the marketplace. Their answers were based on factors such as volume, consistency and quality business opportunities granted to women and minority-owned companies.

Other large companies at the top of the list include AT&T, IBM, Northrop Grumman, Dell, Office Depot, Verizon, Cisco, Apple, and Raytheon.

As multicultural and female owned businesses gain more buying power and their lifestyles become more affluent, multicultural markets are growing in economic muscle. This in turn attracts more corporations, as they compete for market share. The Div50 list has therefore become the consumer guide for women and minority consumers.

“As a diversity business owner, I appreciate the business we receive from corporate buyers; and in turn, when I buy products and services, either personally or for my company, I am much more likely to buy from the same companies that support my business or are supporting businesses like mine,” said Helen Levinson, principle of Desert Rose Design headquartered in Elmhurst, Illinois.

The winning companies will be honored during a special awards ceremony at DiversityBusiness.com’s 13th Annual Multicultural Business Conference, taking place April 24 –April 26, 2013 at the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.

A complete list of winners is also available at: http://www.diversitybusiness.com/Resources/DivLists/2013/DivTop50/2013Div50C.htm.

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New CT Law For Business Report Filings


HARTFORD — There’s a new law on the books for the more than 300,000 businesses in Connecticut.

Beginning Jan.1 2012, all businesses must file thier annual report online. That’s because of House Bill No. 6565, which was passed unanimously by the Connecticut General Assembly in the 2011 session.

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill on Tuesday reminded businesses registered in the state that they will be required to file their annual reports with the Secretary of the State’s office online.

While there are a few exemptions to the new requirement, businesses can log on atwww.sots.ct.gov to file their annual reports.

Secretary Merrill said she expects the new requirement to save taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars annually, streamline and improve customer service, and eliminate the use of at least two tons of paper processed by the Secretary of the State’s office every year.

 

In requiring Connecticut businesses and non-profits to file their annual reports online, HB 6565 also requires businesses that register with the state to provide an email address to the Secretary of the State’s office for notifications of when annual reports are due.

State officials believe the online filing system will bypass the cumbersome and tedious steps of reviewing the paper files of the annual reports since businesses will know instantaneously if their report had sufficient information to be processed.  Any filings lacking requisite information will instantly be rejected and the businesses or non-profits will be told what data is lacking.

 

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