Governor Dannel P. Malloy and Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) Commissioner Catherine Smith today visited four small businesses in Manchester, Meriden, New Haven, and Stamford that are participating in the state's Small Business Express Program (EXP). The program, administered by DECD, offers grants and matching loans to Connecticut companies with 100 or fewer employees.
"Small businesses are the backbone of Connecticut's economy, and putting in place the tools to increase their competitiveness is critical for economic growth," said Governor Malloy. "Through programs like EXP and First Five, we are making it clear that we support business and industry, we will fight for every job in Connecticut, and we will be innovative in responding to the needs of business. This is why I've asked the legislature to allocate $100 million to continue the EXP program for an additional two years--this program works to strengthen our economy and create jobs."
Passed with bi-partisan support during the October 2011 Jobs Special Session, the program began with a $100 million investment. To date, EXP has funded 598 applications totaling more than $80 million. The program will create and retain more than 7,600 jobs and has leveraged about $50 million in private investment.
"It is clear that EXP is having a strong impact on Connecticut's small companies--and we are getting an overwhelmingly positive response from the business community," said DECD Commissioner Catherine Smith. "The grants and loans these companies get through EXP allow them to attract additional private financing, expand operations, and create good paying jobs with good benefits right here in Connecticut. Continuing this program makes sense--it increases the competitiveness of Connecticut's small businesses, creates jobs in the state, and strengthens our overall economy."
Senate Bill 801, An Act Making Manufacturing Assistance Act Funds Available For The Small Business Express Program, would supplement the original EXP funding by $60 million and has unanimously passed the Commerce and the Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committees. It awaits action by both chambers of the General Assembly.
The Governor and Commissioner Smith visited:
Atlantic Canvas and Awning, of Manchester, a manufacturer of commercial awnings, truck tarps, and boat covers. The company received a loan of $50,000 and a matching grant of $10,000 which supported the creation of three new jobs and retained four.
Automotive Core Recycling, a recycler of catalytic converters in Meriden, received a $250,000 loan and hired one new position. They retained 8 jobs.
Katalina's, a New Haven bakery, received a loan of $30,000 to add equipment and furnishings to its recently established retail shop. Katalina's created one full time job and retained two full time and two part time jobs.
Half Full Brewery, a craft brewer that has a production and a tasting room in Stamford's south end, received a $100,000 matching grant from DECD and used it as working capital to increase inventory and improve marketing and sales efforts to meet rising demand. Half Full created five new jobs and retained two.
In 2013, the Small Business Express Program has created or retained more than 1400 jobs.