Business News & Information

Business News & Information Creates Visibility and Provides Support for Black-Owned Businesses

“Our goal is to have every Black-owned business that exists in Connecticut represented on the site—whether they’ve been in business for years or they’re just starting out,” says Founder and Co-Contributor Sarah Thompson, who is also Senior Director for Marketing Communications at The Village for Families & Children.



Westfield, MA Westfield Bank is pleased to announce the appointment of Christine Phillips as Senior Vice President, Human Resources Director. She is responsible for overseeing all aspects of human resources for Westfield Bank, including employee benefits, compensation, payroll, recruitment, employee relations, compliance, management development, and performance/talent management. 

Prior to joining Westfield Bank, Ms. Phillips was First Vice President at Peoples Bank in Holyoke, 

Massachusetts, and Executive Vice President at United Personnel in Springfield, Massachusetts. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Massachusetts and is currently enrolled in the MBA program at the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts. She is a member of the Society of Human Resources Management.

A resident of South Hadley, MA, Phillips is an elected member of the School Committee for the South Hadley Public Schools, a position she has held for the past six years. She serves as Co-President of the St. Patrick’s CYO Basketball program, and serves on the Board of Directors of Western Mass CYO Basketball.

According to James C. Hagan, President and CEO of Westfield Bank, Ms. Phillips is a crucial addition to the Bank and Western New England Bancorp. “Christine understands that Human Resources is about proactively serving people, giving them the tools they need to be productive and successful employees as they go about the work of serving our customers. Her demonstrated skill at providing people with the resources they need to be better, more effective employees will help ensure a strong, effective Westfield Bank in the years to come.”

About Westfield Bank
Westfield Bank, headquartered in Westfield, Massachusetts, is a federally chartered savings bank organized in 1853 and is the largest publicly traded bank headquartered in western Massachusetts. The Bank is a full-service community-oriented financial institution offering a complete range of commercial and retail products and services. Currently the Bank has twenty-five branch offices, fifty-two freestanding ATMs, and an additional twenty-three seasonal ATMs and serves Hampden and Hampshire counties in western Massachusetts and Hartford and Tolland counties in northern Connecticut.

Equity Match Grant Program for Women in Business

Research shows that an overwhelming majority of the more than 60,000 Connecticut businesses that secured federal loans for COVID-19 relief were male or white-owned: 78 percent were male-owned; 84 percent were white-owned; seven percent were Asian-owned; six percent were Hispanic-owned; and three percent were Black-owned. Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz, the Women’s Business Development Council, and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development today announced a new COVID-19 relief program designed to provide much-needed cash grants to women entrepreneurs disproportionately impacted by the pandemic

The Equity Match Grant Program, which will be administered by the Women’s Business Development Council through its Opportunity Fund, will aid entrepreneurs in accessing the capital needed to establish banking relationships, improve credit, and overcome challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Together, Lt. Governor Bysiewicz and Fran Pastore, CEO of the Women’s Business Development Council, raised $525,000 in funds. The State will match the funds up to $500,000, bringing the total amount of funds available in the Equity Match Grant Program to more than $1 million. 

Funds from the Equity Match Grant Program can be used to purchase critical business assets such as the personal protective equipment needed to comply with reopening guidelines, or to pivot to an online business model which will help the company increase revenue and improve its cash flow. 

Grants between $2,500 and $10,00 may be given for clearly defined projects that will have a measurable impact on the business. Applicants are required to provide a 25% match.  

To qualify to apply for an Equity Match Grant businesses should: 

  • Be a woman-owned business; 
  • Have prior participation in WBDC programs or services; 
  • Be in business with a record of sales for a minimum of one year;  
  • Be registered in Connecticut and in good standing with the state; 
  • Utilize an online or automated financial system; 
  • Have an established business-banking relationship. 

Apply for the Equity Match Grant Program here

To learn more about the Equity Match Grant Program and receive updated funder information, contact

If you have any questions or would like to reach out, don’t hesitate to email or call my office at (860) 240-0472. To stay up to date on everything I’m doing at the Capitol, please visit my web page and like my official Facebook page.

Capital Workforce Partners Awarded $10 million grant to support Connecticut Workforce & High-Tech Industry Skills Partnership (CT-WHISP).

An award of $10 million was granted to Capital Workforce Partners, on behalf of the Connecticut Workforce Development Council, from the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration, H-1B One Workforce Grant Program to support the Connecticut Workforce & High-Tech Industry Skills Partnership (CT-WHISP).

The CT Workforce & High-Tech Industry Skills Partnership will support the development and expansion of a talent pipeline of Connecticut workers in two industry sectors, including the tapping of new talent for information technology (IT) and retooling the advanced manufacturing workforce. Please find attached a summary of the project. Anticipated Outcomes: A total of 2,086 participants will be served with 499 un/under-employed individuals receiving credential-based IT training, 1,397 incumbent IT and Adv. Mfg. workers placed in upskilling
opportunities, and 190 individuals receiving On-the-Job Training supports. CT-WHISP leverages over $8.7 million (with more than $4 million in leveraged resources from business partners), and further aligns tomajor technology-based initiatives such as the Digital Talent Ecosystem Initiative. More information will be shared in the coming days.  

Mayors United Food Distribution

Every Friday, beginning October 9th through October 30th,  the Towns of Bloomfield, West Hartford and Windsor, will host a food distribution program for its residents.  Each family may receive 1 box of food. 

Distribution will be from 10:00 a.m. to 2:30 pm at the Rehobeth Church of God, 1170 Blue Hills Avenue in Bloomfield. Face masks are required. 

Hosted by the Mayors of Bloomfield, West Hartford and Windsor. For more details, visit the Town of Bloomfield website (

CT Tax Free Week 2020

Support local businesses during CT Tax Free Week, Aug. 16-Aug. 22! The event applies to items normally sold for less than $100, specifically clothing and footwear. Here is a complete list of exempt and nonexempt items.

Take advantage of savings on:
athletic socks, baseball caps, belts/suspenders/buckles, blouses. gloves, golf/polo shirts, diapers, hats/caps, jeans, rain jackets, rented uniforms, shirts, swim suits, work clothes, and much more.

Auerfarm Hosts its Annual Blueberry Jam 

Join Auerfarm on July 25th from 5:00-7:30 for its annual Blueberry Jam! The RePublic will be providing dinner and dessert. Listen to the Carroll Sisters perform as you eat your dinner. The cost per person is $40/adult and $10/child and we have availability for 80 people to dine here while socially distancing in our natural 2 acre amphitheater. You also have the choice of purchasing a “to-go” meal. If you purchase a “to-go” meal, you can log onto our Facebook page to listen to the Carroll Sisters also.

The menu for the Blueberry Jam on July 25th is as follows:
1st course: Watermelon and feta salad
2nd course: Choice of Chorizo or Salmon burger
3rd course: Blueberry crumble
Sides: French fries, street corn
Children’s menu is mac n cheese with the normal sides.
Each course comes with a choice of local beer or cider.

To reserve a seat or for any questions, please email Mark at

Bloomfield Chamber Offers Dale Carnegie Training

Topic: Leadership Considerations to Maximize Peak Employee Performance During the Reopen Virtual Training Session
  • Understand what leadership considerations need to be made to boost employee 
  • productivity when reopening the business
  • Learn how to respond to the emotional requirements of your employees 
  • Develop a people and performance management strategy for the “Post Pandemic New Normal”
  • Fill out a Re-Open checklist which will lead to developing a simple operational Plan

Seats are going quickly. Members and non-members are welcome.  Register here now!

Marketing: Staying Relevant in the time of Crisis

Minding Her Own Business: Celebrating Women of Color in Business and Entrepreneurship
A Virtual Conference

July 10, 2020

Watch the full video again!


BCC Small Business Town Hall Meeting

View our virtual Town Meeting.

Visit HERE

Virtual Conversations – Marketing: Staying Relevant in the time of Crisis

View our virtual Town Meeting.

Visit HERE

Services and Resources for Businesses in North-Central CT

“In collaboration with the Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce, Capital Workforce Partner’s Business Services team continues to offer it’s services to the Business communities in our region”.

Visit HERE

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