Tag Archive | "City of Hartford"

Tags: , ,

Hartford Entrepreneurial Center Offers Help to Small and Minority Businesses, But Few Knew


By Krishna Scully, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Many small and minority-owned businesses in Hartford are seemingly missing out on opportunities to grow so they can hire city residents.

Maria Sanchez, an owner of the registered business, “Fiesta Time”, says that she will take any opportunity to better her business, but she has never heard of any programs.

“I feel I need the most help in financial management and I can use the publicity,” Sanchez said.

There’s actually a city program that does just that.

Since 2011, the University of Hartford Entrepreneurial Center has been receiving a $100,000 Community Development Block Grant from Hartford for the Hartford Small Business Technical Assistance Program. This ongoing program provides free training, advising and technical assistance. Business owners work to improve marketing, operating and financial strategies.

So far, officials said, the program has helped 41 businesses in the last two years.

“The mission of our program is to help Hartford businesses improve their economic position,” said Shellie McMillen, CBDG’s Program Administrator.  “Each business has different specific goals they are working on attaining, including access to capital, improved human resources process, enhanced marketing strategy, etc. Our overall goal is that they use these improvements to take their business to the next level and increase profitability.”

The program has greatly benefited Balam Soto, a local artist and one of 16 local artists and small businesses awarded more than $100,000 from the city through Hartford Arts and Heritage Jobs Businesses Development Grant program, designed by Mayor Pedro Segarra and the Greater Hartford Arts Council in 2009 to spur job growth and innovation in the creative industry.

The Entrepreneurial Center’s HSBTAP program complements that program as well.

“The benefits of the EC program are great and worth it every single minute”, said Soto, who develops his own technology shop,  “Open Wire Lab.”  “The staff is kind and easy to approach.  They know what they are doing.  The atmosphere in the program shows how much they are committed to help your business.  They support you in the process no matter how unorthodox your idea is.”

ec-photoWord of the EC’s HSBTAP has been spread through various events, referrals from other organizations, and the distribution of marketing material, but without the help of the city’s out reach efforts in social circles not likely to get information through “word of mouth,” many businesses remain stagnate.

The city has hired outreach coordinators. But there’s seemingly not much outreach beyond “word of mouth.”

“I’ve never heard of it, “ said Ace, who refused to give his last name. “I don’t see anybody coming up here in until election time.”

Ace, the owner of Ace’s Smoke and Cell Shop on Albany—now Boost Mobile, said he’s been doing business in the city and surrounding areas for about 10 years.

The lack of awareness of programs such as these has impacted many city small and businesses and unemployment rate in the city. Reports show that local businesses tend to hire local residents, as opposed to corporation and nonprofit organizations based in the area.

According to the Survey of Business Owners (SBO) by the Department of Economic and Community Development, there are 2,488 minority-owned businesses in Hartford, representing 37.5 percent of the 6,638 total firms in the city.

Overall, the number of minority firms in Connecticut is a 39,832.minority firm in Connecticut.

Recently, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced that the state would provide $2 million to support minority contractors through the Hartford Economic Development Corporation (HEDCo). But that money is allocated only for contractors.

“Connecticut’s small businesses are the drivers of innovation, entrepreneurship, and job creation, and minority-owned businesses play a vital role,” Malloy said. “As the construction industry recovers, it is important that we have programs and funding in place that ensure minority contractors have opportunities to bid and win contracts and play a more active role in the state’s economic resurgence.”

At all levels of government, there is a consensus about the role small and minority businesses play in putting a dent in the unemployment or under-unemployment rate in urban areas.

“According to the latest data, 12 percent of the state’s businesses are minority-owned and the health of our economy will depend on these businesses having the same opportunities to succeed as others,” DECD Commissioner Catherine Smith said.  “By supporting local economic development organizations this way, we are broadening participation in public works projects and ensuring a more fair, competitive bidding process that will lower costs for the state.”

But first, business must have the tools to succeed, said Ace, who refused to give his last name.

“We hire mostly city residents,” Ace said. “ We should be getting all the help we can get. I’m  all for that.”

The Entrepreneurial Center is currently assessing businesses interested in participating in HSBTAP. For more information, contact the Entrepreneurial Center at 860-768-5681 or visit www.hartford.edu/ec.

Photos: Courtesy of Photo Stock

Posted in Business, Featured, NationComments (0)

Tags: , ,

Hartford To Celebrate Fair Housing Month


By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — April will be Fair Housing Month in the Hartford.

And Mayor Pedro E. Segarra is expected to proclaim this next month city’s opening of the 2011 Hartford Fair Housing Month Seminar on April 8 from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at the Hartford Public Library, 500 Main St.

Other featured seminar speakers include  are Attorney Jeffrey Sussman, U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development Office of Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity; Stan Kosloski, Executive Director – CT Disability Advocacy Collaborative; Human Rights Attorney Michelle Dumas Keuler, State of Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities and Karin Nigol, Assistant Director, Housing Education Resource Center.

Speakers will focus on Fair Housing Act and Civil Rights related to HUD Requirements; Fair Housing Rights and Reasonable Accommodations; Overview of the Protected Classes in Connecticut; Foreclosure Prevention and more.

Posted in Business, Hartford, NeighborhoodComments (1)

>
Advertise Here