HARTFORD, Conn. (WWLP)– A new $150 million, multi-year initiative to invest in Connecticut businesses, with a major focus on fledgling small businesses located in communities hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, was unveiled on Thursday.
The Department of Economic and Community Development hopes the private sector will match that funding and co-invest in entrepreneurs, small businesses and start-ups, Commissioner David Lehman said. “We think there’s a real opportunity to make this initiative even larger and have the state drive it, but with a significant amount of co-investment capital from corporations and philanthropists,” Lehman said.
The state’s $150 million initiative, dubbed the Connecticut Fund, includes $75 million in state bonding and $75 million from the state’s share of federal COVID relief funds. At least half of that money will be directed to businesses owned by minorities, women, individuals with disabilities and veterans. The Connecticut Fund will provide “flexible” financial help to businesses, including grants, low-cost debt, equity and funding for training and technical assistance, Lehman said.
Besides new small businesses, funding is also planned in larger amounts for “early-stage companies” with a focus on information technology and new product development.