Read success stories and lessons learned from dozens of startups in every stage from many different industries.
Kidpreneurs Promote the Power of Positivity
“For years, the boys had been building a list of all these phrases they wanted to share with the world to help people feel better about themselves. They came to us one morning in the fall of 2019 and said, we want to start a company and we want to be We Shine. I said, okay!” explains We Shine Apparel & Accessories mom and COO Jaclyn.
Handmade Body Butters Made in CT
“My business is totally e-commerce right now. When you’re an entrepreneur, you don’t always have the funding you need to open a shop. You start where you can. You have to crawl before you can walk,” says Temple Body Butter Founder and Owner June Lyons.
Lost Lands Collections Finds and Keeps Its CT Connection
Find out how female photography and styling duo Jade Soto and Marianne Bell used the pandemic as an opportunity to collaborate and launch fairytale photography and styling company Lost Lands Collections.
Reboot Eco Finds Small Business Success in CT
“I wouldn’t even begin to know how to define an entrepreneur,” admits Reboot Eco Founder Yasemin Ugurlu. “ I think it could include anyone willing to break the mold, take a risk, and pursue their dreams.”
WeHa Fit Founder Finds Passion in Helping Others Get Healthy
“I think a lot of people think they need to get everything in place before they can launch. Just go for it, figure out how to make money, and deal with the challenges as they arise,” advises WeHa Fit Owner Mike Walker.
With The Help Of Goodwin’s Entrepreneurial Program, Nutmeg Kettlecorn Plans To Open Storefront
“If you think you can plan to be fail-safe from any mistakes, then you’re truly not in business,” emphasizes Nutmeg Kettlecorn Co-Founder Robbin Jackson.
Drumroll Coffee Roasters Talks Entrepreneurial Risks and Entrepreneurial Rewards
“We wanted the focus to be on offering a selection of high-quality coffee beans rather than assuming the risk of opening a coffee shop and competing with others,” explains Drumroll Coffee Roasters Co-Owner Vincent Federici.
CT Nonprofit Startup Fostering the Community
“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.”
CT Serial Entrepreneur Offers Creative Outdoor Dining Experience
Entrepreneurial advice from serial entrepreneur Mary Leigh Enders, founder of The Picnic Project: “If you start from a place of authenticity in yourself, then you’re never compromising your joy.”
CT Couple Manufactures Innovative Teddy Bear
“You’re learning constant lessons from the moment of the idea, all the way through each stage. It takes patience and total openness about trying things and making errors to get to the finish line,” says Tooth Bear-y creator Elizabeth Carroll.
CT Entrepreneur Committed to Strengthening Organizations for Social Change
“I approach the work I do with a lot of humility, something I learned early on. It’s also part of who I am and something that I continue to uplift as I do my work,” says Moon Shadow Consulting, LLC Founder Wendy Brown Helmkamp.
Creative Content Marketers Cater to Small Business Owners
“My best advice is to just go out there and do it. Work hard, put in the time and the effort, and you will find success,” says RSP LLC Co-Owner and Chief Marketing Officer Jason Pinette.
Hartford Yoga Studio Provides Opportunities for Local Creatives
“Owning a business is always going to be stressful, so you have to let things roll off your back and remember to be grateful for what is working,” advises Afterglow Studio Owner Jane Krantz.
Storyteller’s Cottage Pivots from In-Person to Online Activities
“The Storyteller’s Cottage was originally founded to ‘Bring Literature to Life.’ When it became impossible to create in-person events based on literature, I changed course to instruct literature fans how to do so themselves,” explains The Storyteller’s Cottage Founder Lisa Natcharian.
Hartford Entrepreneur Launches Marketing and Design Startup
“I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit,” says Neck of the Woods Marketing Founder Kyle Shemanskis.
CT Gifting Company Showcases Local Small Businesses and Artisans
. “We both feel passionate about our business because we know how challenging the past year has been for all small businesses and we’ve created a new way to showcase them,” says Nutmeg + Honey Co-Founder Jordan Abbott.
CT Startup Marketing Business Wants to Help Small Businesses Succeed
"Come up with a realistic plan, set your goals, and then just do it," advises Northland Marketing Owner Bri Michaud.
CT Covidpreneur Opens Online Yarn Shop
“For anybody even remotely thinking about getting into business for themselves, I would tell them just to do it,” advises Sassy Black Yarns Founder Lakisher Hurst.
Goodwin’s ENet Program Helps Launch Successful Barbershop
“Because of the ENet entrepreneurial program at Goodwin University, I got the experience of turning the lights on for the first time in my own business,” says Look Sharp Barbershop owner Ob Lugo.
Curated CT Supports Small Businesses and Showcases Local Artisans
"The more people I meet—whether through networking or mutual friends—the more I see the Curated CT concept being embraced, which is very validating," says Founder and Owner Donald Pendagast.
CT Entrepreneur Still ROCing—and Now Smashing
“Every business I open has got to be innovative and it’s got to affect positive change in people,” says, BODYROC Fit Lab CEO and Founder Shaun Chambers, who recently co-founded Smash Avenue.
Hartford InsurTech Startup Finds Value in Community
Combined Ratio Solutions Co-Founders Michael Jones, Chief Executive Officer and Luke Magnan, Chief Operating Officer share about their experience launching an InsurTech startup and the importance of locating their business in Hartford.
CT Customer Clothier and Innovative Entrepreneur
“One thing that was really important for me before pulling the trigger and leaving my good job was the ability to look forward. I could see opportunities coming,” says Bards Clothing Founder Matthew Banever.
Hartford-Based Digital Health Startup Silver Fern Healthcare
“One of the things we love about Hartford is that it’s a very manageable city in terms of size and we’ve made some great contacts between all of our networks,” says Silver Fern Healthcare Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Colleen McGuire.
West Hartford Entrepreneur Provides Inclusive Cheerleading Opportunities
West Hartford-based CT Hart Cheer provides instructional cheerleading classes, performance team opportunities, and camps and clinics for athletes of all ages, abilities, and levels.
Student Entrepreneur and Innovator Creates Autonomous Robot for the Agriculture Industry
“Team collaboration is really important for startups,” says Land Maverick LLC Founder and CEO Emily Yale.
CT Entrepreneur Launches Sports Performance Company
Green Light Sports Performance Founder Connor Green shares about his startup experience.
Coffee and Tea Startup INI Sips Gives Back to Community
INI Sips Co-Founder Davina Ismail shares about the business evolution.
CT Entrepreneur Provides Virtual Programming for Youth
"With the pandemic and schools closing, I had to think outside the box," says Creativista Charm Founder Tia Miller.
UConn Student Founds Innovative Social Enterprise Nonprofit
"We’re looking to create sustainable impact, which includes our dollars and how we’re investing in a community," says Levo International Founder Christian Heiden.
CareerPath Mobile Helps Engage Connecticut’s Workforce
"Programs like ours that can engage people remotely have become essential," explains CareerPath Mobile Founder/CEO Richard Portelance.
Global Digital Health Startup Creates a Presence in Hartford
“I’ve learned the CEO’s role is about not just leading the team, it’s about finding the right talent to create a team to make everything happen,” says ONESOFTDIGM CEO and Co-Founder Chang Hun (Douglass) Lee.
Startup Creates Employment Opportunities for Adults with Special Needs
Find out more about SockStarz, a social enterprise novelty sock business developed by Harc, Inc. to create employment opportunities for adults with special needs.
Hartford-Based Attorney with a Social Mission
“I want to be intentional about how I’m building my business. My client load needs to be big enough to make the business sustainable, but small enough that I can achieve my mission goals in terms of what I give—and what I receive from giving,” says Isis M. Irizarry, Founder of The Law Offices of Isis M. Irizarry.
KARO Swimwear Joins Think Pop-Up in Downtown Hartford
"With KARO Swimwear, my vision was always to create a unique product," emphasizes CEO Kasia Roginska.
CT Startup Digitally Connects Volunteers to Those Who Need Services
UR Community Cares, Inc. co-founders Michelle Puzzo and M.D. Birmingham have created a charity that digitally connects volunteers to elderly and physically disabled people who are homebound.
CT Startup Aims to Bring Mindfulness to Inner City Communities
The Wellness Initiative Inc. Founder Devin McCrorey shares about his startup experience and his passion for introducing mindfulness and meditation to communities he feels need it most.
Young Entrepreneur Encourages Healthy Lifestyle in Hartford
“When I first started, people told me: It’s the wrong time to do it. You can’t open a business in Hartford. I told them: This is Hartford. Hartford has a chance. You just have to believe in Hartford enough to make change,” says Breakthrough Nutrition Founder Emanuel Morales.
16 Impact Accelerator Startups Aim to Grow Their Businesses in Hartford in 2020
Learn about the 16 startups participating in the 2020 Impact Accelerator at reSET in this writeup from CT by the Numbers.
Female Entrepreneur Turns Love of Music into Full-Time DJ Business
Qiana Coachman-Strickland (a.k.a. DJ Q Boogie) shares about how her passion developed and when she knew it was time to take the leap to launch her start up.
CT Startup Helps Small Businesses Track the Ways They’re Doing Good
"We want to help small businesses recognize that the investment they make in the community can also help drive their businesses," explains seedership co-founder Jennifer Smithberger.
CT Trio Finds Success with a Four-Way Outdoor Gaming Net
Find out how Connecticut natives Greg Meade, MikeDelpapa, and Chris Meade created the idea for CROSSNET, a unique game that merges traditional volleyball with four square.
Ali Lazowski Builds a Business in Connecticut
Bare Life founder Ali Lazowski talks about launching a startup and becoming a part of the Hartford-area entrepreneurial ecosystem.
CT Entrepreneur Awards 2018 Winner Update: Hartford Artisans Weaving Center
The CT Entrepreneur Awards is following up with 2018 award winners, starting with Hartford Artisans Weaving Center Director Fran Curran, who won 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year: Social Good.
Where Are They Now? Follow Up with CareerPath Mobile
"Entrepreneurism will buoy the economy by providing new types of jobs and unique opportunities that attract young, eager minds," says CareerPath Mobile Founder/CEO Richard Portelance.
Meet Hartford Native and Entrepreneur Natasha Harris
Hartford native Natasha Harris is studying for her doctorate in business psychology, running her startup NaBii Organics, and in the process of becoming a business consultant.
CT Entrepreneur Helps Early-Stage Startups with Pitches
“I really want to bring more entrepreneurship to Hartford, and I’m hoping this role and my work with Vitches will help,” says Girls For Technology Program Manager Victoria Parisi who recently launched Vitches, a business aimed to help early-stage startups with their pitches.
CT Startup Offers Floatation Therapy, Gives Back to Local Veterans
Float Forty One co-founder Sarah LaTeano shared about her experience launching a startup in Greater Hartford and why she is passionate about providing float experiences to those who have served in the military.
UConn Alumni Create a Marketplace for Wheel Enthusiasts
“We hear the concept of failing fast and I really think it speaks to being resilient,” says WheelPrice co-founder Wally Namane.
CT Startup Creates Fundraising Events for Nonprofits
Mary O’Neill founded Get Your Bingo On! For the Cause in May 2019 to help local nonprofits raise funds in a new way.
Young Entrepreneur Launches Startup to Help Small Business Owners
Bridge Connection LLC Founder Patrick O’Connor offers advice for other younger entrepreneurs: If you have an idea, you think it’s sustainable, and you think there’s a way to monetize it, write a plan, stick to it, and be ready to change that plan in an instant.
CT Business Owners Launch Innovative, Healthy Lifestyle Business
“The only way for your business to work is to be passionate about what you do,” says Salon Medusa co-founder Steven Adelstein, who with his partner Sandro Vernali, recently launched Believe in the Magick.
The Coder School Opens Second Location in Glastonbury, CT
After opening in Farmington, we had interest from many people who lived east of the river,” says co-owner Vaishali Shah. "We thought: Why not just open another location in Glastonbury?”
Hartford Startup Aims to Help Retailers Grow Online
“Hartford is a great city to house an eCommerce consulting firm like Plura Interactive,” says Founder Timothy Paskowski.
West Hartford-Based Small Business Heir Cash Now
By networking and building relationships with people in different fields, it’s possible to exchange knowledge without spending a fortunethe importance of working with partners,” says Heir Cash Now, LLC Manager Matthew Lakenbach.
West Hartford-Based Fitness Startup Knockout Fitness
Knockout Fitness Owner Antony Atallah on business ownership: “No matter what you do, it’s going to be a challenge, so why not take the leap and do you what you truly believe in?”
Startup Manufactures New Product in CT
“I decided to headquarter my business and manufacturer my product in Connecticut to support the local economy,” says Fingaz Bowl CEO Julien Debelle Duplan.
CT Entrepreneur Provides Career and Life Coaching for Students
“Being an entrepreneur means you were born to run businesses with your passion for business and people—any business!” says Lori Theriault is CEO & Founder of WORK IT!
West Hartford Business Owner Shares Updates
“I love that the landscape of Connecticut is growing—there are always new shops and restaurants. I love being involved in that. There’s so much to experience,” says Samantha Hines, Co-Owner of West Hartford-based Cookshop Plus.
CT Startup Café Opens Second Location in Hartford
“Being an entrepreneur means we can provide a differentiated service and product. We can create community by offering a comfortable space and fresh foods and drinks. We can show our children they should not be afraid to try if they ever want to branch out on their own,” says Andrea Hawkins, Co-Founder of Berkins Blend and Berkins on Oak.
Parkville Sounds Provides a Creative Space for Musicians
"Hartford is not like New Haven or New York City. Anything you can put your mind to is really possible," says Parkville Sounds Founder Stephen Cusano.
CT Startup Finds Success with Laser Engraved Chocolate
“When you’re starting something new you must be adaptable to what you think is going to happen and the reality of what happens. You can’t just think: If you build it they will come,” advises of Noteworthy Chocolates co-founder Michael Sauvageau.
Entrepreneurs Open Gyms in Greater Hartford
“When we first opened we were afraid of failure. To look back now and see that we did it—and now we’ve done it three times?! It feels incredible,” says WIP Fitness Co-Founder Laura Keever.
Social Impact Startup Creates Customized Subscription Boxes for Dogs
“We decided to create a company that spends most of its profits on giving back. It’s important to be to be able to produce income I can put back into society,” says Toby’s Treasure Box Founder Kyle Knight.
Hartford-Based Printing Company Finds Its Place in Parkville
Located in the historic manufacturing neighborhood of Parkville in Hartford, CT, IdleWilde Printing Company offers graphic design and screen printing services.
Hartford-Based Startup Provides Innovative Drone Technology
Entrepreneurial advice from Candoo CEO & Co-Founder Michael Xu: “Throw something out, listen to feedback, and then throw something better and newer out until you’re better than everyone else on the market.”
UConn Grad Develops Innovative Medical Device
Lactation Innovations Chief Executive Officer Brittany Molkenthin talks about her entrepreneurial journey and her experience bringing an innovative new product to market.
Startup Provides Risk Management Software for Businesses
FieldOwler LLC Co-Founder Mark Barry shares what he hopes to gain from the 2018 reSET Impact Accelerator and his plans to become more involved with the Connecticut entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Connecticut Company Provides Co-Parenting Tools
Two Happy Homes Founder Traci Whitney joined the 2018 reSET Impact Accelerator to get support to help grow her business. She told Innovation Destination Hartford about her startup experience and future goals.
Startup Launches Natural Beauty Product Line
Sami Jo Jensen, Founder + Chief Beauty Maker at florapothecarie, shared what she hopes to gain from participating in the 2018 reSET Impact Accelerator and the advice she’s received about being a business owner.
Startup Brings Fitness/Dance Workouts to Wethersfield, CT
CNG Fit Founder and CEO Brandi Kilbourne told Innovation Destination Hartford about the importance of making connections when launching a startup.
Startup Makes Smartphones Accessible for the Visually Impaired
Boaz Zilberman, CEO of Israeli-based Project Ray, discussed the evolution of the startup, challenges the company has encountered, and the importance of creating a U.S. presence in Connecticut.
Startup Provides Messaging Solutions for Nonprofits and Growing Businesses
SKYWIREme Founder Jeremy Smith talked to Innovation Destination Hartford about what he hopes to gain from participating in the 2018 reSET Impact Accelerator.
Food and Beverage Startup for Healthy Eating
Bare Life Founder Ali Lazowski discussed some of her startup challenges and her experience participating in the 2018 reSET Impact Accelerator.
Global InsurTech Startup Creates a Presence in Hartford
Aureus Analytics CEO & Co-Founder Anurag Shah shares about how and why the InsurTech startup chose to create a presence in Hartford, CT.
Where Are They Now? Follow Up with Blue Earth Compost
CT Entrepreneur Creates Space for Literary Events and Adventures
The Storyteller's Cottage provides a unique space for public and private events including book clubs and literary escape rooms.
West Hartford Entrepreneur Launches Food Delivery Startup
What does being an entrepreneur meant to NALA’s Kitchen Founder Rebeca Tuinei? “It means being your own boss. Taking that one idea you really love and seeing what goes into it to make it become not a dream but a reality.”
CT Entrepreneurs Turn Passion into Fruitful Startup
Simply Jam Co-Founders Julia and Mike Stewart share about their experience as entrepreneurs bringing a local, handmade product to market.
Social Impact Startup Engages Students in Career Development
CareerPath Mobile is one of many startups participating in the 2017 reSET Impact Accelerator, a program designed for entrepreneurs in the early stages of business development.
Startup Concept Cyber Café Promotes Community Building
“The business coaches have been really great. And more importantly, our involvement in the accelerator exposed us to them,” says Berkins Blend Co-Founder Andréa Hawkins about the startup’s participation in the 2017 reSET accelerator program.
Chilean-Based Startup Part of CT Accelerator
“Don’t be afraid to go and ask for advice. You can ask questions to find out whether or not you have a good idea and then you can start drawing a better picture of what you should be doing,” advises Tomás Sánchez CEO of Alma Suite. The Chilean-based startup is participating in the reSET accelerator.
Entrepreneur Launches Fitness Startup in West Hartford
“I always felt like I thought outside of the box, that I had something different to offer,” says Shaun Chambers, CEO and Founder of BODYROC FIT LAB. “In all of my endeavors, whether it was music or fitness, it was always about creating some sort of situation where I can develop something that belonged to me.”
Cookshop Plus Finds Its Place in West Hartford, CT
Cookshop Plus Co-Owner Samantha Hines on how she views success: “I see success as when you have an idea and you formulate it and see it through. You work really hard at the very end, you have a result. I consider it a success whether the actual thing is successful or not, it’s more about the process of seeing it through. Not all of my ideas are successes, but when they are, it’s the greatest feeling.”
Social Media Startup Enhances Greater Hartford’s Arts, Restaurant and Community Scene
“Connecticut people aren’t afraid to support local businesses, which allows for a thriving restaurant scene. From Real Art Ways to the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford is an artsy little city—and that’s what I love about it,” says Katharine Ortiz, Founder of A Little Bird Told Me.