Whether you embraced a pivot, decided to go for it and start your first business, or thrived through the continued challenges of this year, you are a success.

We’re proud of our IDH community of dreamers and doers, innovators and inventors, executives and entrepreneurs, founders and franchisers, contractors and covidpreneurs. (Who knew back in 2020 that we’d coin the term “covidpreneur?”)

IDH wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for all of you. Together, we’ve come a long way. And we’ll keep going.

2021 Highlights

  • Shared close to 100 unique feature stories plus features about local incubators, accelerators, initiatives, resources, and events
  • Introduced IDH UNWIND (outdoor, in-person, low-key networking)

IDH also hosted a three-part webinar series in 2021:

Surviving: Keeping the Lights On
“You can’t focus too much on the end goal,” noted Afterglow Studio Owner Jane Krantz. “It’s more about the journey, meeting people, connecting with people, learning new skills, and growing through it.”

Illuminating: Thriving Through Uncertainty
“As an entrepreneur, you have to understand failure when it happens, put it in the past, and move forward,” advised Brenda Mierzejewski, CEO of Mizzi Cosmetics.

Shining Brighter: Innovating, Expanding, Growing
“My mission is so big and so impactful, how silly of me to think I’m the only one who can be involved in this. If I’m not willing to let that go, I’m potentially robbing potential from the business and potentially the impact we can make in the community,” said Meredith Messenger, Founder and CEO of InsureGood.

We hope you continue to collaborate, connect, and create with us. Let us know if you have story ideas and consider contributing a blog about your entrepreneurial experiences.

Impactful Innovators & Engaging Entrepreneurs

Below, advice and lessons learned from some 2021 feature stories:

“From an entrepreneur standpoint, the world is going to throw obstacles at you–whether it’s a COVID-19 situation or anything else. To survive, you have to have thick skin and a Plan A, a Plan B, and a Plan C at all times” says WORK IT! Founder Lori Theriault.

READ MORE: Career and Life Strategist Helps Students and Adults Figure Out Their What Next?

“As a startup or especially as a first-time founder, it’s important to have the right community or network around you,” emphasizes Peer Robotics CEO and Co-Founder Rishabh Agarwal. “Because when you’re starting, it can be a very lonely journey when you’re still trying to figure out different approaches and the right way to do things.”

READ MORE: Indian Robotics Startup Finds a Home in Hartford

“Building your network is necessary. You can’t do it alone. You have to have your foundation and Hartford has a great foundation for that,” says Big Up Brew Founder Jermaine Frazer-Phillips.

READ MORE: Specialty Coffee Startup Aims to Diversify The Food And Beverage Industry

“My advice is don’t be afraid. Fear is the biggest enemy—and the what ifs. What if they don’t like it? What if it’s too much risk? You just have to go for it,” advises Laurie Erickson of Chef Laurie LLC.

READ MORE: Chef Laurie Recreates Her Business in CT

“For anybody even remotely thinking about getting into business for themselves, I would tell them just to do it,” suggests Sassy Black Yarns Founder Lakisher Hurst. “You never know what’s going to happen. And even if you fail, that just means that you learned a whole bunch of lessons for your next venture.”

READ MORE: CT Covidpreneur Opens Online Yarn Shop

“For the most part, your business should be meeting a need or filling a gap and your passion should be aligned with solving that need for people and providing value, whether it’s through a product and or service,” advises Raicheen Blanks, Founder of The Worthonomics Company.

READ MORE: CT Entrepreneur Helps Women Manage Their Worth

“My advice for new entrepreneurs is to continue to push forward. There will be times when you feel like giving up but don’t,” recommends Ital Creations Owner Audrene Dias.

READ MORE: CT Skin Care Startup Ital Creations

“When you have authenticity and you connect to your mission, other people connect to it, too,” says Fostering the Community President and CEO Jennifer Fell. “The doors open because people want to help and they want to support you.”

READ MORE: CT Nonprofit Startup Fostering the Community

We look forward to sharing more of your stories and making more connections in 2022!