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Gov. Lamont announces new state website to help people start a businesses

The service aims at streamlining transations between the government and businesses as well as making information easier to access
Credit: FOX61
Gov. Ned Lamont

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Gov. Lamont announced the launch of business.ct.gov, which is a one-stop-shop for businesses, looking to start or grow a businesses in Connecticut. The new digital service aims at making it easier for Connecticut businesses to find information, start a new business, and complete transactions with the state government.

Lamont said his mantra was "No more in line, go online," in pushing for the site to bring together the information required by various state agencies in one place. 

The site will streamline a potential business owners experience. 

Connecticut's Chief Operating Officer Josh Geballe said from March to June this year, even at the height of the pandemic, several hundred new businesses were started in the state including 200 personal services companies, and 176 e-commerce companies. 

The state is also working on launching a similar site as a citizen center in the fall. 

Amber Cancelieri, a hair stylist from Essex who started her own business as an in home hair stylist this spring, said she was consulted about her experience in setting up her business. She said the new site would have made the process easier. 

Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said since every agency needs something different, the technology makes this happen easier. Merrill's office has to register new businesses in the state. 

Attorney General William Tong's office encouraged the use of the site saying, 

Government Imposter scams can take many forms and can target individuals and businesses alike. In one of the more common schemes, scammers mail a solicitation or send an email to business to “advise” them that they must purchase certain products or forms, or file particular reports in order to be in compliance with the law. The scammers then offer to assist businesses with satisfying these requirements in exchange for a fee.

Scammers are careful to design their mailings to resemble official government documents by incorporating elements such as seals, bar codes, and references to statutes and regulations. The mailings may include terms such as “IMPORTANT,” “OPEN IMMEDIATELY,” or “TIME SENSITIVE” to create a false sense of urgency. Businesses which fall prey to these tactics will end up paying significant fees for services they either do not need, or could take care of themselves for much less money.

These types of scams can pose another risk. Some scammers also ask business owners to authorize the scammers to act on their behalf with government agencies. With the authorization in hand, scammers have been known to submit filings to create the appearance that they own or control the business, to open bank accounts in the business’s name but under the scammers’ control, or to borrow money purportedly on the business’ behalf.

Yesterday, the Hartford announced a $1 million commitment in grant money to help support small businesses across the United States. The insurance company is teaming up with non-profit Main Street America to sponsor grants ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 to help businesses affected by COVID-19. The money will cover things like improvements to technology and other operational adjustments.

The Hartford says only about half of the small businesses that applied for federal aid received money, so it’s hoping these grants will help.

“What we're hearing during this current pandemic is actually quite inspiring. We are finding a lot of small business owners working very hard to innovate and change their operating models, and what you find is they are pulling out all the stops to try to keep their businesses going,” said Steve Jones, Chief Marketing Officer for the Small Commercial Division at The Hartford.

Jones says that’s why The Hartford feels it’s so important to support those businesses.

Eligible businesses will have 20 employees or fewer and maintain a brick-and-mortar presence. Half the grants will go to diverse-owned businesses.

For more information and application qualifications, visit here