HELPING HOME BASED BUSINESSES GROW
By State Representative Marilyn Giuliano
Home based business owners are self-employed individuals who work primarily out of their homes. Many entrepreneurs in Connecticut operate a small, home based business. In fact, according to the Secretary of State’s office, over 110,000 individual entrepreneurs have registered home based businesses in Connecticut, with about 1,100 right here in the lower river valley. Home based businesses are estimated to comprise 20% of all small businesses nationally; many require less than a $5,000. start-up investment; and most – according to the Office of Advocacy Small Business Association – have high business success rates. Many skilled but displaced workers who may have been downsized out of professional employment turn their skills in the direction of home based initiatives. Ford Motor Company, Apple Computer, Mary Kay Cosmetics and Hersey Chocolate all started as home based businesses.
The challenge for government is how to leverage small business programs and resources to grow jobs and to grow the local and state economy. That’s why identifying and assisting the emergent economic engine that home based businesses provide to their local community and to the state of Connecticut is so essential in restoring our economic prosperity.
I recently hosted a home based business forum in collaboration with the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) at Old Saybrook High School. The focus of this forum was twofold:
• To disseminate information on state and federal initiatives supportive of home based business. For example, new legislation offers tax credits to investors who provide start-up capital for technology based small businesses; and many small home based businesses are eligible to access federal and state grants.
• To offer business networking opportunities to help home based companies grow.
Home based businesses present many opportunities for Connecticut. 70% of all new jobs are created by small businesses. As the smallest of small businesses, they are an engine of economic activity in challenging economic times. These are business incubators capable of creating robust micro-economies. Marketing, purchasing, web based technology, finance, research, training, and sales are but some examples of the variety and expansive range of services that home based businesses can offer. For the individual home based entrepreneur, the advantages are many. With a home based business comes a flexible schedule and the ability to save on rental and commercial office overhead costs. Time is maximized as travel and commuting are minimized. Home based businesses are good for communities, too, as they help to grow the local economy.
Identifying, nurturing and assisting regional home based businesses is one more important step in putting Connecticut back to work.
Marilyn Giuliano is the state Representative for Lyme, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook and coastal Westbrook in the Connecticut General Assembly. Rep. Giuliano welcomes your comments or questions at 800-842-1423, or at Marilyn.Giuliano@cga.ct.gov.