This is a list of many of the resources in the Greater Hartford small business community. Some are volunteer organizations (like Score) while others are non-profits or banks with paid staff. All have the specific goal of helping to support small businesses as they struggle to start and/or grow to the next level. We encourage you to follow the links to discover many no/low cost opportunities you can take advantage of!
Small Business Workshops and Support
- Score Greater Hartford
- local live workshops, recorded webinars
- live and recorded workshops offered by other chapters and the National organization
- articles and templates for small businesses
- free business mentoring, part of Score, the largest network of free volunteer small business mentors in the nation. A mentor can help you start, grow, or transition your business
- Community Economic Development Fund (CEDF)
- Provide many educational opportunities for small businesses in order to support loans to Connecticut small business owners, primarily in low-to-moderate income communities, who are not able to obtain traditional bank financing.
- CT Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
- help small business owners reach their business goals. Professional, expert advisors offer guidance and support so you can focus on growing your business. Whether a new idea, a new product or a new location – they help you access funding, create new strategies and find critical information.
- recorded webinars, business tips, and online resources to help small businesses learn how to grow and manage their business.
- Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC)
- VBOC equips veteran and active duty service members and their families with the resources to help them start and run their businesses. VBOC of New England serves veterans in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. The VBOC of New England is operated by the Center for Women & Enterprise who offer quality classes, programs and services to those who want to start and grow their business
- Women's Business Development Center (WBDC)
- provide the training and education necessary for women to launch and scale their businesses, including business advisors.
- grants of up to $10,000 to qualified women-owned small businesses in Connecticut
- US Small Business Administration (SBA)
- provide education for small businesses, including checklists and templates
- federal contracting assistance
- US Small Business Administration (SBA) doorway to many government funding programs
- SBA guaranteed loans, including many specialty micro loans
- SBA investment programs, such as Small Business Investment Company (SBIC), privately managed, for-profit investment funds that provide equity and debt capital to small businesses. They administer loans to qualifying small businesses, and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) guarantees the company's investments. SBICs must receive a license from the SBA in order to operate. The SBIC program is a public-private partnership that was founded by an act of Congress in 1958 to offer financial assistance to small businesses.
- SBA low-interest disaster loans to help businesses and homeowners recover from declared disasters
- surety bonds
- Community Economic Development Fund (CEDF). CEDF provide loans to Connecticut small business owners, primarily in low-to-moderate income communities, who are not able to obtain traditional bank financing.
- DECD Direct Assistance. (Department of Economic and Community Development) Financing for small business is available through two programs:
- Economic and Manufacturing Assistance Act (MAA). This act makes available low-interest loans and incentive-driven direct loans for projects when there is a strong economic development potential. Funding may be used for purchase of equipment, furniture and fixtures, construction, leasehold improvements, training and other eligible project-related activities.
- Small Business Express Program. This program provides loans and grants to Connecticut's small businesses to spur job creation and growth.
- Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, Inc (CCAT). CCAT provides grants to start-up companies that are housed in Connecticut incubator facilities through the Small Business Incubator Grant Program.
- Connecticut Innovations (CI). CI is a quasi-public organization that serves as Connecticut’s strategic venture capital arm. Working in partnership with a number of public/private partners, CI offers strategic guidance, timely connections and equity investments to help promising businesses thrive.
- Connecticut Community Investment Corporation (CTCIC) — provides access to capital that may not be available elsewhere as well as financing opportunities for expanding businesses looking to purchase real estate and/or machinery and equipment.
- BDC Capital — pools money from many financial institutions to share the risks of helping promising companies expand. BDC Capital provides financial assistance with loans, mezzanine and equity investments, guarantees, and financial services to businesses of every type and description.
Regional Loan Programs
- Hartford Economic Development Corporation (HEDCO) and Greater Hartford Business Development Center (GHBDC) — working in tandem to provide small businesses throughout the region with alternative financing.
- Waterbury Development Corporation (WDC) — focused on offering one-on-one business support as well financial assistance to Waterbury’s business clientele at all stages of the business cycle.
- SouthEastern Connecticut Enterprise Region (seCTer) — a public/private regional economic development agency offering loan programs and business development assistance to businesses in New London County.
- Northeast Connecticut Economic Alliance — provides resources to both existing and startup manufacturing and service companies in Northeastern Connecticut.
- Community Capital Fund — supports economic development projects that benefit low- and moderate-income people in the Greater Bridgeport area.
- Middlesex County Revitalization Commission — offers a Revolving Loan Fund to help create/retain jobs in Middlesex County.
- The Entrepreneurial Center and Women’s Business Center at University of Hartford -- help start-ups or existing small businesses. From social media and marketing to business planning and financial management, we offer the expertise to guide your next entrepreneurial steps.
- AdvanceCT -- (formerly CT Economic Resource) works with a variety of audiences, including local and global businesses, municipal and regional entities, state agencies, nonprofits, utilities – and generally, groups that are helping to improve Connecticut’s economic competitiveness and make the state a better place to live, work and do business.
- reSet -- believe in social enterprise, business that prioritizes impact alongside profit. In addition to providing co-working space, accelerator and incubator programs, they aim to inspire innovation and community collaboration. Also support entrepreneurs in creating market-based solutions to address the world's biggest problems - from food waste to climate change to education inequity.