Gov. Malloy: Small Business Express Program has Supported 1,500 Companies to Expand and Create Jobs
(HARTFORD, CT) - Governor Dannel P. Malloy, joined by Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) Commissioner Catherine Smith, today announced that the state's Small Business Express Program (EXP) has reached a new milestone. With an economic toolkit the state did not have prior to the Governor's administration, more than 1,500 Connecticut companies have been supported by the program, helping create and retain over 22,000 jobs.
Governor Malloy announced the milestone at Square 9 Softworks, a rapidly growing and leading developer of innovative business software that is based in New Haven and received assistance through the Governor's signature job creation program.
"Connecticut needs to support its businesses, and Small Business Express was one of the first programs we launched to do just that. We know that small businesses are the engine of our economy. This program has no doubt been an effective tool in supporting those companies that call Connecticut home," Governor Malloy said. "This is a milestone to celebrate, and so is the economic toolkit that we created and cultivated over the past several years - one that Connecticut has never had prior. Yet, in our economic reality, we know there is more to do."
Created as part of a bipartisan jobs bill in 2011, EXP has been a popular and effective program to assist Connecticut's small business community. Administered by DECD, EXP provides small business with access to capital, job training, and encourages private investment and hiring. The program supports the retention and growth of small business in Connecticut using a streamlined process that provides financial assistance in the form of revolving loan funds, job creation incentives and matching grants.
To date, DECD has awarded more than $232 million through EXP to help 1,505 small businesses - ranging from "mom and pop" stores to advanced manufacturing firms - create or retain 22,498 jobs.
"EXP was created with companies just like Square 9 in mind. Entrepreneurs looking to grow their business - invest here in Connecticut and put Connecticut residents to work, and that's exactly what it has been doing the past four plus years," DECD Commissioner Smith said. "Surveys have confirmed just how well the program is working, and how well the program is run. Applicants remain very satisfied with the process and would recommend to fellow businesses. Although we're proud of those results, DECD continues to look for ways to improve the program."
"The EXP program was essential to our continued growth," Stephen Young, President and CEO of Square 9, said. "By providing us with access to capital for the expansion of our facilities, we were able to focus our resources towards job growth. This positioned us to win a North American distribution agreement with Konica Minolta that will perpetuate the cycle of growth by creating at least 30 new positions in 2016."
Founded in New Haven in 2001, Square 9 started as a division of InfiNet Business Systems until it was incorporated separately in 2006. The company, one of the fastest growing software companies in Connecticut, is headquartered in New Haven and has offices in Indianapolis and Irvine, California. Having outgrown its location at 129 Church Street, Square 9 moved to a bigger facility on the same street, tripling in size with plans to hire more employees this year.
Square 9 received a $300,000 loan and $100,000 matching grant through EXP to make renovations and purchase equipment. The company has committed to retaining 33 current positions and creating 12 new jobs.