Women gather for Women-Owned Business Day in Hartford - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Women gather for Women-Owned Business Day in Hartford

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Nancy Coffy has been in business for 11 years and she makes latex foam, which is used in a lot of bedding and furniture. (WFSB) Nancy Coffy has been in business for 11 years and she makes latex foam, which is used in a lot of bedding and furniture. (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Women from across the state were in Hartford on Wednesday for Women-Owned Business Day.

The number of businesses owned by women has been growing in Connecticut, but there are still some hurdles, and that is something the Women’s Business Development Council is working on.

Nancy Coffy is not only a business owner, she’s a manufacturer, which is an industry dominated by men.

In fact, clients who call often think she’s the receptionist.

"Sometimes I get a call and they say ‘can I speak to someone about a product.’ I can tell they are not going to speak to me,” Coffy said.

She’s been in business for 11 years and she makes latex foam, which is used in a lot of bedding and furniture.

In fact, her foam was used to upholster all of the chairs in Congress.

The foam is rubber and biodegradable and is made in Connecticut.

Women business owners went to Hartford on Wednesday to learn about help that is available to start a business, and be successful.

Women-owned businesses are growing. In Connecticut there are 240 of them, creating about 575 jobs.

While women now have more access to loans, it is still a struggle.

"We know that women couldn't apply for loans until 1988 -- commercial loans without a male co-signer --- but women still have to apply four times to get a loan,” said Fran Pastore, of the Women’s Business Development Council.

"Small businesses are the life blood of this country, and women play a large role, so it’s about talking to your bank and getting advice from your bank,” said Lisa Maass, of Citizen’s Bank, which is trying to help more women get loans.

Coffy said she was nervous at first, and quickly learned “it’s a lot of work. It’s what we do here. When the phone rings, you answer it. When a truck comes, you unload it. It’s what you have to do,” Coffy said.

When you compare Connecticut to other states, a new study shows Connecticut comes in roughly about the middle of all 50 states.

While it isn’t a bad place to be, women business owners said it is proof that they need to strive for better.

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