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 https://www.lisc.org/connecticut-statewide/covid-19-resources/small-business-recovery-grants/

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

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

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 https://www.metrohartford.com/wp-content/uploads/PPP-Fact-Sheet.pdf

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

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:  http://www.courant.com/opinion/op-ed/hc-op-dellaripa-artists-collective-management-20180906-story.html

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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 www.LoveYourStyleInc.com

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.

WE NEED YOUR INPUT TO ENSURE THIS PROGRAM WILL WORK FOR YOU. Please join us to
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

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