Nadine Francis West, The Alliance, 860-525-4451 ext. 232
Harry Freeman, HEDC, 860-549-8841
Major Steps Taken in Hartford’s Inner City Business Strategy
DECD Funds Hartford Economic Development Commission with $200,000 to Implement the Hartford Enterprise Partnership;
Patricelli Named Hartford City Champion and Chair of New Advisory Committee (HARTFORD, CONN.) – Businesses surveyed in 1999 said they wanted it. The more than 200 community leaders overseeing the research said the businesses should have it. The Governor’s Council on Economic Competitiveness and Technology agreed it would contribute to the state’s overall competitiveness, and so today, the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) has funded the Hartford Economic Development Commission (HEDC) to implement the Hartford Enterprise Partnership (HEP).
A key recommendation of the Hartford Inner City Business Strategy, HEDC has received a two-year, $200,000 grant from DECD to establish the HEP, which will be a clearinghouse for business services and information in the capital city. And Robert E. Patricelli, Chief Executive Officer of two local health care companies, is now leading the charge to support this initiative in his new role as Hartford’s City Champion. City Champions are private-sector leaders who represent their cities and the statewide inner-city business initiative on the Governor’s Council and encourage public and private officials to work together to address the needs of inner-city businesses.
“Businesses in Hartford’s inner city have made it clear that they need help in better connecting to the resources and technical assistance available in Hartford,” Patricelli said. “Working with partners from the Mayor’s Office to the City Council to the MetroHartford Regional Economic Alliance to the Hartford Economic Development Commission, we’re moving to implementation.”
HEP will be housed at the HEDC, where staff in the Small Business Development Program is becoming an important point of contact for Hartford entrepreneurs.
“First year grant funds will be used to develop a database of the city’s business service providers, giving our staff a referral source right at their fingertips,” said Harry Freeman, Executive Director of HEDC. “HEP will not duplicate any of the work being done by existing organizations. Instead, staff will work with the businesses to identify their needs, provide the necessary HEDC services, and then make referrals to other providers to meet all the client’s needs.”
“Research indicates that small and mid-sized businesses are driving the state’s economic growth, so finding better ways to meet the needs of entrepreneurs is a step toward generating that growth right here in Hartford,” said DECD Commissioner James F. Abromaitis.
– more – HEP to Streamline Hartford Business Services/2
In addition, an evaluation process to monitor an entrepreneur’s track through the new system will be created to ensure that needs are met and that clients are satisfied.
To assist in the coordination of services in Hartford, the MetroHartford Regional Economic Alliance established the Hartford Initiatives Advisory Committee to help guide the Alliance’s involvement in economic and business development activities in the city. The Committee is made up of a number of senior-level community leaders who served in the initial research effort in 1999 that recommended the creation of HEP. Patricelli chairs the Advisory Committee.
“The advisory committee plays an invaluable role for the Alliance,” said Oz Griebel, President and CEO of the Alliance. “These leaders, including Mayor Eddie Perez, will be used as a resource, a guiding force for brainstorming ideas and for implementing priorities by leveraging their relationships throughout the city.”
“As a business owner in Hartford’s inner city, I know the challenges entrepreneurs face in accessing services,” said Max Kothari of Star Hardware. “This new effort will help us save both time and money, and will ultimately improve the city’s business climate and foster growth.”
The Inner City Business Strategy, a component of the state’s Industry Cluster Initiative, uses market-based strategies to strengthen the business base in five of Connecticut’s inner cities. The goal is to increase the income, wealth and employment opportunities for inner-city residents by promoting business development. Each city – Bridgeport, Hartford, New Britain, New Haven and Waterbury – conducted an intense research effort in 1999 with inner-city businesses and residents, and has since worked to create programs to address the needs identified in the research. The efforts in each city are led by a City Champion.
Patricelli is Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Women’s Health USA and of Evolution Health. Previously, he was Founder, Chairman, President and CEO of Value Health, a NYSE company and the nation’s leading specialty managed care company. He also served in a variety of positions at Connecticut General Corporation and its successor, CIGNA Corporation, including heading CIGNA’s health care businesses. Prior to CIGNA, Bob held appointments in numerous positions in the Federal Government and served as Vice President of the Greater Hartford Process, a business-funded community development effort in Greater Hartford. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, Northeast Utilities, Curagen Corporation and Wesleyan University.
Created and overseen by the Governor’s Council on Economic Competitiveness and Technology, Connecticut’s Industry Cluster Initiative is a broad-based, private-sector driven strategy designed to improve the state’s economic competitiveness on a global level. Implemented by the Department of Economic and Community Development, the initiative both nurtures the growth of clusters to improve the competitiveness of businesses within these industries, and addresses cross-cutting business issues, including transportation and workforce. To read more about the Hartford Inner City Business Strategy, visit www.decd.org or www.YouBelongInCT.com.