It’s not quite Christmas past and Christmas future, but observers of Connecticut’s business landscape will be forgiven if that’s the take-away from two simultaneous events the evening of October 29 in the state’s Capitol City of Hartford. The Connecticut Business and Industry Association, the state’s leading business membership organization, will be marking 200 years of “Connecticut innovation and ingenuity” at an historic anniversary gala at the Hartford Marriott Downtown, with MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski the featured guests. Attendees will have an opportunity to “mix with Connecticut’s most successful and enterprising business leaders at this not-to-be-missed networking event,” according to the advance publicity.
The program is to be preceded by a brief CBIA business meeting. Governor Malloy is schedule to be among the speakers, along with CBIA President & Chief Executive Officer Joe Brennan. Tickets are now available for the celebratory event.
Meanwhile, across town at the Society Room, reSET, the Social Enterprise Trust, whose mission is advancing the social enterprise sector, will be highlighting the unfolding efforts of 12 impact businesses selected as honorees of the 2015 reSET Impact Challenge. Stressing social enterprise, the event has been described as “the future of business.”
The competition, now in its fifth year, recognizes the most innovative, impactful, and viable early stage ventures and start-ups from all industries. For the first time this year, the Challenge was opened to entrepreneurs throughout New England. Award winners will receive unrestricted seed capital, expert professional services, and public recognition. Nine of the 12 finalists are from Connecicut.
“This year’s short list was chosen from the over 100 enterprises that applied. That’s almost double that of last year, and a 700 percent increase since The Challenge launched in 2011. The talent pool gets stronger every year and narrowing it down this time around proved to be quite challenging,” said Rosie Gallant, Director of Programs at reSET.
A panel of expert judges will decide the overall winners who will be revealed at an open-to-the-public celebration, starting at 5pm. To hear the honorees’ stories and to cast your vote for the “People’s Choice Award,” people are urged to visit www.TheImpactChallenge.org/PeoplesChoice. The honorees are:
- Asarasi, Inc. (CT)
- BookBugs (NH)
- Beautiful Day / The Providence Granola Project (RI)
- Daily General Counsel (MA)
- Dream See Do (CT)
- FRESH Farm Aquaponics (CT)
- Harford Prints (CT)
- Hugo & Hoby (CT)
- LOTUS Alliance LLC (CT)
- Movia Robotics (CT)
- Parrot MD (CT)
- Planet Fuel Beverage Company (CT)
Connecticut Public Radio host John Dankosky will moderate a panel at the celebration about how social innovation is transforming industries. The panel will feature Disruptive Innovators Jean Hammond, co-founder and partner of LearnLaunch; Makaela Kingsley, director of Wesleyan’s Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship; and a co-founder of tech startup Send Help Back Home. Tickets to the celebration next month may be purchased at www.ResetImpactAwards.Eventbrite.com.
A separate Impact Venture Showcase will begin at 4pm, with eight early stage, impact-driven startups pitching to an audience of investors, advisors, and guests seeking both social and financial returns. Seating for this pre-celebration event is limited. Separate tickets are required, available at: www.ResetImpactAwards.Eventbrite.com.
With both events spotlighting innovation and ingenuity, the state Department of Economic and Community Development’s statewide theme, “Still Revolutionary,” comes to mind.
This year’s Challenge and Awards are being made possible by a large community of supporters, including a fair number who may also be represented at the CBIA celebration. The reSET even sponsors include Aeton Law Partners; Bank of America; BNY Mellon; Cantor Colburn; Carter Realty; Central Connecticut State University; Clark Insurance; Comcast Business; Community Investment Corporation; Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development; Connecticut Innovations; Farrell & Farrell Consulting Services; Fiondella, Milone & LaSaracina; Health Educated, Inc.; HealthyCT; HEDCO Inc.; Murtha Cullina; Powerstation Events; Pullman & Comley, LLC; Qualidigm; Quinnipiac University; Remarkable Technologies; Tariq Farid Foundation; The City of Hartford; The Hartford; The Walker Group; Travelers; Trinity College; and Updike, Kelly & Spellacy.