1. Who is eligible to benefit from International Hartford?

Any foreign born adult living in Hartford, and their children. Also, any foreign born adult living outside Hartford who has or will set up a business in Hartford.

2. Will my participation in International Hartford cost money?

Yes. We are a non-profit, so we don’t make money. We charge less than the value of our services, but most often we ask you to pay something– as a test of your seriousness and to keep you committed. If a course is marked “free” in our calendar section, and you can learn in that class without a translator, it is free. If a course is expensive, we will consider dividing that cost with you.

3. Who pays for International Hartford?

Government and philanthropic grants.

4. Who offers the small business classes?

We have many cooperating partners who offer “how to” classes: a university, non-profit lenders, government-supported organizations. We help you decide which course(s) would prepare you start your business, register you for the class, match you with the teacher’s language or arrange for translation.

5. Does getting ready to start a business take a long time?

No, if you don’t care about succeeding. Yes, if you want to succeed. In the U.S., only 1 of 10 small businesses last more than 5 years. If you want to be one of the 10% that succeed, we help you beat the odds.

6. What is market research?

Market research is the study of whether people will pay for your product or service, or whether they’re satisfied with the selection, prices and convenience they now have.

7. Is my identity or any other information I give to Inter Hartford available to the federal government?

Absolutely not. Everything you tell us is strictly confidential, including legal status. We do not discriminate, and we do not inform. If you wish, we can refer you to people or places to support you in gaining citizenship. Only with your permission would we share data with cooperating partners like schools or lenders.

8. How do I get a loan to help me start my business?

You get loans through us, not from us. It’s a 2 step process: a. We help you get your financial records in order. If you don’t have a credit history or have flaws in it, you can create or strengthen it. If you don’t keep track of your income or sources of income, we help you organize it. If some banks won’t accept you as a customer, we’ll find you one that will. This will help you get a “yes” when you ask for a loan. b. We introduce you to a non-profit lender, with more flexibility than a bank, that wants to help you start your business.

9. Once I start the business, am I on my own?

Not if you want more help. We assign you a counselor who understands your language, or a counselor with a translator, to provide continuing advice and support.

10. What are the advantages and disadvantages of starting a business?

Pros: You can exploit a market opportunity others haven’t seen, or haven’t filled adequately. You are your own boss, master of your own fate. You can be imaginative. In time, you can probably earn more building a business than by working for someone else. You can own something solid, selling or passing it to loved ones when you finish. You create jobs for relatives and friends. Cons: There’s more risk of failure, or lack of regular pay, than at a regular job. By legal means, you can limit your risk of loss, but you will still have to post some security for a loan. You will work long hours. You will think about business even when you’re not working. It will likely take years before your business is secure.