International Hartford

Newly arrived immigrants and refugees often do better financially running their own businesses than working for someone else. Even if they have home country business experience, it helps to have native speakers available to translate their ideas and skills into their new country’s customs, laws and systems. International Hartford is here to help, for free, every step of the way.

What we have to offer

We also make referrals to other organizations which assist immigrants and refugees to overcome non-business challenges

Access to Capital

Commercial banks don’t lend to start-ups, but non-profit lenders do. We direct you to friendly lenders as well as help you succeed with your loan application.

Help writing business plans

A business plan has you think through everything you need for your startup or expansion to prosper. They’re also required for most forms of financing. International Hartford works with you to write yours.

Financial counseling

Getting the green light for a loan requires good financial record-keeping, a decent credit score, and being up to date on taxes. International Hartford helps clear up blemishes

Help with market research

How do you know consumers will buy what you plan to sell? Market research gives you answers, and how to handle your competition. International Hartford guides this analysis.

Legal organization

Any business venture means risk, but you don’t want a wrong move to get you in hot water. Legal protections can safeguard personal assets.

registration in business classes

Learn how to manage your business, apply financial accounting methods, and market it to consumers. We enroll you in the right short classes, usually free, to learn these skills.


It’s a way to test your business idea to learn if it has the potential to win customers. Sometimes clients come to us with one business concept and together, we tweak or change it to another idea where there’s less competition or greater demand.

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.

You get loans through us, not from us. It’s a 2 step process:

1.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.

2.We introduce you to a non-profit lender, with more flexibility than a bank, that wants to help you start your business.

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.

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.

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.

Yes, at least some. For example, you should incorporate your business with the State, which usually costs $120. We often recommend you take a few business skills classes at the University of Hartford, which are most often free, but the more extensive ones have a cost. (Financial aid is available on a sliding scale). To qualify for a loan, expect to invest money in the business, or persuade your family and friends to do so.

Government and philanthropic grants. We do not charge clients for our services.

University of Hartford Entrepreneurial Center, with sites in East Hartford and Hartford. Community Economic Development Fund, located in Meriden, Spanish American Merchants Association (classes in Spanish), sited in Hartford.

Yes. Time is a key resource you must invest if you want to succeed. Only 1 in 10 business startups last 5 years, so if you want to beat the odds, you must pour your heart and soul into your venture. There may be additional challenges faced by immigrants and refugees, but we help you every step of the way.

Make your Appointment today!