Looking to start a business in Connecticut? Looking to expand? Or maybe you’re looking to relocate an existing firm. There are a wide variety of public and private organizations established to help foster business growth within the Nutmeg State. The key resources for businesses in Connecticut are below and within the digital edition of Doing Business in Connecticut.
Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development
What is it? DECD is a state agency that serves as the lead organization in charge of promoting economic development in the state.
What does it do? A lot. DECD is the umbrella organization for four key programs: business development, tourism, the arts and historic preservation. Under the business development umbrella, DECD offers a variety of incentives for business growth, including loan programs for small, medium- and large-sized businesses. The Office of Tourism helps market the state as a place to visit and vacation. The Office of the Arts manages grant programs aimed at strengthening the arts in the state. And finally, the state Historic Preservation Office manages a range of federal and state programs related to historic buildings, sites, structures, districts and objects.
How do I learn more? Visit www.ct.gov/ecd
What is it? CT Innovations is a quasi-public agency. It is governed by a 17-member board of directors that includes appointees selected by the governor and state legislature.
What does it do? CI, as it is known, is a resource for startups as well as established companies in the state. It provides seed capital to startups and debt financing to more mature companies. CI also has a Small Business Innovation Team that helps companies in a variety of ways, including through the application process for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants. CI administers the state’s Bioscience Innovation Fund and runs CTNext, which is aimed at sparking entrepreneurial activity throughout the state.
How do I learn more? Visit www.ctinnovations.com
Connecticut Business and Industry Association
What is it? CBIA is the largest business organization in the state with thousands of business members.
What does it do? First and foremost, CBIA serves as an advocate for its members, the business owners of Connecticut. It seeks to promote a business climate that is globally competitive and it encourages communication and cooperation among businesses, government, the private sector and the general public. It also provides programs to help businesses, including insurance and employee benefits.
How do I learn more? Visit www.cbia.com
Connecticut Green Bank
What is it? The Connecticut Green Bank is the nation’s first green bank. It is funded through public and private funds.
What does it do? The CT Green Bank leverages public dollars to attract investments from the private sector in clean energy. It has a variety of programs for residential and commercial customers, including the Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program, which helps business owners access affordable, long-term financing for smart energy upgrades to their buildings.
How do I learn more? Visit www.ctgreenbank.com
Connecticut Department of Revenue
What is it? DOR is a state agency charged with managing tax collection in the state of Connecticut.
What does it do? DOR collects taxes, but it’s also a resource for businesses in that it provides details on what types of taxes different businesses are responsible for collecting as well as what types of tax credits are available. Businesses can be eligible for tax credits if they invest in machinery or equipment, if they create new jobs, if they conduct research and development, or if they are within specific industries, such as digital animation.
How do I learn more? Visit www.ct.gov/drs
Connecticut Economic Resource Center
What is it? CERC is a private nonprofit that was founded in 1993 as a public-private partnership between the state and its utilities and telecom companies.
What does it do? CERC provides a range of services to help complement economic development efforts by the state. Its website offers a deep dive on demographic data on the state’s 169 towns. It also has a ProgramFinder service on its website that catalogues state, federal and private assistance programs for businesses and a SiteFinder service that catalogues commercial real estate in Connecticut. CERC also runs the Connecticut Business Response Center, a one-stop shop for information on starting, expanding and relocating a business in Connecticut.
How do I learn more? Visit www.cerc.com
Connecticut Department of Labor
What is it? The Connecticut Department of Labor is a state agency whose primary mission is helping employers and jobseekers with their workforce needs.
What does it do? The state DOL offers a variety of programs for employers, primarily through the agency’s Business Service Specialists Unit (BSU). Employers are welcome to visit their local American Job Center, or a member of the BSU team will visit an employer at their office to discuss an employer’s needs, including training needs, funding sources to cover those costs, tax credits, wage subsidies and safety consultations. The DOL website also offers in-depth labor market data and features CTHires.com, an online website where employers can post job openings and look for potential job candidates.
How do I learn more? Visit www.ct.gov/dol
SBA Connecticut District Office
What is it? The Connecticut District Office is the local branch of the U.S. Small Business Administration. Its main Connecticut office is in Hartford.
What does it do? The SBA’s mission is to help entrepreneurs on their way to becoming successful business owners. To that end, the SBA offers a broad array of programs, including financial assistance through SBA lenders as well as free counselors through the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), the CT Small Business Development Centers (CT SBDC) and Women’s Business Centers (WBC). It also offers training events and special supports for businesses owned by the socially and economically disadvantaged, veterans and businesses involved in international trade.
How do I learn more? Visit www.sba.gov/ct
Connecticut Small Business
What is it? CT SBDC is an agency that supports small businesses. It’s funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. SBA, the state DECD and the University of Connecticut.
What does it do? CT SBDC offers custom-designed services, including: business plan review; cash flow analysis; guidance with loan and grant applications; marketing and social media; international trade; inventory control management; market research; management and personnel expertise; and emergency preparedness. The agency has multiple locations throughout the state.
How do I learn more? Visit www.ctsbdc.com
Largest Chambers in Connecticut
For a complete listing of chambers in Connecticut, please visit the CT Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.
Bridgeport Regional Business Council, www.brbc.org
Central CT Chambers of Commerce, www.centralctchambers.org
Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut, www.chamberect.com
Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce, www.danburychamber.com
Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce, www.gnhcc.com
Greater Norwalk Chamber of Commerce, www.norwalkchamberofcommerce.com
MetroHartford Alliance, www.metrohartford.com
Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce, www.middlesexchamber.com
Stamford Chamber of Commerce, www.stamfordchamber.com
Waterbury Regional Chamber of Commerce, www.waterburychamber.com
The Chamber of Commerce, Windham Region, www.windhamchamber.com
Clusters, trade groups & college programs
Aerospace Components Manufacturers, www.aerospacecomponents.org
Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, www.ccat.us
Connecticut Economic Development Association, www.cedas.org
Connecticut Technology Council, www.ct.org
Connecticut United for Research Excellence, www.curenet.org
Institute of Technology & Business Development, www.ccsu.edu/itbd
Insurance and Financial Services Cluster, www.connecticutifs.com
UConn Office of Economic Development, innovation.uconn.edu Yale Entrepreneurial Institute, yei.yale.edu
More agencies of interest to business
Community Investment Corp., www.ciclending.com
Connecticut Convention & Sports Bureau, www.ctmeetings.org
Connecticut Housing and Finance Authority, www.chfa.org
Department of Consumer Protection, www.ct.gov/dcp
Department of Housing, www.ct.gov/doh
Secretary of State, www.ct.gov/sots