HARTFORD, CT - Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that five Connecticut small businesses have qualified for $1,020,000 through the state’s Small Business Express Program (EXP). EXP is Governor Malloy’s signature small business program that was created as a part of the bi-partisan Jobs Bill passed during last year’s Special Session.
“From entrepreneurs creating cutting edge products in emerging industries to business leaders looking to expand long-standing companies, EXP is a program that demonstrates the state’s commitment to Connecticut’s small companies and their role in creating and protecting the jobs that will strengthen our economy,” said Governor Malloy.
In total, EXP will provide $100 million to help the state’s small businesses hire more employees and fund capital investments. The program, administered by the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), offers loans and matching grants to Connecticut companies with fewer than 50 employees at the time of application.
The businesses to receive funding are:
· Nature’s First, Inc. of Orange is a manufacturer of food products sold in health food stores and supermarkets including Whole Foods, Stop and Shop, and other major regional chains. The company will retain four and create two new jobs as ownership leverages an investment of $370,000 with a Job Creation Incentive Loan of $100,000 and a Matching Grant of $100,000. The funding will support the import of powder and juice pulp from India to its domestic manufacturing facility.
“The state is smart to invest in companies like Nature’s First, a local manufacturer of healthy and nutritious foods,” said Senator Gayle Slossberg. “This grant award sends a message that Connecticut supports small businesses and is focused on growing jobs. I want to see more success stories like this one that ends with a growing and thriving workforce.”
“The bipartisan Jobs Bill passed in October continues to have a positive impact on small businesses in our local area,” said Representative Paul Davis. “Nature’s First inc., of Orange, which has an international presence, is another example of how government can help support job growth and small business expansion in the private sector. The benefits of this program extend to the entire community through greater employment opportunities and increased economic development.”
“Helping small businesses grow strong roots here in Connecticut, and in this region in particular, fueled my decision last fall to support an expanded menu of assistance options available to employers,” said Representative Themis Klarides. “Government can’t create private sector jobs, but it can certainly help create a climate where they can bloom. These types of state investments in our business community go a long way toward accomplishing that goal.”
· Nalas Engineering, of Essex provides chemistry and chemical engineering expertise to aid in the development of safe, robust and low-cost chemical processes. The company, currently housed in the UCONN Small Business Incubator at Avery Point, will invest $100,000 and receive a $100,000 Matching Grant to move to a larger location and expand in Essex. New machinery and equipment will be purchased and ten new employees will be hired, tripling the number now employed from five to fifteen.
“I’m delighted by DECD’s favorable consideration of Nalas Engineering’s strong application for this grant, and I commend local officials in Essex who encouraged the company’s move into town. A winning formula for economic growth is collaboration between the public sector and private business,” said Senator Eileen Daily. “This grant for Nalas Engineering is a prime example of how this partnership can work and it is great news for our local economy and for Connecticut.”
“This investment will allow Nalas Engineering to relocate to Essex and hire more workers—helping to help grow our local economy,” said Representative Phil Miller. “Governor Malloy is clearly focused on the needs of our small businesses and I want to thank him for his strong support.”
· The Rockfall Company, LLC of Meriden, a veteran-owned company established in 1998, is a team of seasoned planners, designers and construction professionals providing general contracting, construction management and mechanical contracting services, facilities design, project planning, and construction consulting. Specializing in light commercial and residential construction, the company’s finished products include office complexes, condominiums, retail space, and educational facilities as well as custom-designed residences throughout Connecticut. The company received a $250,000 Job Creation Incentive Loan, and a $20,000 Matching Grant, to expand the business, purchase a piece of equipment and hire five new employees.
“Our top priority is job creation and small business expansion. That’s what will jumpstart our recovery, and that’s what we had in mind when we passed the Jobs Bill last fall,” said House Speaker Christopher G. Donovan. “Governor Malloy’s decision to select The Rockfall Company of Meriden is a welcome boost to our regional economy.”
"It is encouraging to see a local veteran-owned small business benefit from one of these grants," said Representative Cathy Abercrombie. "I am pleased to see our governor including a variety of businesses in this grant program and thank him for keeping Meriden's small businesses in mind."
“I thank Governor Malloy for his continued support of small business. The opportunity for this company to expand and hire more employees contributes to our economic recovery,” said Representative Emil “Buddy” Altobello.
· Jupiter Communications, LLC of Stratford, a printing company, has been in continuous operation since 1962, and is principally concerned with serving financial publishing companies. With an opportunity to capture a major new customer, Jupiter is investing $180,000 and receiving a Matching Grant of $100,000 to acquire new equipment and help the company bring work currently sourced out-of-state back in-house. Jupiter will retain ten jobs and add two more.
"I am very happy that the job creation programs the legislature passed last fall will help Jupiter Communications in Stratford retain ten jobs and even bring a couple of outsourced positions back here to Connecticut. Helping small businesses to succeed and start hiring again is one of my top goals, and I hope we will be able to pass an expansion of these job programs later this year," said Senator Ed Gomes.
"I'm always thrilled when any investment is made in a Stratford business, especially in these tough economic times," said Representative Terry Backer. "Lack of employment remains a major hurdle for communities like Stratford. This grant will allow for the hiring of local residents."
"This new approach, giving grants to small businesses in a short time frame, can have a big impact on a company. Jupiter Communications is a perfect example. It is what was envisioned when the Jobs Bill passed last October,” said Representative Lawrence Miller.
"I'm happy to see DECD has worked with Jupiter to allow them to expand their business and bring out-sourced work back into their own operation," said Representative Laura Hoydick. "It's good to see positive growth that stems directly from last year's bipartisan legislation taking effect right here in Stratford."
“I am pleased that Jupiter Communications will be growing and creating jobs in our community,” said Senator Kevin Kelly. “Small businesses are the engine that drives our economy, and the Small Business Express Program is a good example of how state government should work in cooperation with business owners to put local families back to work.”
· Greenskies Renewable, LLC of Middletown has been awarded a $100,000 Matching Grant and a Job Creation Incentive Loan in the amount of $250,000. A solar integrator that specializes in solar financing, system design, project implementation, coordination, long-term system monitoring and maintenance, Greenskies will hire four new employees over the next three years as they work with several major multinational corporations to scale up a number of successfully completed pilot installations at locations throughout the northeast.
“We are lucky to have a visionary renewable energy company like Greenskies right in our own backyard in Middletown,” said Senator Paul Doyle. “This grant will help Greenskies continue to thrive and create jobs for four new people. This is the kind of investment we need to get the state’s economy back on track and get people back to work.”
“It is really great to see another business right here in our community expanding and growing with the support of the state,” said Representative Joseph Serra. “Greenskies, particularly with its mission of encouraging the use of solar energy, is a great fit for the Small Business Express program which will help add jobs to our local economy.”
"This is the direction our state needs to continue traveling, small business support and green jobs," said Representative Gail K. Hamm. "I'm thrilled anytime investment comes to Middletown."
"This Small Business Express Program is doing exactly what was intended when I voted for the Jobs bill last year. Businesses like Greenskies Renewable are able to use this grant to expand operations and hire new employees, and win for the business and for the state," said Representative Christie Carpino.
"Greenskies is creating green jobs right here in Middletown. As a member of the Energy Committee, I've long been a supporter of renewable energy and I'm thrilled that Governor Malloy is helping this great solar business expand in Middletown,” said Representative Matt Lesser.
For more information on EXP or to apply for the program, visit the Small Business Express Program web page or contact Michelle Lugo at DECD at 860-270-8052 or Michelle.Lugo@ct.gov.