Entrepreneurs

Overview

Connecticut is teaming up with entrepreneurs, supported by a vibrant ecosystem of funders, advisers and cities/towns eager to support the development of new businesses and new technologies. We invite you to become a part of this growing community which spans an array of industry sectors — from scientists who are commercializing their discoveries to advanced manufacturers developing breakthrough processes and materials, from fintech and insurtech developers to digital media creators. Thanks to these many innovators, Connecticut truly is still revolutionary.


Key Facts
  • Many of today’s largest brands were started by entrepreneurs in Connecticut. Two such examples:
    • ESPN, which launched in Bristol in 1979 with one live broadcast.
    • Subway, which was founded in Milford, CT, in 1965 by Fred DeLuca.
  • Connecticut inventors have 51% more patents per capita than the national average. Source: National Science Foundation
  • Connecticut ranks #8 in private venture capital deals per capita in the U.S. Source: SSTI, CERC
  • Connecticut ranks #4 in the U.S. for private R&D investment per capita, #6 for academic R&D growth and #7 for state R&D investment. Source: Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc.; U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

Business Support

We’ve highlighted a few types of support that may be particularly helpful for entrepreneurs. But please explore the rest of our site to learn more about the array of tax incentives, funding opportunities and technical resources we offer for all types of businesses.

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

  • Connecticut Innovations. CI is the state’s venture capital investment arm. It should be one of the first stops for any entrepreneur — it offers financing and strategic support to early-stage, high-tech start-ups in Connecticut and to promising startups that are willing to move here.
  • Small Business Express. Connecticut’s Small Business Express Program (EXP) provides loans and grants to Connecticut’s small businesses to spur job creation and growth.
  • Bioscience Innovation Fund. This fund provides focused financial assistance to bioscience startups, early-stage businesses, nonprofits, and accredited colleges and universities.
  • Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, Inc. (CCAT) This nonprofit organization supports innovation through workshops, access to new technologies, networking, co-working and professional development programs. 
  • Crossroads Venture Group (CVG). CVG provides guidance for high-growth enterprises through the promotion of capital formation. 
  • Innovation Places. This program provides support for entrepreneurs and leaders who are developing places that will attract the talent high-growth enterprises need. Through Innovation Places grants, winning cities and towns are now receiving $30 million over a period of five years to support projects that stimulate their local innovation ecosystem.
  • VentureClash. VentureClash is Connecticut’s $5 million global venture challenge focused on supporting early-stage digital health and financial services technology (fintech) companies. Learn more about what types of companies it supports here.

TAX INCENTIVES

TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

  • CTNext. A subsidiary of Connecticut Innovations, CTNext is an innovation ecosystem offering an array of services for Connecticut entrepreneurs — including mentoring, guidance on funding opportunities, coworking spaces, connections to business advisers and much more.
  • Connecticut Entrepreneurial Mentor Cooperative. This group holds regular meetings where startups and entrepreneurs can get together to share ideas and support one another.
  • Connecticut Technology Council. This Council’s mission is to help build a community of tech innovators. This membership organization advocates for tech businesses in the development of public policy, provides professional development opportunities, and advises start-ups on how to seek funding and scale their operations.
  • Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Part of UCONN, one of the top public universities in the country, this Center provides academic and co-curricular programs for emerging entrepreneurs as well as established leaders who want to bring more innovation to their businesses and industries.
  • reSET. This nonprofit organization serves entrepreneurs who want to establish and grow social enterprises — businesses designed specifically to make a positive social impact on society. It offers co-working space as well as accelerator and mentoring programs.
  • SCORE. SCORE members are successful, retired business people who volunteer their time to assist aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners.
  • University of Hartford Entrepreneurial Center. This center provides one-on-one coaching and business training for aspiring entrepreneurs and growing small businesses.

Other Resources

The Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation also maintains a directory of other resources that provide guidance, networking and financing for Connecticut-based small businesses and entrepreneurs.