New London — Gary St. Vil is an engineer who enrolled in the Entrepreneurship Academy to start a group home, but a chef’s and a sommelier serving 16 people at one table per night. Finished planning the table.
It’s called Bon Vivant Fine Cuisine.
The Ledyard resident said that this “looks like a pivot”, but is really following another passion, and through mentoring, ideas he didn’t think were viable became possible. I realized that I have a sexuality.
St. Vil said of the Eastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce and Entrepreneur Academy partners: He said the course was like “drinking water from a fire hose,” but he went back and checked the information for each class.
Earlier this summer, the Chamber of Commerce launched an eight-week Entrepreneurship Academy. It’s a free, weekly program open to attendees ranging from aspiring business owners like St. Vil to those who own established businesses like Lashes by Lee and Progression Training.
On Friday evening, the Chamber of Commerce hosted a crowded, trade fair-style ‘demo day’ at the Thames Club, with about 15 attendees presenting their businesses and plans to other businessmen, potential investors and community members. did.
Attendees were able to vote for their favorite venture and the top three received cash prizes.
Christine Kulos says she and her husband Tim started “the other way around” but eventually launched a junk and debris removal business called T&C Recycling & Cleanouts, and the Norwichs plan to register the business soon. said. Christine is a social worker at Safe Futures, and Tim is a self-employed handyman and “jack of all trades” who already has a side job recycling scrap metal.
At the other end of the spectrum is Tai Au, who already co-owns three businesses: Mystic’s Pink Basil and Samurai Noodle Bar, and Niantic’s Spice Club. But next year she plans to start a new business offering 100% plant-based meal kits.
Oh joined the Entrepreneur Academy because he likes to improve his knowledge and learn, and he wanted more information about who to contact if he needed to invest.
Groton’s Demetria Young launched Buttacup’s, which sells herbal teas and natural products during the pandemic, and started making elderberry gummies to boost her at-risk daughter’s immune system.
Demo Day was also attended by other business owners, such as Felicia Stevens. Felicia Stevens closed her art studio next door, Drunken Her Palette, which has been in business for 12 years, earlier this year.
“We should always support local businesses and entrepreneurs,” Stevens said. said to be one of the
Other attendees included Paul Lavoie, the state’s chief manufacturing officer, and Paul Whitescarver, executive director of the Southeast Connecticut Enterprise Region.
Lavoie said there has been a 400% increase in new business starts since the pandemic, as people have become more focused on what they’re passionate about, and that his team has worked with CTNext to help entrepreneurs ” “From napkins to commercialization,” he said. Whitescarver said the sector is joining low-interest lending Connecticut Small Business He Boost his fund and will soon launch a grant program for entrepreneurs.
Mayor Michael Passero also welcomed participants. Chamber of Commerce president Tony Sheridan said Friday that the pilot program had about 42 initial sign-ups, with about 17 continuing to do so over his eight weeks.
Sheridan said earlier this summer that the program’s goal is to prevent business failure, and that future ideas will be shared at the Thames River Innovation Center, the future home of the Chamber of Commerce in New London. It is to keep the academy running.
The coordinator of the Entrepreneur Academy was Rosemary Ostfeld, professor at Wesleyan University and founder of the startup Healthy PlanEat.
The group met weekly at the New London Public Library, with each session including presentations and discussions with local business owners on topics such as identifying target markets, accessing capital, and pitching ideas. rice field.
Educators included people from SCORE’s regional chapters, Connecticut Women’s Business Development Council, CTNext, and people from Ivy’s Simply Homemade, Flock Theater, and Waterford Hotel Group also shared their experiences.