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WorkinCT: New program in Hartford looks to give small businesses a boost

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HARTFORD – The City of Hartford is looking to give small businesses a big boost.

The Hartford Foundation is spearheading a new initiative known as the Inner City Capital Connections program.

The foundation is looking for 50 small businesses to participate in the program’s first year, which will fully launch by May.

“This program is sort of a mini MBA, a part of it is 40 hours of instruction support from world-class experts in small business growth and business planning. But it’s also about the connections to sources of capital. For a lot of small businesses one of the constraints can be that it’s difficult to get that loan,” said Mayor Luke Bronin.

As a far as requirements to participate in the program, it has to be a small business that has a revenue stream.

“That can be anything from restaurants, to construction companies, to small-scale manufacturing,” said Mayor Bronin.

Max Kothari, the owner of Express Kitchens in Hartford, has benefited from a similar program to expand his business. Kothari is an immigrant from India who started his cabinet manufacturing and supplier business out of a hardware store.

Kothari said guidance from business experts is what allowed him to grow his business from two people to now 150 employees. Express Kitchens is now one of the fastest growing businesses in Hartford, with plans on expanding into the Boston market.

Mayor Bronin hopes to bring more success stories just like Kothari’s to Hartford.

“We as a city, are successful when our small businesses are successful. Because they are generators of growth. They hire locally, they create jobs, and strengthen our community,” said Mayor Bronin.

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