Success Stories

Aetheria Relaxation Spa

In 2002, at age 30, Elizabeth McCarthy experienced what she calls a mid-life crisis. “I wanted to be in control of my own success or failure,” she said.  This Alabama native thought of herself as a “natural-born entrepreneur” and decided to take time off from her corporate life to consider all her possibilities.

At that time, she had a few friends who were working as massage therapists. She thought that her self-described Zen personality might be a good fit for massage therapy so she decided to give it a try and enrolled in the Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy in Westport, CT.

After becoming certified in 2003, Elizabeth gravitated toward working at the newly opened Aetheria Relaxation Spa  in New Canaan, CT, early in 2004—she liked Aetheria’s mission “to deliver exceptional service and promote a healthy, balanced lifestyle through the use of organic skin and body care products,” as initiated by the spa’s founder, Katy Ingulli.

“Our philosophies were... Read More

Lovely Cakes

Renata Papadopoulos is the owner of Lovely Cakes, a full service specialty cake company located in Stratford, Connecticut.  Originally from Brazil, Renata now resides in Norwalk, Connecticut.  Operating for over 10 years, Lovely Cakes services banquet halls, restaurants and private clients, creating beautiful custom cakes for all occasions – especially weddings. 


In 2005, Renata decided to start her own business when her desire to bake was reignited by creating birthday cakes for her three children. She attended the French Culinary Institute to perfect her baking and decorating skills, but realized she would need more assistance if she wanted to build a successful business. In 2013, Renata first sought the help from the Women’s Business Development Council (WBDC).


Already utilizing a rented commercial kitchen facility, Renata dreamed of owning a facility that she could use both for her baking and to supplement her income stream by renting space to... Read More

Jonal Laboratories

Jonal Laboratories Inc., a family owned, Meriden CT based company celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015. Jonal considers itself the best company in the world at supplying seals to its aerospace partners. Jonal competes on top quality, on-time delivery, technical excellence and unmatched customer service. Jonal truly epitomizes what it means to be a partner striving to add the most value to the shared supply chain.

Jonal Laboratories has increased exports in a technically demanding industry as a small business, relying almost exclusively on a non-retail, custom-part driven model.  Jonal currently ships to 14 countries with an increasing trend line. The Japanese market is Jonal’s top export country; its continual growth demonstrates their ability to meet evolving customer-based needs. Furthermore, their success is the result of years of hard-focused work. It took almost 50 years of business decisions to get to a point where the for the last 40 years, this family-owned... Read More

Chapman Manufacturing - Woman Owned Small Business

Tracy Cammasar is a woman with a vision, and a love for her country. Her life experiences have given her the opportunity to learn the industry of manufacturing from start to finish.  As nearly every company she previously worked for has either been outsourced, gone bankrupt or simply closed. Over the past few decades the manufacturing industry has been plagued with restructuring, economic issues and out sourcing.  Cammasar’s journey at Chapman Manufacturing began in 2010 when she was hired as an administrator.  Chapman Manufacturing is a company that has been in business for 80 years, the founder John Chapman manufactured precision midget ratchet and screwdriver bit sets.  What was immediately apparent to Cammasar was that there was a 3 month backlog for orders due to the lack of inventory on many parts. 

Most of the machinery was outdated and in various stages of disrepair. Being the true agent of change that she is she got busy ordering machinery to be repaired,... Read More