Success Stories

Ashley Stone - Beauty Entourage

Ashley Stone is a Hair Stylist and founder of Beauty Entourage, located in Farmington, CT. Ms. Stone began her career in the Beauty Industry 14 years ago, she has a passion for fashion, art and styling. Beauty Entourage is a company that specializes in formal styling and make-up application for formal occasions such as weddings and proms by providing hair, makeup, air brush, photo shoots, and beauty tips.

Recently Ms. Stone has met with Business Advisors Joe Waxman & Joe Barone from the Hartford SCORE Chapter for business counseling as she has experienced rapid expansion in the past few years. In the past Waxman & Barone helped her obtain a line of credit with one of SBA’s participating lenders - First Niagara Bank. She is currently seeking assistance from Farmington Bank for an 7(a) SBA Loan to further increase her capacity.

Although Beauty Entourage currently provides services in several states; New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts they’d like to expand... Read More

From Plastics to Corn and Bamboo Made Products

As the founder and CEO, Virginia P’an has a long term global vision for Yumi EcoSolutions, Inc. That is to create a healthier world now and for future generations by replacing the plastics with eco-friendly natural green products made from corn and bamboo.

In 2010,  Virginia P’an incorporated Yumi  EcoSolutions , Inc. and started the houseware and tabletop products business with her husband Albert P’an in Norwalk, CT. Yumi means  “corn” in Chinese and “beautiful” in Japanese. In July,  2012, Yumi EcoSolutions, Inc.  received the Small Business Express Loan of $250,000 with a matching grant of $100,000 from the State of Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD). Working with partners in China, P’an developed two main products of new innovative materials of corn and bamboo, that are sold now in more than a thousand retail stores in 26 states across the country and abroad.

The 1st main product line is called Yumi Return®. It is a replacement for... Read More

Heather Conley

Like millions of other business people in 2009, Heather Conley found herself fielding the brunt of the Great Recession.   As a corporate operation professional at Stanley Works, in New Britain, Connecticut for five years and another 20 in the marketing field, Conley was hit with the news of an impending layoff.    Viewing this as a chance for career reset, she reactivated a long-held desire to work for herself, skipped the usual panic, and handled the would–be crisis with a strategic plan, and unconventional implementation.

 A hint about her future surfaced after befriending a freelance commercial photographer, whom she had met at Stanley, when they collaborated on a photo shoot.    She was attracted by his creative experience and the variety of his work.  Conley, a photography enthusiast, hooked since getting her first point and shoot camera in 2005, began wondering if she could convert her hobby into a freelance career.  

Shortly after their initial conversation,... Read More

One can certainly say that Kelly Fisher is determined when it comes to taking her business - Kelly Construction Services, Inc., to the next level. Ms. Fisher started her business exactly ten years ago in Enfield, CT as a sole proprietor. Kelly Construction Services Inc. specializes in tanks, buildings, and custom construction. 

Approximately two years ago, Ms. Fisher went through the application process for 8(a) certification and her application was declined.  She did this process on her own,  as she did not work with the SBA CT District Office at that time nor was she a client of Connecticut Procurement Technical Assistance Program (CT-PTAP) yet. One of the programs rules are if a firm’s 8a application is declined, the firm can reapply but has to wait a full year before doing so.

Thus begins the complex navigation into the world of federal contracting. In February of 2015, Ms. Fisher reached out to CT-PTAP’s Nicole Melville and SBA’s CT District Office’s, Lisa Powell... Read More

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