Trumbull workshop seeks to boost home-based businesses

TRUMBULL — Bratin Mukherjee can light up a room — literally.

The Vernon resident is founder and creator of Novel Lamp Theory, a start-up, home-based business that was one of about 30 such businesses represented at the workshop “Grow Your Home-Based Business.” The workshop took place Wednesday morning at Jeff Works, a new co-working space at Hawley Lane Mall.

The idea was to give owners of small, home-based businesses throughout the region, a chance to meet, build connections and learn more about such skills as marketing and getting access to funding, said Rina Bakalar, Trumbull director of economic and community development.

“We feel that home-based businesses are important part of the business community and a feeder for job growth and business growth,” she said. “And when these businesses grow, we want them to grow in Trumbull.”

All those who attended Wednesday’s event were given an opportunity to present a three-minute “elevator pitch” about their business. Mukherjee brought out a couple of his lamps — modern-looking rectangular lights that were created via 3D printing.

During his talk, he explained the benefits of creating lamps this way.

“We have the option of adaptability and customization,” Mukherjee explained.

Other businesses represented at the program included Robin Tesei of Trumbull, whose business, Angel Happiness, provides intuitive empowerment coaching. During her presentation, she said she worked in the corporate world for decades.

“I know stress,” she said.

Ultimately, she said the best thing for her was to start her own business.

“This is my absolute passion,” she said.

Other businesses represented at the workshop provided everything from insurance to education services.

In addition to the pitch session, Wednesday’s event included two panel discussions — one on marketing, branding and social media, and one on financing and grants.

Before the elevator pitches started, J.J. Oshins, chief investment officer of National Realty and Jeff Works, spoke about the importance of such events as the workshop. Jeff Works is a membership-based coworking space, where people pay $10 a month for a space that allows them the technology and amenities of working in an office and the flexibility of working at home.

“This is really why Jeff Works was created — to create a space to exchange (ideas),” Oshins said. “When you start a business, you can kind of feel like you’re on your own.”

But events such as these allow people with compatible businesses to find each other, he said, pointing to a recent event he attended at the other Jeff Works location, in New Jersey. One participant, he said, had a tax question, and sitting nearby that person was a tax consultant.

Others present included Dan Onofrio, president and CEO of Bridgeport Regional Business Council, who spoke near the beginning of the workshop.

“We are super excited to see new businesses, old businesses and start-ups all coming together through events like this,” he said.