Hartford Business Journal Special Editions

Doing Business In Connecticut 2015

Issue link: https://nebusinessmedia.uberflip.com/i/518124

Contents of this Issue


Page 68 of 115

2015 | Doing Business in Connecticut 69 Small Business Starting Small Connecticut's small businesses are seeing big results By David Ryan Polgar P eter Olausson is a former Yale neuroscientist turned serial entrepreneur. Always one to explore unchartered areas and constantly looking for a challenge, in 2007 he had an "itch to start something." at something turned into Super- Basket, a cross between a shopping cart and a shopping basket. Essentially, a SuperBasket is a plastic shopping basket with an elongated, ergonomic handle and wheels, allowing customers to carry the basket as they shop, or wheel it along within the store. Olausson first saw one while visiting family in Sweden, where he emigrated from in 2000. Having a basket that would alleviate arm strain and improve mobility seemed ingenious to Olausson, so he contacted its owner. He now has a license agreement to exclusively sell these baskets in North and South America, serving as founder and co-president of SuperBasket, Americas. To kick-start his business, he turned to Yale's incubator. Aer some quick success, his business ran headfirst in the 2008 crash. "No one wanted to buy anything that wasn't mission critical," said Olausson. He was, however, able to weather the storm until business started picking up again. In recent years, revenue has gone from 200k, to 600k, to $1.5 million last year. Clients for the customizable basket products include Whole Foods Market and Shaw's Supermarket. Olausson is also a partner with Impulsa, a firm focused on assist- ing startups and emerging companies. Along with Leslie Krumholz, he is the cofounder of Good Streets, a social enterprise that works with local businesses, right now in Olausson's hometown of Guilford, to improve their bonds with customers through greater outreach and better use of technology. e sense of community, which runs deep in Swedish culture, is something he hopes will translate on main streets across the country. Connecticut has approximately 326,000 small businesses employ- ing more than 714,000 people. e Small Business Administration (SBA), a common stopping ground for prospective and current entre- preneurs, prides itself on supplying business advice, access to capital, and technical assistance. Bernard M. Sweeney, director of the Connecticut District Office of the SBA, has been pleased to see a rebound of business movement since the major downturn of 2008. "I see a lot of those businesses that were le out in 2008 now getting a second look," he said. "I'm opti- mistic," he added, "that we're going to see a lot of activity." Last year, the SBA's Connecticut District Office handled $280 million worth of loans for 587 businesses, with the Small Business Express Loan contributing towards $100 million of the total. Administered by the state Sean Mackay (left), the cofounder and CEO of IsoPlexis and a 2014 graduate of the Yale School of Management, was matched with Rong Fan, an associate professor of Biomedical Engineering at Yale, by the Technology Commercializa- tion Program, jointly run by the Office of Cooperative Research and the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute. Fan devel- oped the technology behind IsoPlexis' single-cell immunoassay device. PHOTO/YALE ENTREPRENEURIAL INSTITUTE Continued on page 70 >

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Hartford Business Journal Special Editions - Doing Business In Connecticut 2015