Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman, and Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) Commissioner Catherine Smith today hosted a roundtable discussion at the Capitol with more than 30 Connecticut businesses that have received funding through the Small Business Express (EXP) program. Participants discussed the impact of the program on the business community and the statewide economy as well as the findings of the Small Business Express Update and Analysis compiled by DECD.
"Over two years we have put in place a series of economic development tools and initiatives designed to help Connecticut businesses expand and create good paying jobs with good benefits," said Governor Malloy. "The EXP program gets capital to the small companies that are the backbone of the state's economy, and their entrepreneurial activity drives additional investment. These initiatives provide a strong return to taxpayers, and this discussion will help us strengthen and improve the program."
"The Small Business Express program is a cornerstone of our commitment to spur economic growth, and that is why we wanted to hear directly from participants about what is working and how it can be improved," said Lt. Governor Wyman. "The input we received at this roundtable will guide us in refining our job-creation strategy and in helping more small businesses reach their potential."
Administered by DECD, the Small Business Express Program provides loans and matching grants to Connecticut companies with 100 or fewer employees that need capital for expansion and job creation. The state's initial investment through EXP has helped 494 Connecticut companies create or retain over 6,300 jobs, and has leveraged more than $40 million in private investment.
"The diverse mix of EXP participants reflects Connecticut's economy and helps us understand firsthand the challenges confronting small businesses," said Commissioner Smith. "Governor Malloy has made it very clear that state government needs to be more responsive to the business community--that means innovating around how we partner with business, listening to their feedback, and looking for ways to improve these economic development programs."
"When I started out 37 years ago as an apprentice butcher, my dream was to have my own shop," said Steve Ford, owner of Butcher's Best Country Market in Newtown. "The Small Business Express Program helped provide the capital I needed to implement my business plan, hire staff, and get my business off the ground."
"To build competitive advantage -- especially during this extraordinarily difficult financial period -- we need access to the capital that the Small Business Express Program provides," said Uday Khire, PhD., President & CEO of Cheminpharma LLC, a biotech company in Farmington. "EXP helps us improve our infrastructure and develop our workforce. This is one way that we can overcome the cost of the labor advantage our global competitors enjoy."
The Small Business Express Program was part of the October 2011 bipartisan Jobs Bill.
For more information about EXP contact Sheila Hummel at 860.270.8105 Sheila.Hummel@ct.gov.