Support for Small Business Owners, Startups & Entrepreneurs
Local entrepreneurs, small business owners, startups, innovators, makers, and creators, here’s a PSA:
You don’t have to go it alone.
From free business advisors to incubators and accelerators, we’re fortunate that our community is filled with plenty of resources to help you build, scale, and grow your business. As Dr. Lisa Wisniewski, assistant professor of sociology at Goodwin University says, “There are plenty of free resources that I don’t know if everybody’s tapping into. All you have to do is show up and be open to conversations.”
Find out how some people have benefitted:
“I found amazing people and several local organizations in particular. I have a great mentor system, including two SCORE mentors. I also got support from the KeyBank Key4Women program, which is a wonderful program for female entrepreneurs. Also, I always encourage business owners to reach out to the Entrepreneurial Center & Women’s Business Center at the University of Hartford.
“We were plugged into the Connecticut startup ecosystem through the Stanley+Techstars Accelerator, so we did some additional networking there. First, we established an office at the BioCT Innovation Commons in Groton. Later, we figured that the University of Connecticut Technology Incubation Program (UConn TIP) would be a good place for us to have a lab. We applied to the program and got accepted.”
“reSET is local and focused on our area. And, being an eco-conscious business, I want to connect with people who are making a difference in the world. Also, the fact that reSET is a social enterprise that supports social enterprises made a big difference for me.”
“I’m a member of the Women’s Business Development Council. One of the council members advised me to pivot into e-commerce and provide online cooking classes. I took that advice and, even though financially I took a downhill turn because I couldn’t cater, I was able to stay afloat during the pandemic.”
“Get involved with networking groups like your local chamber of commerce or Business Network International (BNI). They provide great opportunities to connect with local business owners.”
“I didn’t have a network here and I needed to build one, which Nerac, Inc. President Kevin Bouley helped me to do. I was introduced to Kevin when I wanted to get involved in the startup community as a mentor. That’s how I found XcellR8. I figured, with my involvement with XcellR8, if any startups came through where I thought I might add value, maybe there would be an opportunity.”
With the business plan, we worked with the Connecticut Small Business Development Center (CTSBDC), which was great because we got more than one person’s perspective on it. We joined the Hartford Chamber of Commerce to help make those connections and create opportunities for partnerships or collaborations. There are so many small businesses downtown, if you walk in, there’s a good chance the owner will be there.
“As I progressed in the business, I structured and blew out my business plan. I used local resources, including the University of Hartford’s Entrepreneurial Center & Women’s Business Center and SCORE.
“UConn launched/rebranded our xCITE program to be more of a hub for women in entrepreneurship where they can receive support and networking opportunities to engage with each other.”
— Jennifer Mathieu, Executive Director at the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CCEI) at the University of Connecticut.
Looking for resources? Check out:
- Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CCEI), UConn
- Connecticut Innovations
- Connecticut Small Business Development Center (CTSBDC)
- Connecticut Technology Council
- Entrepreneurial Center & Women’s Business Center (EC-WBC), University of Hartford
- Greater Hartford SCORE
- U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Connecticut
- Veteran’s Business Outreach Center
- Women’s Business Development Council