Unfortunately, the continuing deficit issues at the Capitol have led to some harsh cuts, and CCAT didn't avoid the knife. Here's a story about the recent cut, courtesy of the New London Day.
CCAT program loses $310,000 in budget cutsPublished July 07, 2016
By Lee Howard
Day staff writer
An East Hartford small business incubator program at the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology that was used by entrepreneurs statewide has been cut in the latest round of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's budget adjustments to help keep state spending in line with revenues.
The tech incubator program, costing about $310,000 annually, had provided grants of up to $30,000 to keep down startup costs for emerging businesses.
Catherine Smith, commissioner of the state Department of Economic and Community Development, said Wednesday the cut this week was made in an effort to consolidate programs already offered by the quasi-public entrepreneurial agencies Connecticut Innovations and CTNext.
"We're having to make tough business decisions," Smith said in a phone interview.
State Rep. Diana Urban, D-North Stonington, a member of the legislature's Appropriations Committee, said Wednesday it is hard to know whether the cut is a significant loss to the small business community without having some sort of results-based accounting scorecard to measure its success.
"Do I want to see things go away (that help the small business community)? No, I don't," she said. "Is it viably redundant (with other programs)? Maybe."
Urban added that CCAT is not going away and that it's possible other programs, such as Small Business Express grants, could be used in much the same way by tech startups. The CCAT program had been used by small companies "trying to get over the hump" to develop prototypes and gain additional funding, she added.
Smith estimated the state spends between $5 million and $10 million every year on tech incubators. And CCAT, which received $620,000 in the budget six years ago and $695,644 two years ago, will still be nearly holding the line in the current budget at $694,165, including the most recent "holdbacks."
"Clearly, we believe in supporting startups, as the CCAT budget is up about 12 percent, or more than $74,000, since 2011," said Chris McClure, a Malloy spokesman. "We worked closely to identify these savings and greatly appreciate the cooperation of agencies in this process."
Karen Jarmon, a CCAT spokesman, said the cuts would have no immediate impact on incubator companies already using the agency's East Hartford offices because all of the entrepreneurs have received their grants. The offices are completely full, she added.
In 2013, CCAT had announced the opening of 10 new offices intended to offer space beyond its previous limit of 30 tech startups. The 2,500 square feet of new space was intended for offices, manufacturing laboratories, research space and meeting areas.
Locally, the University of Connecticut has a Technology Incubation Program at Avery Point in Groton, and the CURE Innovation Commons next to Pfizer Inc. in Groton also is offering space for tech startups. Susan Froshauer, executive director of CURE, said last month she is recruiting the A-100 tech incubator based in New Haven to open a satellite office at The Commons.
Stephen MacKenzie, executive director of the SouthEastern Connecticut Enterprise Region, noted that the Spark Makerspace in New London is offering up space for startups, including a commercial kitchen. He plans to apply through SeCTer to have the region develop an Innovation Zone that could spark more entrepreneurial activity, he said, pointing as well to the Foundry 66 co-working space that just opened up in Norwich at the former Norwich Bulletin building on Franklin Street.
"This is the kind of growth we want," he said of the new entrepreneurial activity in the area.