As Connecticut’s financial system weathers what is going to probably be essentially the most dire section of the coronavirus pandemic, an completed Hebron native helps space companies navigate the storm.
Catherine Marx, who has held numerous positions in native and state authorities and previously labored for the U.S. Commerce Division, was employed in September to go the Small Enterprise Administration’s Connecticut District Workplace as district director. The place provides her a number one position in guiding the state’s enterprise improvement efforts.
“There’s not one small enterprise that isn’t affected in such troublesome circumstances, and I’ve the distinctive alternative to do one thing optimistic,” she stated in an interview Tuesday. “I hope and know that SBA might be part of this restoration.”
Marx stated the Small Enterprise Administration was the “best-kept secret within the state,” working largely behind the scenes and out of the view of most of the people, till the federal authorities rolled out the colossal Paycheck Safety Program as a part of the Coronavirus Help, Aid, and Financial Safety Act within the spring of 2020. Since then, she stated, Connecticut’s SBA workplace has steered $6.7 billion in PPP funding to space companies.
Marx has a background in company finance, having labored on the Phoenix Life Insurance coverage Co. in Hartford earlier than changing into closely concerned in Hebron’s city authorities. She served on the Board of Selectmen, the Board of Finance, and the Planning and Zoning Fee and in 2004 went to work for then-Gov. M. Jodi Rell as director of Rell’s japanese Connecticut workplace.
Her job was to make sure that state providers and help reached the 65 communities inside her jurisdiction, whereas additionally relaying considerations from elected officers and the general public again to Hartford.
It was an particularly delicate time for the area, Marx stated, because the Pentagon was closing down the submarine base in Groton, which might have worn out hundreds of jobs. Political strain from Rell and then-U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, mixed with help from Navy higher-ups, in the end stored the bottom from being shuttered, and it stays in operation at this time.
Marx additionally took on a management position throughout the Hebron Republican City Committee, the place her duties included figuring out promising, civic-minded candidates.
“That’s how Hebron operates, getting native individuals to run for workplace,” she stated.
Within the years earlier than she joined the SBA, Marx labored for the Commerce Division’s Census Bureau. Within the run-up to the 2020 census, she oversaw outreach to state leaders, nonprofits, chambers of commerce, and different establishments, encouraging them to help the large decennial rely.
In her present job, Marx oversees an workplace whose major cost is facilitating enterprise development and growth. That always comes within the type of getting entrepreneurs entry to funding by serving to assure loans, which they may not in any other case qualify for.
The final 10 months, nevertheless, have expanded and reified the company’s mission.
“SBA is used to dealing with disasters, however these have been all the time native disasters,” Marx stated. “That is a global catastrophe.”
In the intervening time, the Small Enterprise Administration’s Connecticut department is targeted on serving to companies navigate the “second draw” of PPP cash, which was formally licensed in December.
Marx stated she’s hopeful that the administration of COVID-19 vaccines — underway in Connecticut since Dec. 14 — will assist shore up the funds of eating places, retailers, and different firms hammered by the pandemic.
She additionally praised residents who’ve struck out on their very own in latest months.
“What’s most outstanding is that entrepreneurs nonetheless get that calling to start out a small enterprise even in instances like this,” Marx stated. “That entrepreneurial spirit won’t ever die.”
Zach cowl all matters that fall beneath enterprise. His protection can embody openings and closings of native companies, developments in unemployment, particulars of developments from main firms and utilities, and investigating the affect of state politics and laws on the non-public sector. For extra updates about enterprise in north-central Connecticut, comply with Zach on Twitter: @ZachVasileJI.