LISC and TD Bank Partner for Small Business Grants – Starting August 5, 2020

The following information was published on the LISC website:

TD Bank has committed $50,000 to LISC Connecticut for grants to small businesses. Grants will range in size up to $5,000. This is a multi-state approach, with a similar program by TD Bank launching in Massachusetts. This fund provides grant support to help address the financial impact on small businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional information may be viewed at

Who is eligible?

LISC will provide grants of up to $5,000 to businesses facing financial pressure because of COVID-19—especially businesses owned by people of color, women, and veterans, as well as enterprises in historically underserved communities that don’t have access to flexible, affordable capital.

The application is limited to the first 60 applicants, and from this pool, a limited number will be selected. Applications must be submitted online. Grant finalists will be required to provide the following documentation in order to receive a grant:

  • One of the following: a) Federal IRS Determination Letter for Businesses (Federal ID/TIN), b) Schedule C for Sole Proprietors OR c) Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN)

The application is only available online. 

The application portal will open at 1 pm EST on Wednesday, August 5, 2020, and close once the 60 applicant limit has been reached – or 11:59 pm EST on Friday, August 7, 2020.

GRANT ELIGIBILITY – To be eligible for funding, you must:

  • be a Connecticut small business with a Connecticut address and location
  • be in operation for at least 2 years
  • be in good standing
  • registered with the CT Secretary of State’s office*
  • have no outstanding liens or judgments
  • not have exceeded $1M in 2019 revenues
  • not have already received a small business grant from LISC

*registration not applicable to sole proprietorship

What it can be used for?

  • Paying rent and utilities
  • Meeting payroll
  • Paying outstanding debt to vendors
  • Other immediate operational costs

International Hartford Micro Grant Program to assist small business owners

In a meeting with members of the Upper Albany Merchant Association, Erwin Hurst, Sr. informed that International Hartford works closely with several organizations including HEDCO to offer various business services and micro-grant opportunities to minority entrepreneurs. There is currently a micro-grant program in amounts up to $10,000 for which small business owners may apply. Grants will be available on a first-come-first-serve basis until funds are depleted.

According to its website, International Hartford is a non-profit organization dedicated to the creation of jobs in Hartford for immigrants and refugees by helping them become entrepreneurs and build their businesses. Through business classes and financial consulting, as well as loan preparation and step-by-step assistance, the organization focuses on supporting the entrepreneurial initiative of Hartford immigrants to ensure starting a business in Connecticut is easier and more feasible with help from the organization. Connecticut welcomes immigrants and International Hartford helps them create jobs in Hartford.

Regardless of your country of origin, if you need help starting a business in Connecticut or finding your way, International Hartford will assist you on diverse projects. Contact Erwin Hurst at (860) 490- 4557 or visit the International Hartford website for further details.

HEDCO – SAMA Small Business Grant

According to information retrieved from the HEDCO website, HEDCO and the Spanish American Merchants Association (SAMA) have partnered with the Officer of the Governor, the State of Connecticut, and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) to provide grants of up to $30,000 to small businesses throughout the State of Connecticut.

The program will not only assist with funding but it will also connect small business applicants to the organizations’ Ecosystem of Providers. Info from HEDCO’s website is provided below:

This ecosystem will include lawyers, accountants, human resources, insurance agencies, marketing firms, and other providers to supply small businesses with the resources they need to start-up, sustain, or grow their enterprises – many resources which are too expensive or unattainable otherwise.

This program is designed for businesses seeking growth and long-term success. It will require an assessment process to identify and analyze areas of need. Experienced professionals will be available to guide participants through the process. The outcome offers valuable insights into strengths, weaknesses, growth opportunities, and strategies for overcoming challenges.

This grant program requires that your small business must:

  1. Go through the assessment process provided by the program
  2. Be a for-profit business with no more than 25 full-time and/or part-time employees.
  3. Be a registered business operating in Connecticut.
  4. Be in good standing with the Department of Revenue Services (DRS)
  5. Be in good standing with the Department of Labor.
  6. Have been conducting business for a minimum of one year.

Terms and Conditions

  1. Grants up to $30,000 are offered subject to the following disclaimer, “The amount you have requested may not equal the amount you are approved for.”
      • Zero percent interest rate
      • No application fee
      • Closing fee of $500.00
      • Grants do not have to be paid back to HEDCO, Inc. unless funds are used to cover ineligible expenses. The business must show documentation of expenditures in accordance with your cash flow projections.

Application and Approval Process – Submit the following documents:

Application Apply Online, (before starting the application, be sure to have the relevant documents [itemized below] ready to upload).

  1. Latest tax return for 1 year (business and personal) or Profit and Loss for prior year
  2. Year-to-date Profit and Loss Statement
  3. Status Letter from Department of Revenue Services How to get a Status Letter
  4. Status Letter from Department of Labor Request Letter of Good Standing
  5. Cash flow projections for 12 months Download Cash Flow Projections Sheet
  6. Source and Use of Funds Form Download Source and Use Form
  7. Statement about how these grant funds will be utilized to help grow your business.

Apply Now!

For additional information about the program and assistance with the completion of your application call HEDCO at (860) 527-1301 or email

Easy Steps to Plan Prepare and Manage Your Business

These 10 easy steps can help you plan, prepare and manage your business. Click on the links to learn more.

Step 1: Write a Business Plan

Use these tools and resources to create a business plan. This written guide will help you map out how you will start and run your business successfully.

Step 2: Get Business Assistance and Training

Take advantage of free training and counseling services, from preparing a business plan and securing financing, to expanding or relocating a business.

Step 3: Choose a Business Location

Get advice on how to select a customer-friendly location and comply with zoning laws.

Step 4: Finance Your Business

Find government backed loans, venture capital and research grants to help you get started.

Step 5: Determine the Legal Structure of Your Business

Decide which form of ownership is best for you: sole proprietorship, partnership, Limited Liability Company (LLC), corporation, S corporation, nonprofit or cooperative.

Step 6: Register a Business Name (“Doing Business As”)

Register your business name with your state government.

Step 7: Get a Tax Identification Number

Learn which tax identification number you’ll need to obtain from the IRS and your state revenue agency.

Step 8: Register for State and Local Taxes

Register with your state to obtain a tax identification number, workers’ compensation, unemployment and disability insurance.

Step 9: Obtain Business Licenses and Permits

Get a list of federal, state and local licenses and permits required for your business.

Step 10: Understand Employer Responsibilities

Learn the legal steps you need to take to hire employees.

Credit: Hannah Bowen:



Small Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery Guide

Posted in: Starting A Business

Hartford initiative to help entrepreneurs

Hartford officials have announced the formation of a new office dubbed  “The Business One-Stop”  intended to ease the challenges to entrepreneurs creating small businesses in the City of Hartford.

The Office of the Business One-Stop will be part of the Department of Development Services and will liaise with small business owners seeking direct help navigating the process of starting a business. According to the Hartford Courant,  Randall Davis, interim director of the department, said that to ensure streamlined communication, this newly created office will report directly to the mayor’s office.

Don Chapman, a long-time urban planner and a previous Director of Small Business and Community Development for the City of Hartford, has been tapped to lead the new office after Mayor Arulampalam noted that in conversations with small business owners, they all repeatedly mentioned Don Chapman. Chapman’s primary role will be to help small business owners navigate city hall and ensure timely responses to their questions.

Mayor Arulampalam has expressed his hope that this process will open doors to more investment in the city via a simple process that ensures entrepreneurs opening a small business do not have to hire a lawyer or a lobbyist to navigate city hall.

Source: Stephen Underwood, Hartford Courant, January 17, 2024. 

Hartford residents air pleas for help

During a press conference at the American Legion at  2121 Main Street, representatives of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had planned to privately tour and review residents’ claims of flooding and sewage backups.  However, the tour was canceled by the EPA representatives and they did not meet with residents.  The EPA representatives also did not comment publicly because they were not authorized to speak publicly, especially in the presence of the press and the politicians who were also in attendance.

Hartford restaurant owner, Joan Facey, was one of several local business owners who intended to have their voices heard regarding the flooding and sewage backup issues that are negatively impacting their financial and emotional stability.

Upon taking the podium, Joan addressed the crowd and said that she was specifically speaking to U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, MDC Chairman William A. DiBella, and Executive Director Scott Jellison.

Joan Facey said, “And when the flood came, the water came, and this sewer backed up, it came up the flat roof. The water [went] down, the sewer went up, and came down to the building,” Facey said. “It ruined my building. I have a restaurant sitting there [with] equipment that I cannot use. It’s $8,000 just to sanitize the place and repair just for that …” She also asked Blumenthal how she can get the $8,000 to repair and sanitize the restaurant, asking him, where is her justice.

The article published in the Hartford Courant explicitly continued:

Community Activist Bridgitte Prince said during a press conference at the American Legion at 2121 Main St. that she and representatives of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency out of Boston would be touring privately to review residents’ ongoing claims of flooding and sewage backups. Prince later said that the EPA reps canceled the tour and did not meet with residents.

She said that the EPA representatives were not available to comment publicly, as they were not authorized to speak to the crowd publicly, especially with the press and politicians present.

Residents and activists contacted the agency due to ongoing incidents of flooding and sewage backups in Hartford’s North End and concerns that the lack of action is tied to the location in the city. Residents said they feel unheard by some elected officials and the Metropolitan District Commission.

Prince said that, in her opinion, the city’s flooding issue is akin to a New Orleans Ninth Ward district catastrophe waiting to happen.

“You’ve got pipes, busted sewage pipes that are centuries old and it’s not being repaired. You’ve got residents that live in the North End from Blue Hills Avenue all the way down to Windsor Street, [who] have human waste flowing through their basements. They don’t know whose human waste it is, because it’s been that long since it’s been fixed,” she said.

She said that these issues are not things that the Black community should have to endure.

“You just can’t have money and fix the structures on the perimeters of the Capital city. But the only time you want to show up in this district, the only time you want to show up at this forum and be sitting at the table [is] when it’s time for votes, but you don’t do anything with this situation,” she said.

Max Kothari, the local business owner of Star Hardware at 2995 Main St, said that his business has been flooded at least four times. He said that every time he reaches out to MDC, the answer he receives is that it is too complicated for them and that the water cannot be mixed with the river, which leads to water not being able to go out.

“Our business gets completely destroyed when we get flooded. That means our neighborhood, our businesses, and more importantly, our houses get backed up with sewage and we are supposed to be OK with it. That’s just not kosher … people higher up have to find a way to get some answers. We’ve been living like this … [in] our businesses, we walk in sewage cleanup, we cannot get flood insurance [for] this,” he said.

Blumenthal thanked the residents and business owners for sharing their stories and said that anyone hearing the stories cannot help being outraged and angry about what they have lived through.

“It isn’t just one storm, one flood, or one sewer to back up. It is many, many of them. I can’t speak for the EPA. [They are] part of the executive branch. They report to President Biden. I don’t appoint the head of the EPA, we control the purse strings in the United States Congress, and as a delegation. I am sure that we will go to work to make sure that the EPA takes an interest.”

He also said that he will also make sure that the MDC, state Department of Energy, Environmental Protection, and others come together, as they need to hear and see what the residents have experienced.

“It is about justice. I don’t have a magic solution today. But I’m certainly going to continue listening. I can pledge to you that we’re gonna take back this information. At the end of the day, this is an issue of environmental justice …” he said.

Blumenthal also said that Congress recently passed the Infrastructure and Jobs Act, which is more than $1 trillion for the whole country, the first of its kind that they have passed.

He said that fixing the sewage and flooding issues is the kind of endeavor that should be supported, as it involves environmental protection, public health, communities, and their fabric and strength, and ultimately, justice.

“I’m going to make sure that Hartford gets its fair share, and the North End of Hartford is taken into account,” he said.

In response to the residents’ stories, DiBella said that the MDC has spent $2 billion for the last five to 10 years on separating the sewers.

“Unfortunately, the way that it goes down is, it’s a question of the river and everything else in the environmental issue is DEEP and we have programs to deal with. It’s a dollars and cents thing. We don’t have a system in this country that’s been built for the storm … in 2021, where we got a 200-year storm, a 100-year storm, and a 50-year storm in the same week,” he said.

He said that the bottom line is that the system is only built for a 10-year storm.

DiBella said the MDC is separating the sewers in the North End and starting the process in Blue Hills.

“The big problem is we’ve got to get to an outflow, which is Park River. The city and MDC are doing a study on that. But we’re moving forward on the separation system, but it’s not a 10-year or five-year program. The integrated plan is going to run out probably almost 20 years or 25 years. We can’t spend that much money in that short of time,” he said.

DiBella also said that even if the MDC were to receive funding from the federal government, it could not be done any faster.

“No, we don’t get a lot of money. We’re not getting money from the federal government. That’s one of the issues. We’re getting money from the MDC customers and from DEEP. We’ve spent $1.7 billion of ratepayers’ money on this project and we’ve spent $800 million. So $1.7 billion from MDC’s customers and $800 million for the state. It’s significantly low,” he said.

Source Credit: Deidre Montague, Hartford Courant, January 17, 2023.

COVID-19 Crisis CT – Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

The SBA is offering  disaster assistance in the form of forgivable loans through their Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) that authorizes up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses to pay their employees during this COVID-19 crisis.

Starting April 3, 2020, small business owners and sole proprietors may apply for and receive loans to cover their payroll and other specific expenses through existing SBA lenders.

Starting April 10, 2020, independent contractors and self-employed individuals may apply for and receive loans to cover their payroll and other certain expenses through existing SBA lenders.

Further details may be viewed on the Metro Hartford Alliance website and a Q&A fact sheet regarding this program is located at

In Our Midst: The Principal Baker (40-Year Anniversary)


Resource Credit: Scotts’ Bakery

A stylish nonagenarian, George Scott, owner of Hartford’s premier Jamaican bakery, sports handsome good looks, a full head of white hair, and an intermittently functioning hearing aid that requires a guest to speak up. Scott himself speaks quietly, his Jamaican cadences singsongy but precise. Asked what year he was born, he grins.

“You will have to figure it out,” he says. “Subtract ninety-one from wherever we are now.”

Scotts’ Jamaican Bakery, which he and his wife, Pauline, opened 40 years ago this November, has grown from a mom-and-pop operation into a business with 50 employees and $3 million in annual sales. In the living room of his family’s Windsor home, Scott sits surrounded by mementos of a life divided into two halves — his long stint as a meat-patty maven in Hartford, and the earlier part, in Jamaica, where he was a teacher and headmaster.

He talks about his childhood outside 1930s Kingston, where his father worked in the tax office. “We lived in an old house raised up on brick columns. I spent a lot of time beneath the house, exploring.” Scott recalls traipsing into the woods with a slingshot to hunt birds, and taking the electric tram along Red Hills Road to school. A standout student, he landed as an apprentice teacher at Knox College, a Presbyterian high school founded by a Scottish minister. After four years he went to St. Andrew’s University in Scotland, to study psychology and philosophy.

The courses he took in Scotland have faded, but not the adventures he had there. Working on a farm. Hitchhiking around the country. Making a solo canoe trip up the River Ness and into the Loch, where he looked for the monster. At the close of the academic year, graduating students would hold a cèilidh — a party with Scottish dancing — and the men would wear kilts. “The tradition was that they didn’t wear anything under their kilts.” Scott chuckles. “I wore underpants, of course. I wasn’t that risqué.”

After four years Scott returned to Knox College to teach, and eventually rose to become principal. By then he had married Pauline — a former student — and begun a family. But education salaries in Jamaica were paltry; and so, at nearly 50, he embarked upon a new life in another country.

He had no training as a baker, but food had always loomed large. During his childhood, his mother started a business making guava jams, cooked over a fire in the yard. “They were made in an open copper pot, and there was a Jamaican woman who would mix it with a big wooden paddle. My mother would be inside, and the woman would yell, ‘Missus! Missus! It ready! It ready!’ And mother would go chasing out to test it.” The Scott house was filled with bottled jams for his mother’s startup. “The memories of that are very vivid. You weren’t afraid of starting something new.”

The new thing Scott and his wife started in 1978 helped put four children through college. They run the business now, and Scott spends his days relaxing and reading. A lifelong love of poetry persists. Pauline and the Scotts’ daughter Rachel, home for a visit, produce a sheaf of poems Scott wrote, back in the early 1960s. The former teacher recalls his habit of reading poetry out loud in class. “Some poems, you have to read them aloud, with feeling,” he says. “I was good at that.”

Rachel Scott laughs. “Do you know why my parents are together? My father was substitute teaching our mother’s English class, and he read poetry. My mother was just 15, but she turned to her friend and said, ‘I’m going to marry that man.’ And that’s what happened! So when Daddy says he’s good at reading poetry, he’s really good at it!”

The principal-baker smiles, recalling a life perfectly balanced between feeding people’s minds and feeding their stomachs. “One of my students, I’ll never forget — there was a poem by an English poet, and I read it in a poetry class. And years later, when he was in college, he came across it, and vividly remembered it. That was what I enjoyed about teaching. You strike a chord, and a student remembers it years and years afterward.”

As for meat patties, the passion remains there as well. “A patty and a coca bread is as filling a lunch as you could want. I love the taste.” Scott twinkles sheepishly. “The doctor says I’m not supposed to eat them — but whenever Pauline and I go out for a drive, I say, let’s stop and get one. And we do.”

Artists Collective Needs Firm Hand, Fiscal Plan


Dollie McLean is a passionate, admired, inspirational soul. Together with her husband, Jackie, she turned a remarkable idea into a state-of-the-art facility, the Artists Collective, on Hartford’s Albany Avenue in 1999. But, the nonprofit’s new headquarters was doomed from the start.

It took the Artists Collective funders 20 years to realize the organization was undercapitalized, lacking experienced administrators and existing without a fundraising strategy — a perfect recipe for failure. But now, help should be paramount, starting with proper and strong governance from the board of directors.

To turn this valuable asset around and support the incredible outcomes it can achieve, the board should be firm in asserting its duty of care, requiring a reassessment of the purpose, operational plan and feasibility of the organization including, most important, a financial projection on revenue generation that goes beyond “If you build it they will come.”

Millions of dollars are being requested by the Collective, dollars that could be used more effectively by other organizations with equally remarkable ideas and appropriate strategies and operational acumen. In order for the Artists Collective to prove its case, it needs to focus not only on its historical program success, but on its business plan for sustainability, specifically philanthropy.

A nonprofit must have a balanced strategy for philanthropy, to ensure it can weather the economic, social and political storms that are sure to arrive. This balance is designed through policy and through professional leadership. If an organization’s executive director doesn’t have the expertise, then a professional needs to be hired.

Contributions from individuals, starting with the board and some invaluable high profile alumni and supporters, are paramount. Relying on corporate and government funding as the sole development plan is a death knell.

As early as 2003, the industry was sounding the alarm to the more than 1.5 million nonprofits in the US: seek individual giving for sustainability. Nonprofits must identify individuals who find their purpose and mission valuable and then prove their worthiness for support. Stewarding those donors is essential to a nonprofit’s success. This means personally inviting them to visit the organization (please, no letters), showing them the accomplishments and demonstrating that the administration can be trusted to perform in a fiscally prudent way. That is the key to philanthropic sustainability.

Funders begin to balk when nonprofits hit the rocks. The hard truth is no one wants to fund a sinking ship no matter how remarkable it is, which is one reason to avoid crisis campaigns for donations. It’s like telling potential donors, “I need a year’s worth of mortgage payments because I bought a house that was too big for my budget, and even though it’s a temporary fix, I’d like you to consider giving me money for it anyway. I’ll figure out how to keep it funded later.”

Instead, the strategy for a turnaround is to develop a solid and justified business plan with financial models showing what is possible with donor support, when it can be realized and who will be in place to lead it.

I believe in the Artists Collective. I think the founders’ idea is remarkable but the organization needs help. Fortunately, the Hartford region has a broad pool of qualified executive directors, experienced board members and successful consultants to guide and bring the Collective back to a stable financial base and become the whole and balanced asset the region needs.

To read the full story, click here:

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MDC Offers Free Water Testing After Albany Avenue Residents Raise Concerns At Meeting

Metropolitan District CEO Scott Jellison told worried residents and business owners at a Hartford business association meeting Thursday morning that their water is safe despite concerns about corroded pipes.

Their concerns stemmed from significant flooding at Lisa Vivian’s business at 980 Albany Ave. and a corroded piece of pipe brought to the meeting by resident Alburn Montague.

Vivian said she had never had a sewer problem until a backup left four feet of contaminated water in her building’s basement after the MDC was doing work outside her building. She said she spent $40,000 to hire a contractor, who determined the problem was created by MDC.

“You have no idea what my family has been through in the last eight months,” Vivian said.

Jellison said it was the first time he had heard about the issue but MDC would go to the business and investigate.

“When we have members of this organization who declare that they will no longer use the MDC water because they are starting to doubt the quality of the water that’s the big picture here today,” business association member Ellsworth Cross said during the meeting. “After seeing the pipe that came from Mr. Montague’s service, in their mind, they’re thinking that this is symptomatic of the network.”

Jellison said the pipe wasn’t a fair representation of the MDC because it was found on private property.

Jellison was one of at least four MDC representatives who attended Thursday morning’s Upper Albany Merchants Association meeting. Earlier this week, four members of the merchants association asked Jellison and MDC chair William DiBella to attend their meeting and address the neighborhood concerns, showing them photos of Montogue’s corroded pipe.

The nearly 40 residents and business owners who attended wanted to know who is responsible for maintaining the water and sewer pipes and how they could find out about underground issues that could affect their drinking water. They also wanted to know if problems could be addressed by the state Department of Transportation through an ongoing streetscape improvement project now underway in the neighborhood.

Jellison said repeatedly during the 90-minute question-and-answer session — which grew heated at times — that the MDC has assessed all its water mains and that the one in the upper Albany Avenue area is not slated for upgrade until at least 2038.

Jellison said the MDC tests its water “more than 200 times daily” across its member towns but added that residents with concerns about the water from their faucets may have testing done by MDC for free. Jellison offered to go to a number of residents’ homes to test the water quality, but warned that problems with pipes on private property are the property owner’s responsibility, not MDC’s.

“If there’s a water quality problem within a piece of property most likely its because the property has piping, copper or lead piping inside the property and [it] is not the responsibility of the MDC to go into private property and replace that infrastructure,’’ he said.

In addition to the MDC, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin and representatives from the state Department of Public Health and the state Department of Transportation attended the meeting.

“You have our assurance that we will participate in looking into this issue,” said the DPH’s LInda Ferraro.

To read this story, click here.

Albany Avenue Merchant Expands Internationally

lyslogoUAMS Merchant, Love Your Style, LLC is expanding outside the United States.  Starting January 2015, Love Your Style, LLC will be hosting cosmetic seminars and expos in Jamaica in efforts to increase her exposure.  Love Your Style, LLC is a cosmetics retailer that was launched in 2013 by Hulet Purchas which focuses on lipstick, blush, foundation and other mineral beauty products.

You can learn more about the business by visiting her website at

Clean Water Project Stakeholders Feedback Meeting

Construction activity for the Metropolitan District’s (MDC) Clean Water Project will be starting
again this spring in the Upper Albany area of Hartford. Due to the number of projects taking
place in close proximity to one another, traffic patterns – including detours, delays and street
closures – will be carefully planned in advance to minimize the impact on residents and
businesses while allowing the construction work to progress.

provide your feedback and learn how you can stay informed during this construction season.

Date: Thursday, March 10, 2011

Time: 9:00 AM Presentation

Light refreshments served

Location: Community Health Services

500 Albany Ave, Hartford