Small business owners and people looking to start a business traveled from all around the quiet corner to attend a Monday morning business forum at Woodstock town hall. The event was put on by Representative Mike Alberts (R-Woodstock) and Senator Tony Guglielmo (R-Stafford) two state lawmakers who are trying to help grow jobs in eastern Connecticut.
"The goal of this forum was to educate our local businesses about the programs and assistance available to them so we bring jobs back to our community," said Rep. Alberts. "We are very encouraged by the enthusiasm of all who came out for help."
The workshop is a community outreach program put on by the state with the help of the House and Senate Republicans.
Senator Guglielmo said, "Connecticut's small businesses are the engine of our economy these folks need stability. I hope this workshop provided that."
Joining the legislators were Lindy Lee Gold, a Senior Specialist with the Office of Business and Independent Development, Roberta Dwyer of Northeast Economic Alliance in Willimantic and Linda Riquier of the Workforce Development program in the Department of Labor. The group provided information and answered questions regarding state programs and which businesses qualified for grants.
"These folks are struggling and want to get help so they can create jobs and expand their operations," said Sen. Guglielmo.
This is one in a series of small business workshops hosted by the legislators. Earlier this month a workshop in Vernon attracted entrepreneurs from as far away as Ashford.
Sen. Guglielmo remarked, "Usually, I’m not a huge fan of government assistance in the business sector but this is different. It’s focused on small businesses and the program requires people to apply for a grant, not for government to pick winners and losers. You have to be qualified and put some of your own capital up so there is an equal risk for all parties involved."
Many of the small business express grants are being awarded with in 45 days of an applicants’ paperwork being handed in. For more information on EXP or to apply for the program visit the Small Business Express Program website or contact Michelle Lugo at DECD at 860-270-8052 or Michelle.Lugo@ct.gov