Last week, Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced that five Connecticut small businesses in Bloomfield, Manchester, Middletown, Thompson and Torrington qualified for financial assistance through the state's new Small Business Express Program (EXP). The program was created as a part of the bipartisan Jobs Bill passed during last year's jobs special session, to encourage business expansion and job growth.

In total, EXP will provide $100 million to help the state's small businesses hire more employees and fund capital investments. The program, administered by the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), offers loans and matching grants to Connecticut companies with fewer than 50 employees at the time of application.

The two members that received funding are:

Ferazzoli Imports of New England, Inc., a Middletown importer, distributor, and fabricator of ceramic porcelain and stone, will be investing $305,000 and receiving a matching grant of $100,000. The funds will be invested in the purchase and installation of daylight-harvesting, energy-efficient lights in the company's warehouse. Ferazzoli will retain 43 jobs.

Colonial Bronze, Inc. of Torrington will invest $120,475 of company funds and a $100,000 matching grant in the development of a new product line and market. The 85 year-old manufacturer of cabinet and architectural hardware will retain 33 jobs and hire three new ones.

The other companies receiving funds are Clay Furniture Industries, Inc., a Manchester manufacturer of commercial custom laminated cabinetry, millwork, and solid surfaces; Raceway Golf Club & Restaurant, LLC of Thompson; and, Street Fleet Mechanics, LLC of Bloomfield

For more information on EXP or to apply for the program, visit the EXP website or contact Michelle Lugo at DECD at 860-270-8052 or Michelle.Lugo@ct.gov.