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The Nuts, Bolts and Tools to Start Your Own Business

The Entrepreneurial Center of Northwest Connecticut offers training and support

By Colleen Gundlach

With increasing technology and internet access, more and more people are leaving traditional jobs to pursue the dream of owning their own businesses. Going solo into a new business can be a difficult, time-consuming and expensive endeavor, but a new program at Northwestern Connecticut Community College (NCCC) makes the process a bit easier.

The Entrepreneurial Center of Northwest Connecticut opened its doors on March 15, and is helping new business owners get on their feet and emerge as their own bosses. Located on Park Place East in Winsted, just up the road from the college’s Founder’s Hall, the center offers education, training and support to new start-ups and existing businesses.

Jane Williams, the coordinator who oversees the Entrepreneurial Center’s operations, says, “Our mission is to provide businesses with opportunities to remain competitive in today’s marketplace through collaborative effort with stakeholders who are committed to advancing entrepreneurship in Northwestern Connecticut.”

The key stakeholders include government officials from local communities, Northwest Community Bank, Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), Northwest CT Chamber of Commerce, owners of start-up LLC’s and additional industry experts in finance, accounting and marketing who are eager to share their experience and passion for being in business for themselves. SCORE, in partnership with the Small Business Administration, provides mentoring and workshops to help guide people in the process of starting a business—from the first word on the business plan to setting goals for business expansion.

NCCC’s Entrepreneurial Center offers more than advice and team building, however; it also provides physical assistance. Trying to start a business from your kitchen table with pets and children clamoring for your attention is difficult, so the center offers co-working desk spaces, phones, a fax machine, a copier and a conference room complete with overhead projection capabilities, located in a building just off the town green in Winsted. Here, budding entrepreneurs can come and use the office space and equipment at no cost and get advice and support from seasoned professionals at the same time.

“We want to develop a footprint to our center,” says Williams. “Once we understand what the individual needs of each person are, then we can work on providing them assistance.” This assistance can take the form of helping to develop a business plan, learn about tax laws and human resource requirements, or many other aspects of owning a new business. “We want to be able to help people determine their next step,” she says.

The Entrepreneurial Center is open to all who have a strong drive to start their own business, whether they be college students or members of the workforce, either seasoned or new. Williams calls in industry partners who help with training development and planning pitch events for people who would like to have their business ideas vetted. When individuals register for services at the Entrepreneurial Center, they receive benefits such as access to Microsoft Office 365 and use of the NCCC library with subscription research databases and access to web-based seminars, just to mention a few of the perks available.

To set up a time to discuss how the center can boost your career and help you reach your goals, email Jane Williams at jwilliams@nwcc.edu, call 860-738-6444 or visit the website at http://www.nwcc.edu/about-nccc/entrepreneurial-center-of-northwest-connecticut.

The new Entrepreneurial Center is affiliated with the Northwestern Connecticut Community College in Winsted. Photo by Bruce Frisch.

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