Supporting Our Local Businesses
Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy. Over the first 7 months of 2016 there have been 18,469 new businesses started. In 2011, House Democrats, responding to the needs of local businesses asking for additional capital to hire workers, worked across party lines to develop the Small Business Express Program that has created 5,291 jobs in 1,319 companies. This year, we developed the Entrepreneur Learner’s Permit program, which reimburses first-time entrepreneurs for filing, licensing, and permitting fees associated with starting a business up to $1,500.
Building on our successes to support small businesses, House Democrats plan to work on the following:
- Developing an “Angel Investors” Program to Provide Additional Capital to Small Businesses
- Creation of a 1-800 Number so that Business Owners can Easily Find Out About State Services
- Work on Reducing Energy Costs and Find Ways for Small Companies to Pool Resources to Achieve Cost Savings
- Make Small Business Express Easier to Access and Offer Help with Purchasing
Solution: Developing an “Angel Investors” Program to Provide Additional Capital to Small Businesses
An Angel Investor is someone who invests in a startup company in exchange for equity in that company. Angels provide entrepreneurs with seed capital, which is very difficult to raise. The state’s current Angel Investor program is limited to Connecticut companies that are engaged in bioscience, advanced materials, photonics, clean tech, or IT, and the company must have gross revenue of less than $1 million per year, fewer than 25 employees, have operated for less than 7 years, and have already received less than $2 million from angel investors.
House Democrats propose opening the Angel Investor program to additional industries and creating a program to pool the resources of Angel Investors so small businesses can apply for this funding.
Solution: Creation of a 1-800 Number so that Business Owners can Easily Find Out About State Services
Create one-stop resource center for businesses. Entrepreneurs have expressed frustration that needed resources and information are scattered across multiple state agencies. If a company wants to relocate to or expand in Connecticut they will be able to call a central resource center at a single phone number that is always staffed.
Solution: Work on Reducing Energy Costs and Find Ways for Small Companies to Pool Resources to Achieve Cost Savings
Connecticut businesses have cited energy costs as one of their top concerns. House Democrats will bring together small business owners, energy companies, the Connecticut Green Bank and other interested parties to find ways that we can help small business owners reduce their energy consumption and purchase energy in a more effective more way.
Solution: Make the Small Business Express Program Easier to Access and Offer Help with Purchasing
Small business owners are pulled in a million directions. They are the front-line worker, the manager, the purchasing agent, the bookkeeper, and, in many cases, carry all the risk. We can lighten the load by making economic development programs easier to access. We need to do better job marketing these programs and removing eligibility barriers. For example Small Business Express program is only available to existing businesses, not start-ups, even if the entrepreneur has previous business experience. In addition, we should give small businesses the ability to be included on state contracts for the purchasing of basic services and products. By joining a larger purchasing pool, these small businesses should be able to get better pricing.