Connecticut entrepreneurs share wisdom and advice about their entrepreneurial experiences—successes, failures, and lessons learned. Your entrepreneurial experience inspires and encourages others.
CT Entrepreneur Focuses on Making Impact
“If you’re a startup, as we all know, you’ve got 9,000 fish to fry. It can be overwhelming to add becoming B Corp certified into the mix, but it’s a huge part of a business strategy and a marketing strategy,” says Publish Your Purpose Founder and CEO Jenn T. Grace.
CT Entrepreneur Creates Safe Spaces For Black And Brown People
“If I reinvent myself, that doesn’t mean I’m failing—I’m learning lessons and figuring out how to move forward and get back in alignment,” says serial entrepreneur Sasha Allen Walton, who is Editor-in-Chief of Northend Agent’s Newspaper and Founder of Sasha’s Whole Earth and Bird’s Eye Media.
CT Entrepreneur Integrates Arts, Media, And Technology
“Setting up your business for success is not just getting a client and selling a product or service. It’s really everything before, during, and after that. It’s learning how to protect your legacy,” explains serial entrepreneur Michael-Charles Nahounou.
CT Graphic Designer Enjoys Her Path to Entrepreneurship
“I tell people starting out to ask a lot of questions and lead with curiosity. It’s the best way to learn. And, in some way, it’s going to widen your world,” advises Firebrick Design Creative Director Pam Howard.
INGroup Creative Makes Strides IN Connecticut’s Small Business Community
“I’m passionate about helping entrepreneurs and small business owners find creative ways to market and grow their businesses within an ever-changing marketplace. When they succeed, I succeed,” says INGroup Creative Owner Jeannette Punsoni Dardenne
Local Entrepreneurs Lean Into Challenges, Celebrate Accomplishments
Undoubtedly, the past two-plus years have been a roller coaster for some, with unexpected highs and lows. IDH checked in with some local entrepreneurs to learn about their proudest accomplishments in the last year.
FinTech Entrepreneur Provides Insight and Lessons Learned
“I’ve had many failures in my life. That’s the only reason why I’ve been able to figure out how to solve certain problems. Failure is absolutely necessary. And if you don’t accept that, you won’t be able to move forward and be successful as an entrepreneur,” emphasizes iMAGROW Co-Founder Anthony De Almeida.
CT Compost Collection Company Blue Earth Compost
“As far as like a-ha moments, one I had recently is that there are no silver bullets as much as I’ve looked for them. Nothing is an easy path. Everything takes time, money, and human capital. You just have to be willing to take risks,” shares Guru of Marketing & Business Expansion Samuel King.
A Human Approach to Defining Innovation
Throughout the pandemic, Innovation specialist and Chief Innovation & Strategy Coach at Inspiring Next Dr. Ripi Singh seized the opportunity to share valuable information by launching a series of books and delving deeper into the exploration of human-to-human innovation.
Meet The New Executive Director at CTNext
“If we can come together, have some big and small experiments, see what Connecticut needs, and continue to build and iterate much like entrepreneurs do, I think we’ll be in a very good space,” says CTNext Executive Director Onyeka Obiocha.
Trip Sanders Encourages Entrepreneurial Experiences
“What I love about entrepreneurship is that it doesn’t know age, gender, or race. It just knows hustle and passion,” notes serial entrepreneur Trip Sanders, Entrepreneurship and Career Development Professor at Quinnipiac University.
From Photojournalist to Successful Business Owner
“Get involved with networking groups like your local chamber of commerce or Business Network International (BNI). They provide great opportunities to connect with local business owners,” advises Connecticut Headshots Founder Seshu Badrinath.
Local Entrepreneur Helps Strengthen Others
“There’s enough room in any given market for more than one provider or style, so just think for yourself and be open to the idea that you have something unique to offer. Understand best practices, but don’t feel bound by them if you have a fresh idea. Try it,” advises Aronson Consulting, LLC Founder Amanda Aronson.
Supporting the Hartford Region’s Small Businesses Community
“The SBC is a champion for small businesses. Our main focus is to support small businesses with the service and support they need to launch and thrive,” says The Small Business Collective (SBC) Founder & Principal Annisa Teich.
Avon Prime Meats Talks Small Business Values
“We are very committed to our local community. We like being a small local business that supports other small businesses in our town and our community,” says Avon Prime Meats General Manager Rocio Olivares.
CT Marketing Agency Mission 4 Media
“Build a culture and an environment that people love and they will ultimately work harder and give your business the respect that it deserves,” says Mission 4 Media CEO James Furman.
Meet reSET’s New Impact Program Coordinator Nichole Hawkins
reSET Impact Program Coordinator Nichole Hawkins talks about risk taking, what she brings to her new position, and the importance of providing others with access to resources.
Entrepreneurs See The Bright Side Even In Challenging Times
Connecticut entrepreneurs share silver linings, discoveries, takeaways, and lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.
CT Entrepreneur Helps Others Become Effective, Empathetic Leaders
“When downtimes like COVID-19 come, that’s the time to reinvent or have that transformation,” explains Emerge Leadership Academy Founder Maureen Ross Gemme.
Chef Laurie Recreates Her Business in CT
“My advice is don’t be afraid. Fear is the biggest enemy—and the what ifs. What if they don’t like it? What if it’s too much risk? You just have to go for it,” advises Laurie Erickson of Chef Laurie LLC.
CT Small Business Provides Custom Tailored Wardrobes
“I had a really great mentor who always told me: The minute you get out of your comfort zone is when you get to the next level in your business. We’ve found that’s true,” says Costanzo Clothing Co-Founder Tara Costanzo.
Dr. Lisa Wisniewski Rethinks Networking
"There are plenty of free resources that I don’t know if everybody’s tapping into. All you have to do is show up and be open to conversations," advises Dr. Lisa Wisniewski.
CT Law Firm Is Innovative And Entrepreneurial
“The flexibility, the sense of responsibility, and the pride I take in owning a business is something I value tremendously,” says attorney and business partner Peter Billings of BBB Attorneys.
Creative Entrepreneur Helps Brand and Market Other Entrepreneurs
“Network, befriend people, exchange favors, support each other. That’s where you’ll find the tools appropriate for you and your business,” advises Jasleni Brito of Jasleni Art & Design.
Boundless Entrepreneurship and Innovation
“I think there’s a common misconception that you have to be working for yourself to be an entrepreneur or to be innovative and I disagree with that, as someone who works at a Fortune 500 company within human resources (HR) and gets to be entrepreneurial every single day,” says entrepreneur Nick Wagner Sr.
CT Doctorpreneur Provides Innovative Healthcare Solution
What does the term “doctorpreneur” mean to 4 Elements Direct Primary Care Founder Dr. Vasanth Kainkaryam? “I’m a doctor first, businessman second,” he explains.
CT Entrepreneur Finds Balance in Her Body of Work
“Having a team helps me do the thing I want to do most, which is working with my clients, “says Sharon Sklar of Sharon Sklar Rolfing.
Local Law Group Mentors Startups, Supports Small Businesses
"Find something you’re willing to put your blood, sweat, and tears into,” advises attorney and entrepreneur Justin Marti of Marti Law Group.
CT Strategist, Futurist, And Culturepreneur Andréa Hawkins
“I strongly believe that if your strategic plan and your culture reflects DE&I, it improves everything you do—you’ll serve your customers better and you’ll be seen as a contributor to the community,” says Leading Culture Solutions Founding Partner Andréa Hawkins.
CT Entrepreneur Acknowledges Every Small Victory with Her Growing Group Therapy Practice
“In some ways, being a therapist drives my style and my philosophy as an entrepreneur,” says Small Victories Wellness Services Founder Dr. Carrissa Phipps.
Meet Commercial, Editorial, and Lifestyle Photographer Nicole Bedard
“Identify who you want to work with and start locally by finding businesses and people that fit into that area of interest. Then start building those relationships,” advises Nicole Bedard of Nicole Bedard Photography.
Career and Life Strategist Helps Students and Adults Figure Out Their What Next?
“From an entrepreneur standpoint, the world is going to throw obstacles at you–whether it’s a COVID-19 situation or anything else. To survive, you have to have thick skin and a Plan A, a Plan B, and a Plan C at all times,” says WORK IT! Founder Lori Theriault.
JuiceBar Manufactures Innovative EV Charging Stations in CT
JuiceBar provides electric vehicle charging stations in more than 1,000 locations throughout the United States and Canada. Vice President Sales Paul Young shares about how the company has been innovating and evolving in Connecticut for more than a decade.
Multipreneur Loves His Community in Connecticut
“This whole elusive life balance of work, family, fun, spiritual life, growth, and education is achievable for us here in Connecticut,” says multipreneur Michael Shelby.
From Small Business Advisor to Small Business Owner
“It’s been a great opportunity to work with small business owners who are entrepreneurs just starting their businesses,” says Signarama Vernon, CT President/Owner Matt Busey.
Small Business Community Contributor Tagliarini Chiropractic
“Above all, choosing a good community is really important. And I highly recommend taking every effort to get knit into the community along the way,” emphasizes Tagliarini Chiropractic Co-Founder Jessica Tagliarini.
Entrepreneur Evolves Successful Lifestyle Brand
“My advice to any entrepreneur would be to get that social proof and presell your product because I don’t think it’s worth your time, money, or energy to work on a product people aren’t willing to buy,” advises House of Noa Founder and CEO Elizabeth Granados.
Entrepreneur Coach Provides Tools for Women Business Owners
“I knew I wanted to help women in business and I knew the best way I could teach them was through my own experience,” says Beth Bolton of Beth Bolton Consulting.
Hartford Entrepreneur Tony Ramos
In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, The Hartford Chamber of Commerce is highlighting local Hispanic business owners and community drivers. Learn more about entrepreneur, music lover, and Hartford South End resident Tony Ramos, Founder of My Life Your Entertainment.
Hartford Business Owner Thrives Amidst Uncertain Times
“I’ve learned that business ownership takes time. It’s a career. It’s a struggle to have your own business but I’ve learned how to grind it through and try to come out positive,” says Jerry Fornarelli, owner of Rocking Horse Saloon, The Russian Lady, and The Tavern Downtown.
Creating Positive Opportunities for Youth in Hartford
“I hope to continue to do things like this to enhance the vibrancy of our entrepreneurial community, which I think is needed more now than ever to activate economic mobility,” explains social entrepreneur and visionary leader Anthony G. Barrett.
Meet Hartford-Based Performing Arts and Commercial Photographer Bill Morgan
“I see a lot of fun here in Hartford and a lot of opportunities here for photography,” says Bill Morgan of Bill Morgan Media.
Entrepreneur Combines Mental and Physical Health and Fitness
“Entrepreneurs like to create our dreams. We want to see ideas we have in our minds come to life—whether it succeeds or fails, whether it make us money or not, we just enjoy the process,” explains Against All Odds Owner Tyrek Pratt.
Why I Became an Entrepreneur
"I wholeheartedly love assisting creatives and entrepreneurs to unfold their vision through visual storytelling," explains LMG Photography Founder Leslie M. Gomez.
Hartford Is the Right Place and Space for Entrepreneur Mark Nisbett
"In search of identifying where I could provide the most value, I decided that I needed to create my own seat," explains People, Places & Spaces CEO Mark Nisbett. "That was when I began an exciting entrepreneurial path to start my own company."
Fitness Center Owner Leads with Courage and Grace
“Being a small business owner is learning to be adaptable and figure it out as you go,” says Grit and Gratitude Owner Rachel Black Graves.
Hartford Entrepreneur Enjoys Business Growth in the City
"Being an entrepreneur, you’re always thinking what you can do next or what is the next big missed opportunity," says Capital Spirits Owber Ankit Harpaldas.
Meet Entrepreneur and Etiquette Expert Karen Thomas
“We’re all dealing with this uncertainty together. During this time, I think it’s so important to be a little kinder to one another,” emphasizes Karen Thomas of Karen Thomas Etiquette.
Meet Techstars New Managing Director Laila Partridge
"Hartford is a unique city in terms of its commitment from the startup community, government, corporate, the universities, and a host of other people committed to investing in and developing that innovation community," says Laila Partridge, Managing Director of the STANLEY + Techstars Accelerator.
Serial Entrepreneur on Batteries, Balance, and Building a Global Business in Connecticut
Dr. Christina Lampe-Önnerud, CEO and Founder of Cadenza Innovation talks to Connecticut Innovations her experience running a global business in Connecticut.
Cloud Company CEO Embraces Hartford’s Opportunities
“I was born and raised in Hartford. It is the city that educated, nurtured, and embraced me. I have attempted to live a life of service giving back to the city I love,” says Cloud Company CEO Sanford Cloud, Jr.
ChangeInc Founder Sees Hartford Thriving
"I see Hartford thriving as we continue to build and develop our city into a cultural and business professional mainstay," says ChangeInc CEO Derrick C. Gibbs, Jr.
CT Entrepreneur Makes an Impact Through Consulting and Mentoring
Tracy Allen is a mentor, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. She launched TVA Consulting to help nonprofits and social entrepreneurs.
Artwurks Unlimited Owner Sees a Great Future for Hartford
"Hartford has a great future. Under the right leadership, this city will continue to thrive and elevate our youth in ways that will consistently make all Hartford residents proud," says Artwurks Unlimited Owner Judah Makonnen
CT Healthcare Services Company Provides Innovative Solutions
Physicians Ancillary Systems CEO Carl Tyler shares about his cutting-edge healthcare services company.
Small Business Owner Transitions into Entrepreneur Coaching
Beth Bolton is taking her years of entrepreneurial experience and launching a new consulting business, where she will focus on coaching and mentoring early-stage entrepreneurs.
Local Chef Enters Global Market, Brings CT Message to Ghana
Why did Lillard R. Lewis Jr. (aka Chef Jay) travel to Ghana to talk about business opportunities in Connecticut? “I wanted to connect the two communities that had helped make me an international business owner and enabled me to travel around the world and talk about it,” he says.
Meet reSET’s New Program Director Shane Chase
Shane Chase joined reSET as Program Director in summer 2019. He recently spoke about his move to Hartford and what’s on the horizon at reSET.
Building an Authentic Hartford
Pedro Bermudez, founder of Revisionist Films and co-founder of Small State Great Beer, speaks about creating opportunities in Hartford and where he sees the future of the city.
Innovative Technology Company Provides Electron Microscopy
“I grew up in Connecticut. I’m a UConn alum. So, my preference is to keep my company in Connecticut and be part of the revitalization,” says Electron Microscopy Innovative Technologies co-founder Neal Magdefrau.
Connecticut-Raised Entrepreneur Empowers Youth
Connecticut native Alexa Curtis created a following from a fashion blog she began at a young age, which she transitioned into a mental health platform called Life Unfiltered with Alexa Curtis.
Meet Entrepreneurial Business Coach Gina Johnson
“I follow the principal of only working with people you love,” says entrepreneurial business coach Gina Johnson. “I fall in love with my clients, not my business model, because my business model or my services could change.”
UConn Grad Leads His Family-Founded Business Forward
Miroslav Grajewski is Vice President at Zuvic, Carr and Associates shared spoke about his experience transitioning into his family-owned business and honing his entrepreneurial skills.
InnovateCT Promotes Innovation in CT Through Education
“We need to foster the entire ecosystem of education and continuous learning, which will then help drive innovation. This will help Connecticut attract and retain talent, which is what the businesses here need to thrive and grow,” says InnovateCT Founder Nick Wagner.
CT Serial Entrepreneur Shares Experience, Tips, and Advice
“As a startup and as an entrepreneur, you will fail a ton. But you can use those experiences to learn and push yourself further or avoid those mistakes in the future—and hopefully help the other entrepreneur avoid those same mistakes,” says Design Swell Co-Founder Jeremy Szechenyi.
Hartford-Based Social Enterprise Encourages Young Entrepreneurs
“I do a lot of work with youth in the community as a teacher and mentor. I was always fascinated by the number of students who said they want to start their own business after high school. But most youth have no idea what to do to make that happen. So, I thought: There’s an opportunity here,” says Alice Margie Turner, Founder of URISE and Urban Tekk.
Serial Entrepreneur Helps Build Scientific Startups
"That’s my job—to take this nascent science and technology and create robust science that can serve the world. It starts with a great idea," says Azitra CEO Richard Andrews.
Entrepreneur Co-Founds Business Advisory Startup
“What [being an entrepreneur] means to me is the opportunity to make something out of nothing. It’s a great outlet for creativity,” says E Circle Marketing Cofounder Mike Keiser.
CT Entrepreneur Shares Updates About Successful IT Company
We Care Computers Owner Avi Smith-Rapaport, shared about what’s kept his company successful for more than a decade and why it’s always important to keep things simple.
Connecticut Mentor Encourages Entrepreneurship
“The goal is to build entrepreneurial communities, and then we mentor and provide support for those communities. By helping people succeed, the communities become bigger and stronger,” says Dave Menard.
Entrepreneur Runs Successful Hartford-Based Tech Company
Tech to Us Founder & CEO Guy Citarella about the company’s evolution and future plans.
Entrepreneurship and Innovation Thriving in Northeast Connecticut
"I see significant and impactful connections being made here in Connecticut," says Nerac President Kevin Bouley.
Building and Rebuilding Your Business
Entrepreneurial insight from Kitchen & Bath Design + Construction Owner Lorey Cavanaugh. “I learned that you’ve got to keep your head up and put one foot in front of the other. If you keep making the next right decision, there is a plan, it’s going to unfold, and you’re going to be okay. I guess that’s how I approach the business.
A Conversation with MetroHartford Alliance President and CEO David Griggs
“There's an opportunity to take on globally leading sectors and let more of the world know who we are,” said MetroHartford Alliance President & CEO David Griggs.
iDevices Founder Talks Leadership and Innovation
Serial entrepreneur Chris Allen grew a simple idea for an iPhone-compatible product into a multi-million-dollar Connecticut-based company.
CT Entrepreneur Shares Updates and Hiring Tips
Mizzi Cosmetics Founder Brenda Mierzejewski provides some advice for business owners or people thinking starting their own businesses.
CT Architectural Photographer Embraces Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurial advice from Heather Conley of Heather Conley Photography: “I can’t stress enough: Learn the business of your business.”
Young Entrepreneur Becomes Baking Success
Read about Taste By Spellbound Founder Miriam Rieder’s journey from a young girl who loved cake decorating to a successful small business owner.
Author, Educator, and Entrepreneur Co-Founds Speak Up
“I do think of myself as an entrepreneur,” says Speak Up Co-Founder Matthew Dicks. “I’m always looking for that next thing.”
Entrepreneur Uses Healthcare Navigation Book to Launch Startup
“There is a lot of noise when you’re starting a business. I think it’s hard to figure out how to focus. You need to focus very clearly on the right next step, otherwise you can dilute yourself and you won’t get where you need to go. That discipline is hard because there’s so much to do and you have to figure out what are the steps,” says Randi Oster, Co-Founder and President of Help Me Health.
Hartford Startup Provides Innovative Benefits Solution
“We’re excited about all of the positive things that are happening in Hartford right now. There is an energy here that resonates with us as a company and contributes to our growth and overall success,” says Meghan Martinez, Vice President of Hartford-based BlueBack Advisors.
Real Art Ways Drives Hartford’s Alternative Arts Community
“I can’t imagine what Hartford would be like if Real Art Ways wasn’t here,” says Executive Director Will K. Wilkins.
CT CEO Shares Updates About Growing Tech Company
Control Station, Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer Dennis Nash talks about starting and growing the company.
Entrepreneur at Heart Creates Entrepreneurial Opportunities in Connecticut
Nerac, Inc. President and CEO Kevin Bouley is deeply committed to fostering entrepreneurs in Connecticut by building relationships and making connections.