Women entrepreneurs hailed, and helped, at the Capitol

Nancy Coffey owns KTT Enterprises, a business that cooks up latex foam products. (WTNH / Kevin Pflaumer)

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Wednesday is women-owned business day at the state capitol complex. Women entrepreneurs are growing in number in Connecticut, and the group sponsoring this day at the Capitol is one reason why.

Nancy Coffey owns KTT Enterprises, a business that cooks up latex foam products. It is becoming more common for women to own businesses like this, but women owners are still in the minority.

“It is a family business and it’s a great business to be in, but yes, it is a little strange to be a woman in manufacturing in Connecticut,” Coffey said.

She got help in running and growing KTT Enterprises from the Women’s Business Development Council, or WBDC, a group that hosted Women-Owned Business Day at the state Capitol today. The group has been around for 20 years.

“Trying to get women business owners to understand the importance of advocating for themselves today and the importance of getting trained and educated so they can grow sustainable businesses that employ not only themselves, but others and they can become viable taxpayers in the state of Connecticut,” explained Fran Pastore, the President and CEO of WBDC.

The WBDC does get funding from the state, funding that could be in danger with the huge budget deficit. Governor Dannel Malloy stopped by to warn that funding is not easy to get from the state right now.

“But we have to find ways to do as good a job as we possibly can in investing in organizations like this and others that are moving people forward,” Malloy said.

“Access to capital still remains the biggest obstacle for women,” said Pastore. “It really wasn’t until 1988 that a woman could access capital for commercial purposes without having a male co-signer.”

So the WBDC helpa female entrepreneurs get small loans. That is not something Nancy Coffey needed. Instead she has taken several different classes provided by the group, all designed to make her a more successful business entrepreneur.

“How to build a business, your social media, how to run your social media, all the different facets of running a business,” said Coffey.

The WBDC has offices in Stamford, Danbury, Derby, and Hartford. If you are interested in finding out how it can help you, click here.

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