Federal, state officials highlight impact of economic aid programs on CT businesses


MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has helped millions of businesses recover and thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here in Connecticut, businesses have received $7 billion to stay afloat or reopen.

On Thursday, Isabella Casillas Guzman, administrator of the U.S. SBA, made her first official visit to the state to promote the SBA’s economic aid programs. She visited Modern Apizza in New Haven to get a closer look at their programs in action.

“We kept our entire kitchen crew, management crew, everyone stayed on because the loans helped us pay them,” said William Pustari, owner of Modern Apizza. “It worked the way it was supposed to work and that was retaining employees.”

Guzman also visited the Shubert Theatre.

Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) gave us the comfort to tell our staff, we have the wherewithal to last for a long time, if a shutdown were to happen again,” said Anthony McDonald, Executive Director of the Shubert Theatre. “We wouldn’t have to reduce our staff by 75%, but we can stand our ground with our staff and say ‘we got you.'”

Her tour ended at the Meriden Sewage Treatment Plant, where she joined Governor Ned Lamont to discuss the impact of the recently approved infrastructure bill on businesses, including small and minority-owned businesses.

“We grow our economy on the backs of small business and that’s where the job opportunities are,” Lamont said.

Lamont highlighted how critical this aid has been and how important support is as recovery continues.

“We were in a pinch a year and a half ago and the SBA was a lifeline for thousands of small businesses who would not be alive today without the Small Business Administration,” Lamont said.

To learn more about the SBA and the programs available to small businesses, click here.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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