State Rep. Larry Cafero and I joined the executives and employees of JayStar Group, Inc. of Norwalk to announce the company’s approval for participation in the state’s Small Business Express Program (EXP). The initiative has helped hundreds of other Connecticut companies to grow and expand over the last two years, creating thousands of jobs in the process.
The JayStar Group, Inc. is a ten-year-old company which provides software and back office accounting, compliance, and membership management services to labor unions all across the country. With the assistance of the Small Business Express Program, JayStar aims to expand their current sixteen fulltime employees by about 50 percent.
Small businesses like the JayStar Group are at the heart of our economy, both here in Norwalk and all across Connecticut. JayStar is a particularly innovative software firm in a specialized market, and it’s great to see them expanding to take on new clients from all across the country. The Small Business Express program has been a great success these past two years, supporting thousands of jobs statewide, including over 100 right here in Norwalk. It’s been a bipartisan effort from the start, and it shows what good can come of both parties working together to get our economy going again.
“This company is just one more example of the success of the Small Business Express Program. There are tens of thousands of small businesses in Connecticut, and they employ an enormous portion of our workforce. If just a small percentage of companies took advantage of this program, as JayStar Group did, it would result in a big improvement to our economy,” said Rep. Cafero.
JayStar Group CEO Robert N. Stevenson said, “JayStar Group is immensely proud and grateful to be receiving this assistance from the State of Connecticut. This is a great program that will help us to grow our company and create many more local jobs right here in Norwalk. We thank Senator Duff and Rep. Cafero for supporting this initiative.”
Created in 2011, Small Business Express provides matching grants and deferrable or forgivable loans to Connecticut-based businesses with fewer than 100 employees. Grant and loan amounts range from $10,000 to $300,000; eligible businesses can use the funds to acquire machinery and equipment, construct facilities or make leasehold improvements, cover moving expenses, or meet working capital needs.
As of January 25, EXP has helped Connecticut companies to create or retain 7,011 jobs in fields as diverse as manufacturing, retail, financial services, hospitality and tourism, construction and healthcare. In Norwalk alone, and not including the JayStar Group, 7 companies have participated in the program, creating 38 new jobs and retaining 64 more.
Last week both legislators voted to extend the Small Business Express program by re-directing previously authorized funds from other state programs. The bill authorizes $60 million in general obligation bonds for EXP, increasing its total bond authorization by 60 percent, from $100 million to $160 million.