Success Stories

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Façade Improvement Grant Program

The Façade Improvement Program is one of the tools Economic Development uses to fight blight in New Haven neighborhoods, to stimulate economic growth, promote welfare of its citizens and strengthen local communities through a combination of redevelopment and rehabilitation. In 2016, the Program reviewed 19 Façade projects with eligible grants totaling in excess of $1.0 million, leveraging $23.1 million in private investment in New Haven. Three highlights from this past year are Caffe Bravo, Bender Plumbing Supplies, and 35-39 Church Street.

Project Storefronts — Strange Ways

Alex Dakoulas could have set up his shop of carefully curated, indie accessories, retro finds and oddities in any remotely hipster-friendly neighborhood from Baltimore to Boston. The former graphics and footwear designer for Puma and Converse decided to take a chance on New Haven, with hopes that the city would take a chance on him. Dakoulas, 31, moved with his boyfriend from the Boston-area, where he lived for a decade, to New Haven last year with plans to open a physical outlet of the online business that he’d started called Strange Ways.

Real Estate Development — Downtown Crossing

The city of New Haven, Connecticut, is leveraging $36 million in federal TIGER grants to convert an urban-renewal-era highway spur into more of a pedestrian-friendly boulevard, opening up 10 acres of land in the city center for development in the process.

Small Business — Training Modules

Ugo Odukwe knows how to create applications for your mobile phone and your tablet, and now he knows how to manage his business’s finances as well. “The most important thing I learned was the financial planning,” Odukwe said, one of 30 small business owners who graduated from the city’s Small Business Academy during a ceremony at City Hall. “I learned about how to stay afloat, particularly during bad months, and the difference between just making enough to pay your bills and making a profit,” Odukwe said. “You can’t just survive; you’ve got to grow.”

Entrepreneurship — SeeClickFix

When you ask New Haven's SeeClickFix inspiration and co-founder Ben Berkowitz how he got the idea for the 8-year-old communications platform, he has a quick response. "I knew we were going to start a global platform where citizens would communicate in a way they had never done before with their government,'' said Berkowitz. "I just didn't quite know what it would eventually turn into.''

Small Contractor Development Program

Shafiq R. Abdussabur has taken the name of his business literally. Echo-Urban Pioneers, in conjunction with Giordano Construction, is pioneering a showcase project in which small businesses can get the experience of being prime contractors for a portion of work on the $40 million Strong School. The Pilot Prime Program will take a section of the building’s classrooms as part of the Small Business Initiative.

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