Entrepreneurs are characterized by independence. As Felicia Jordan, founder of startup Live Like a Lotus said, “As entrepreneurs, it’s up to us to follow what we feel in our hearts and what we are meant to do.”
That independence enables entrepreneurs to see things in new, innovative ways—and take action. “A true entrepreneur really looks at things with a different lens,” Susan Schaefer, Founder and Owner of Launch Career Coaching explained. “When other people are enjoying an experience, you’re always seeing opportunities.”
And, according to Be Real Culture Founder Bernadette Bolton, “Entrepreneurs are people with big, creative thoughts who want to make a difference. They have a little more vision, initiative, and verve.”
CONNECTICUT ENTREPRENEURS CONNECT
One challenge for entrepreneurs—particularly solopreneurs—can be isolation.
Connecticut entrepreneur and Goodwin College Founding President Mark Scheinberg, described the emotion: “When you’re doing something like this, when you’re doing something entrepreneurially, it is very isolating. You’re constantly questioning and re-questioning what you’re doing, because by its very definition it’s something that hasn’t been done before.”
Nerac, Inc. President and CEO Kevin Bouley echoes that sentiment. He said, “As an entrepreneur it’s hard enough but being on your own makes it extraordinarily difficult. Being around other entrepreneurs, others who are facing the same types of challenges that you are, provides you with an opportunity to bounce ideas off other people who are in a space and place and might be able to offer some guidance and assistance.”
Coworking can play an important role in helping entrepreneurs feel less isolated. As David McKee, Co-Founder of Harford-based Central Row Co-Working Space noted, “Working in a dynamic community with a range of people and businesses enhances an individual’s output. The experience is infinitely more rewarding than working in an isolated environment.”
As a longtime entrepreneur, We Care Computers Owner Avi Smith-Rapaport emphasized the importance of connecting with others. “Being an entrepreneur can be hard, you have to be able to accept the challenges and work through them. Having a support structure is enormous.”
Solstice Strategy Partners Co-Founder Delanea Davis, reiterated that statement. She said, “Having a community of other business owners to lean on is key because no one can support an entrepreneur like other entrepreneurs who have been through the highs and lows.”
The key is finding and connecting with other entrepreneurs. And that happens here in the Hartford area. Not only do entrepreneurs find support, they also inspire others.
As Kim Bishop, Executive Director of Hartford Young Professional and Entrepreneurs (HYPE) noted, “What I enjoy most is being passionate about Hartford, sharing that passion, inspiring that passion in others, and then seeing them go out and inspire other people to be passionate about it too.”
VDOMKR Co-Founder Matt McCawley can attest to that. “The culture and sense of community among startups is contagious and inspiring,” he said.
Inspiration plays a meaningful role in the entrepreneurial journey of Moreau Designs Founder Jennifer Moreau, who said, “I enjoy making connections and meeting other women who are going through, further along in, or just starting out in their journey. We can learn a lot and inspire each other.”
HARTFORD ENCOURAGES ENTREPRENEURISM
The entrepreneurial ecosystem in Greater Hartford is thriving, and many entrepreneurs and organizations support it.
“The people who work, play and start businesses in the Hartford region are passionate, innovative, and entrepreneurial,” said Brian Boyer, Vice President of Communications, Marketing, and Media and Public Relations at the MetroHartford Alliance.
“There is a group of dedicated people who believe in making the Hartford region a place that encourages entrepreneurism,” emphasized Ira Yellen, Founder and President of iNeedHomecareNowTM.
As a newer startup that took participated in the 2018 reSET Impact Accelerator, FieldOwler Co-Founder Mark Barry noted, “Being a part of the Connecticut entrepreneurial ecosystem is very important to me.”
Samuel King, Guru of Marketing and Business Development at Blue Earth Compost, is glad his startup is a part of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Greater Hartford. “We see ourselves as part of an emerging entrepreneur community in Hartford that is working really hard toward an economic renaissance in the city,” he said.
CareerPath Mobile Managing Partner Ben Grinnell has a startup that participated in the 2017 reSET Impact Accelerator. One of his takeaways from the experience led him to comment, “I’m glad Connecticut has recognized the entrepreneurial ecosystem can provide growth, jobs, and a positive business climate for the state. Will it help? Absolutely.”