U.S. Rep. Esty salutes startup companies
Tuesday, August 19, 2014 7:56 AM EDT
NEW BRITAIN — During a roundtable discussion Monday at Central Connecticut State University’s Institute of Technology and Business Development, 10 startup company owners shared their successes and challenges with other incubator companies, supporters and U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-5th Dist.
Esty met with company founders working with ITBD’s Business Development Business Incubator Program. Esty asked program directors and startup founders how she can support innovation and entrepreneurship in the state.
Kevin Miles, founder of Eureka, LLC, a software company that provides transportation analytics for brokers and shippers, said a $30,000 program grant allowed him to enhance his software and attend a trade show. The challenge was that it took a year to get the grant. The proposal needed to be rewritten, which took time.
Bruce Baxter, CEO of New Britain EMS in partnership with CCSU/ITBD, said his organization, New Britain EMS Training Academy, is focused on workforce development for the emergency medical service industry. The academy has partnered with Hartford-based Capital Workforce Partners and other social service agencies.
“We work with the unemployed, giving them career opportunities with emergency medical services,” he said. “The message is we need funding to train some of our unemployed, including returning veterans, who are desperately needed to fill openings in our industry.” Esty is an advocate of co-locating start-up companies with academic institutions, building on the synergies of basic research and development. Though government money has been cut for R&D, Esty said she will continue to push for funds since “it’s critically important for Connecticut companies.” The Congresswoman said one reason she formed Congressional App Competition, the first science competition on the Congressional level, is to encourage young people to design computer apps. Esty helped draft a bill in the House to encourage STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) including computer science.
“STEM students have already come up with highly creative and marketable ideas,” she said, “like can you catch your bus on time? They tackled the problem with no money at all using other kids’ cell phones to identify whether your bus has passed your stop.” Richard C. Mullins,Jr., executive assistant to CCSU President Jack Miller, said it has been a challenge for ITBD incubator companies since the institute opened in 1993.
“It takes public and private resources for our startups to grow,” Mullins said. “None of them can do it on their own. Typically, an incubator startup is myopic. They see their own space but not the real world.” Mullins stressed that private sources are needed and thanked Paul D’Addabbo of Insurance Associates; Jarod Carey, TD Bank; John Miller, Miller Moriarty and Co. and Evan Goldstein of Updike, Kelly and Spellacy law firm, also Tim Stewart, president of the Greater New Britain-Berlin Chamber of Commerce.
“With support services we have been successful in helping businesses go from concept to physical reality,” Mullins said, and added that ITBD has hosted more than 80 business startups and seven business incubator award winners.
“Our primary goal is workforce development,” he said. “Secondary, is business starts, followed by conferencing.”
Scott Whipple can be reached at (860) 225-4601, ext. 319 or firstname.lastname@example.org