Greater Hartford CT entrepreneur discusses her entrepreneurship journey and the Hartford area resources that helped her prepare to launch a national business.
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Rosie Gallant is Director of Programs at reSET, a nonprofit organization working toward advancing the social enterprise sector in Connecticut by providing high-impact entrepreneurs with the resources they need to launch and grow businesses that help the common good.
In early July, Innovation Destination: Hartford met with Gallant at reSET’s Business Factory, the organization’s new location which is located in Hartford’s Parkville neighborhood. The bright, open workspace was filled with a dozen or so Hartford-area entrepreneurs.
IDH: Give us a little background.
GALLANT: I earned my Master of Business Administration in Organizational Management and Environmental Sustainability at Antioch University New England, which is an excellent and progressive program. My concentration was the triple bottom line business model, which is known as the social enterprise: people, plant, profit. The goal is to maximize a company’s benefits to society and the environment and to make a profit.
I also hold a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources Management and Engineering from the University of Connecticut and have spent time studying environmental sustainability in South America and Africa.
Prior to reSET, I consulted for several organizations to help them build strategic management plans that included social and environmental value in the business’ bottom line. I’m also a co-founder of Bentley Brewing Company in Southbridge, MA.
IDH: Any specific business interests?
GALLANT: I’m passionate about exploring different business models—understanding how to help entrepreneurs develop a business that maximizes their triple bottom line and stays true to their vision.
IDH: Tell us about reSET. How did you became involved in the organization and what does your role as Program Manager entail?
GALLANT: I was inspired by reSET founder Kate Emery—I felt she was the voice for impact-driven companies. I interviewed her for my Master’s thesis on Storytelling for Social Change. After I graduated, I reached out to Kate, who invited me in to apply for a position at reSET.
Right now I’m working on developing a more robust pipeline of social ventures. I’m also redesigning all of reSET’s programs for scale and always building partnerships with social impact-driven peers in Connecticut’s social enterprise sector and the New England region.
reSET is also developing a new program called Impact Area Think Tank, which is designed to provide space and facilitation to strengthen a specific industry, such as food, health or educational technology. We need to determine the best ways to leverage these communities.
We are convening groups or enterprises and entrepreneurs from what we call Impact Verticals and providing them the space and facilitation to work together to strengthen their sectors. For example, we’ve piloted this program with food enterprises and have convened a group of over 20 food businesses from production, manufacturing, distribution and retail that meet monthly at reSET to discuss how to strengthen Connecticut’s food sector.
IDH: Describe the type of people working here in the Business Factory.
GALLANT: Right now there are 10 ventures co-working out of the space including a robotics team, an aquaponics company and an athletic organization.
Some of our entrepreneurs have permanent desks here and can use our mailing address and storage. We also offer month-to-month space as another option. A reSET membership costs $30 a month and provides access to resources, discounts to events and access to service providers who offer free hours. Half of the $30 goes directly toward supporting social entrepreneurs involved in reSET’s program.
Our Entrepreneur in Residence, Eric Knight is also on site today. He’s usually here a few days a week. We also have a pro-bono law firm on site that provides monthly hours.
IDH: Where you see reSET in the next 10 years?
GALLANT: In the upcoming years, we will continue our mission to make Connecticut the social enterprise state and make Hartford the impact city.
We’ll also continue building an impact ecosystem based on seven connection points between entrepreneurs and the resources available to them, namely: consumers, funders and investors, city and state government, community stakeholders, the private sector, service providers, and institutions and universities.
IDH: What is the best thing about working in Connecticut?
GALLANT: Connecticut has a wealth of access to funding, culture and talent. The state is a petri dish for social entrepreneur potential.
Hartford is the epicenter of our state and I am passionate about seeing it thrive. There are so many visionaries in the city and it’s refreshing to know those people.
I feel very connected to the community in the Parkville area of Hartford. There is an awesome vibrancy in the community. The area is so culturally vibrant and diverse.
IDH: What motivates you?
GALLANT: Being a part of a vision and being part of the driven, high-performing team at reSET. Our staff is personally invested in making a massive impact.
I’m also motivated by the passion of the entrepreneurs—the people we serve [she gestures to the people sitting around us]—and making their vision a reality.
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