Paul Striebel wears many hats at the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, Inc. (CCAT), the non-profit economic development organization based in East Hartford. He’s Network Coordinator for the Connecticut Business Incubator Network and Program Administrator for the Small Business Incubator Grant Program. Striebel provided Innovation Destination: Hartford with some background about the programs CCAT manages and how they assist Greater Hartford business incubators and tech-based startups.
IDH: Tell us about the Connecticut Business Incubator Network. How did CCAT become involved and what does your role as Network Coordinator entail?
STRIEBEL: The Connecticut Business Incubator Network (CBIN) was established in 2005 as a conduit for sharing information and promoting communication among the various business incubators throughout Connecticut.
Since taking over the leadership role in 2007, the network has more than tripled in size and currently represents a total of 17 unique business development facilities.
Our mission with the network is to help promote and qualify new incubators and to ensure that the resources and services available at each facility are shared among the network participants. As such, all of the incubator managers who participate in the CBIN periodically get together to share best practices and talk about their facilities, activities and tenants.
While individual incubators cannot possibly offer all of the resources and services needed by every startup, as a whole, we do a good job of finding the appropriate support for their various needs.
IDH: What types of organizations are involved in the CBIN?
STRIEBEL: The CBIN is comprised of a group of people and facilities all with the aim of helping to start and grow new businesses. Each facility is unique; some cater strictly to technology companies and others are less focused and able to provide support to any startup that exhibits promising growth potential.
Most of the incubators have an affiliation with a local college or university and all maintain an extensive contact list of investors, business mentors, prototype facilities, accountants, patent attorneys and other service providers.
IDH: Describe the Small Business Incubator Grant Program.
STRIEBEL: The Small Business Incubator Grant Program (SBIP) was established in 2007 with the goal of helping to defray the high cost of starting a technology-based business. The SBIP program is open to any technology startup that is housed in a Connecticut incubator facility. The program is administered on a first-come, first-served basis and provides up to $30,000 in assistance in the form of a grant.
The program is administered by CCAT with funding provided by the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD).
This has been a very successful program and just one of the many resources available to companies that choose to reside in a Connecticut Business Incubator facility.
IDH: What types of businesses are eligible to receive grants?
STRIEBEL: Any promising startup technology company that is housed in a Connecticut Business Incubator facility can apply for SBIP funding. The grant is intended to be used to fund an activity that will help the company reach its next stage of development. Detailed information about the program is available on the Connecticut Business Incubator Network website.
IDH: What do you enjoy most about working with startup companies?
STRIEBEL: Obviously, the overall goal of helping to start and grow new businesses is to support long-term economic development in Connecticut. Personally, however, the real satisfaction of working with a startup is witnessing the passion, energy, creativity and drive that the entrepreneurs exhibit toward making their idea a success. It is extremely rewarding to see an idea evolve into a product and a person emerge into a successful business owner.
IDH: What is the best thing about living in the Greater Hartford region?
STRIEBEL: People tend to dwell on the negative aspects of where they live and often take for granted all of the good that surrounds them. From my perspective, few places offer as many opportunities as this region. Whether you’re interested in business, adventure, culture or entertainment, it’s all here in Connecticut…it’s revolutionary!