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Curated articles for entrepreneurs, small businesses, and employers. Keep up with the latest news on local, state, and federal business trends.

Hot Off the Press

Returns Strain Retailers as Consumers Buy to Try
  • With the growth of e-commerce, customers have increasingly been “bracketing,” or purchasing the same product multiple times to test out different versions before returning most of the purchases
  • The practice can create major headaches for retailers,
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Business News Roundup, Dec. 3, 2021

A boost to oil production, the Treasury Secretary’s comments on inflation, elevated COVID-19 infections in Connecticut, and a delay to return-to-office plans at a major Hartford employer are among the top business news items this morning.

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B2C

Returns Strain Retailers as Consumers Buy to Try

  • With the growth of e-commerce, customers have increasingly been “bracketing,” or purchasing the same product multiple times to test out different versions before returning most of the purchases
  • The practice can create major headaches for retailers,
Covid-19

Jobs Growth Decelerates in November, with 210,000 Positions Added

  • U.S. economy adds 210,000 jobs in November, well below forecasts
  • Business and professional services lead job gains, while transportation and warehousing and financial activities exceed pre-pandemic workforce levels
  • National unemployment rate falls 0.4 points to 4.2 percent

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Business News Roundup, Dec. 3, 2021

A boost to oil production, the Treasury Secretary’s comments on inflation, elevated COVID-19 infections in Connecticut, and a delay to return-to-office plans at a major Hartford employer are among the top business news items this morning.

Entrepreneurship

UConn School of Business Hosting SPAC Conference Next Week

  • University of Connecticut School of Business to host half-day conference on special purpose acquisition companies
  • Event will take place on Dec. 9 in Stamford
  • SPACs have grown substantially in popularity as an alternative way for private companies to go public

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Business News Roundup, Dec. 2, 2021

The first confirmed case of the COVID-19 Omicron variant in the United States, tightened travel restrictions, an increase in jobless claims, higher venture capital investments in cryptocurrency,

Covid-19

SBA Inspector General Raises “Serious Concerns” About Improper Payments in COVID EIDL Program

  • U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General finds more than $3.6 billion in payments to potentially ineligible recipients in its COVID EIDL and emergency EIDL grant programs in 2020
  • OIG recommends strengthening its controls to make sure only eligible recipients are approved for funding
  • Previous reports from the OIG have also highlighted issues caused by a lack of controls as well as fraud risks

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Business Regulation

OSHA Extends Comment Period for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate to Jan. 19

  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration has extended comment period on emergency temporary standard on COVID-19 vaccines in the workplace by 45 days
  • Extension made to allow stakeholders additional time to review the measure and collect information
  • Implementation and enforcement of the standard has been suspended as it faces numerous court challenges

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Business News Roundup, Dec. 1, 2021

A potential acceleration of the Fed’s tapering schedule, an injunction against COVID-19 vaccine mandates at health care facilities, the impact of the Omicron variant on certain business sectors,

Blue Tech

Spring Seminars on Naval Topics Returning to UConn, URI

  • Seminar series on naval technology issues returning to University of Connecticut and University of Rhode Island starting in January
  • Intent of presenting real-world naval applications and career opportunities to engineering students
  • Presenters get a chance to connect with and recruit students

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Business News Roundup, Nov. 30, 2021

A forecast on Omicron variant disruptions, a partial blockade of a COVID-19 vaccine mandate, slower Cyber Monday sales, small retailers investing more in inventory, the need for a major shift in the movie theater business,

Competitive Strategy

Despite Labor Shortages, Few Firms Place Priority on Employee Retention

  • Poll finds just 16 percent of business leaders name employee retention as their top priority, despite labor challenges
  • Customer satisfaction and financial performance are top priorities
  • Only a tiny share of respondents say they rely on employee input in their strategic and operational decision-making

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Business News Roundup, Nov. 29, 2021

A lack of restrictions in response to a new COVID-19 variant, minimal market impact from this variant, troubles facing Connecticut cannabis entrepreneurs, and the development of an innovative new business district in Hartford are among the top business news items this morning.

Business Plan

What Changes Have Been Made to Connecticut’s Business Registration System?

  • Governor Ned Lamont and Secretary of State Denise Merrill announce updates to Connecticut’s business registration system
  • Entrepreneurs can now register a business directly through the state’s business portal at Business.CT.gov
  • Processes such as business filings can also be handled online through the portal

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SBA Accepting Public Comment on Proposed Size Standard Changes to Increase Access to Agency’s Loans

  • U.S. Small Business Administration accepting comments on proposed rule changes aimed at expanding access to its loan programs and contracting opportunities
  • One change would modify the averaging period for calculating a small business’s number of employees
  • Another modification would allow businesses to choose a longer averaging period to calculate annual revenues

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Business News Roundup, Nov. 19, 2021

Initial approval of a major social policy and environmental bill, this legislation’s impact on the deficit, support for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots, consumer plans to respond to inflation,

CT Government

SBA Lending Hits Five-Year High in Connecticut

  • Lending through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s traditional programs hits a five-year high in the 2021 fiscal year
  • The bulk of the funds provided came through the 7(a) program,
CTNext Logo
Connecticut Innovations

CTNext Extends Governor’s Innovation Fellowship Deadline to Dec. 15

  • Program to pair recent graduates with innovative Connecticut companies extends its deadline to Dec. 15
  • Governor’s Innovation Fellowship was established as a pilot program and has been extended statewide for the spring 2022 cohort
  • Participants receive benefits such as a growth-track position and a $5,000 grant,

Business News Roundup, Nov. 18, 2021

A call for an investigation into high gas prices, a proposed book tax on major corporations, the effect of major spending bills on inflation, a continued blockade of a nominee for a key post in the U.S.

Covid-19

OSHA Suspends Implementation and Enforcement of COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate, For Now

  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration awaiting further court action before taking any further implementation or enforcement steps on an emergency temporary standard regarding COVID-19 vaccinations in the workplace
  • Decision follows federal appeals court decision to uphold a temporary stay on the rule
  • Employers no longer bound to OSHA deadlines to establish the rule,
Data Analytics

Don’t Be Passive About Employee Turnover; How You Can Keep Workers From Walking Out

  • Gallup data shows that most departing employees think their company or manager could have done more to retain them
  • Checking in with employees more frequently can help clue you in to frustrations and aspirations
  • Managers can also take an active role in recognizing achievements and making workers aware of advancement opportunities

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Business News Roundup, Nov. 17, 2021

A choice of court for a decision on the COVID-19 vaccine mandate, a new deadline on the debt ceiling, stronger retail sales, and a retreat from a controversial emissions control program in Connecticut are among the top business news items this morning.

CT State Logo
COVID-19 Economy

Connecticut Economic Summit Updates Information on Speakers

  • Connecticut Economic Development Summit announces slate of speakers
  • Several government officials as well as representatives from 10 businesses or business organizations will discuss opportunities for economic development in Connecticut
  • The event takes place Dec.

Business News Roundup, Nov. 16, 2021

Calls to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a forecast on oil production, skepticism about strengthened IRS enforcement, unions’ call to expand the COVID-19 vaccine mandate to smaller employers,

Employee Management

How Can You Make Your Company a Fairer Workplace?

  • Employees who think their workplace is fair are more likely to perform better and less likely to quit
  • However, a recent poll suggests that only about one in five workplaces actually have high fairness
  • Tips on how companies can create a fairer environment

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Business News Roundup, Nov. 15, 2021

An appeals court maintains a block on a proposed COVID-19 vaccine mandate, an anticipated vote on a major social policy and environmental bill, an impending choice for the Federal Reserve chair,

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