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Monroe Means Business Focuses On the Economy

Elected officials and members of the business community attended this year's event.

Twelve exhibitors promoted their businesses at tables and elected officials were prominent among those attending the 10th annual Monroe Means Business at The Waterview Thursday night, but a lower turnout seemed to reflect the nation's sputtering economy.

"It's down a little bit," said Lee Hossler, chairman of the Monroe Economic Development Commission, which sponsors the event. "I think it's because of the uncertainty with the election."

However, Hossler still believed it was a good turnout overall.

Monroe Means Business was also held on the same night when incumbent Joseph Biden and Paul Ryan faced off in the nationally televised Vice Presidential Debate.

Catherine Smith, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, was the featured speaker.

Among those attending Monroe Means Business were First Selectman Steve Vavrek, State Rep. DebraLee Hovey, Land Use Dir. Scott Schatzlein, Zoning Enforcement Officer Joseph Chapman and several members of the EDC, Planning & Zoning Commission and Town Council.

Some members of the business community included John Kimball, Bernie Sippin and Remo Tartaglia.

Every speaker focused on the economy.

Vavrek said, "Guess what? The economy isn't just bad in Monroe, it's across the state with all the taxes and regulations we have in Connecticut. The one good thing we have is the speaker here tonight."

The Monroe EDC and Chamber of Commerce have done a lot, but must continue to do even more, according to Vavrek.

The first selectman used three glasses of water to illustrate his point that people have to stay positive and do things better. The tallest glass was half full. Vavrek said there is networking as he poured water from a smaller glass into it. And Facebook and linked in, he added, pouring more water from another glass.

"There are things you can do to make a half filled glass overflowing, but we have to be positive," Vavrek said. "We don't have to make a mouse trap, we have to make it better."

Investing in Small Businesses

When Catherine Smith spoke, she told the audience about ways she and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy are trying to jump start business growth and job creation in Connecticut.

"We have a great state," Smith said. "The governor and I came back from a trip to China. Remarkably, Connecticut has a place in Chinese knowledge, because of our educational institutions. let's think about the things that are really working in this state and how to make them better."

Smith said it's critical to educate people to come out of school with the skills state companies are looking for. The three most vibrant sectors of Connecticut's economy is medical, insurance and advanced manufacturing and aerospace, according to Smith.

The state ranks fifth in the nation in the number of scientists and engineers, she said. Connecticut companies also do well in exports with strong relationships with Canada and northern Europe.

While the government itself cannot create jobs, Smith said it can promote a positive environment for economic growth.

She went on to speak briefly about a number of state programs. Among them were, First Five, assisting projects that create 200 jobs within two years; the Small Business Express, a short-term program with $100 million available to lend to small businesses at a time when banks are holding back; and Step Up, which subsidizes training for companies that decide not to hold off on hiring new employees.

Department of Economic and Community Development also offers technical assistance.

"The strategy is pretty simple," Smith said. "What's working? What's not working? What do we need to build upon and fill in the gaps."

The Exhibitors

The following are all of the businesses and organizations leasing a table at this year's Monroe Means Business:

  • Newtown Savings Bank
  • Connecticut Basement Systems
  • Efficient Lighting & Maintenance
  • Lexco Security Systems
  • Wells Fargo
  • Monroe Chamber of Commerce
  • Main Street Family Chiropractic Center/Dr. Sharon Weicman
  • Atherton & Associates
  • Edward Jones Investing
  • Kimball Group
  • People's United Bank
  • The Waterview
Herman M October 12, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Irony - the anti-business P&Z attends a meeting to promote business. Meanwhile, the First Selectman, who supports the anti-business agenda of the P&Z, speaks at the event. It's just one convoluted mess.
D. Sickles October 12, 2012 at 04:17 PM
How about if Monroe's elected officials start to actually support our local business owners. I just don't get why the first selectman and his planning and zoning counsel are so against business.
Steve Kirsch October 12, 2012 at 05:08 PM
"The Monroe EDC and Chamber of Commerce have done a lot, but must continue to do even more, according to Vavrek." So does that mean that he will now support a professional EDC director? Something he has not wanted to fund in the past. Will he increase the EDC budget and give them more of what they ask for at budget time?
Ernest October 12, 2012 at 05:27 PM
No kidding--- then he invites the right hand woman of the guy completely killing jobs - Malloy - to speak. Just crazy
Blanca Herrera-Rodrigues October 12, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Anyone Interested in Starting their own Business should look into this program offered nearby: Enroll Now! Classes begin October 30, 2012 Workshop In Business Opportunities (WIBO) WIBO's mission is to enable small business owners and budding entrepreneurs from underserved communities to obtain financial success by starting, operating, and building successful businesses that develop economic power, provide jobs and improve communities. WIBO Facts: IMPACT: Since 1966, WIBO has developed over 15,000 entrepreneurs resulting in the creation of 31,500 jobs. Economic Development: Over 54% of WIBO graduates are in business after 5 years, compared to the national average of 20%. The Course: How to Build a Growing Profitable Business has been conducted at 28 locations in 8 states. Over 15,000 individuals have graduated from WIBO workshops and an estimated half of them are operating successful businesses today. Who should enroll? Do you have a talent or an idea? This course can help you learn to turn your talents and ideas into dollars and more earned income for your family. Participants will learn how to… • Lay the Foundation for Success • Get the Facts • Identify Your Target Market • Promote Your Business • Search for Customers • Help People Buy/sales • Make a Profit/pricing • Invest in People/human resources • Finance Your Business Growth • Control costs and taxes • Assure Lasting Success Contact Blanca Herrera-Rodrigues at 203-368-5529
dennis barnett October 23, 2012 at 04:58 PM
I guess it would be a small turn out if they don't invite all businesses. I have a small business here and knew nothing about a chance to learn about helpful programs or ideas. I guess I don't pay enough taxes to get invited to an event that might help me figure a way to help grow this economy

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