Governor Dannel P. Malloy and Rep. Themis Klarides today announced that an Orange-based business is among five Connecticut small businesses that have qualified for $1,020,000 through the state’s Small Business Express Program (EXP). EXP is Governor Malloy’s signature small business program that was created as a part of the bi-partisan Jobs Bill passed during last year’s Special Session.
Nature’s First, Inc. of Orange is a manufacturer of food products sold in health food stores and supermarkets including Whole Foods, Stop and Shop, and other major regional chains. The company will retain four and create two new jobs as ownership leverages an investment of $370,000 with a Job Creation Incentive Loan of $100,000 and a Matching Grant of $100,000. The funding will support the import of powder and juice pulp from India to its domestic manufacturing facility.
“From entrepreneurs creating cutting edge products in emerging industries to business leaders looking to expand long-standing companies, EXP is a program that demonstrates the state’s commitment to Connecticut’s small companies and their role in creating and protecting the jobs that will strengthen our economy,” said Governor Malloy.
In total, EXP will provide $100 million to help the state’s small businesses hire more employees and fund capital investments. The program, administered by the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), offers loans and matching grants to Connecticut companies with fewer than 50 employees at the time of application.
“Helping small businesses grow strong roots here in Connecticut, and in this region in particular, fueled my decision last fall to support an expanded menu of assistance options available to employers,” said Representative Themis Klarides. “Government can’t create private sector jobs, but it can certainly help create a climate where they can bloom. These types of state investments in our business community go a long way toward accomplishing that goal.”