When the Hartford-based Social Enterprise Trust, known as reSET, was among the winners of the U.S Small Business Administration’s Growth Accelerator Competition last year – the only Connecticut organization to do so and one of 80 nationwide – it was not known what earning that designation, and the $50,000 that came with it, would mean for reSET’s Impact Accelerator program. Now, the picture is becoming clearer – and boosting Hartford’s reputation as a city for socially committed entrepreneurial start-up businesses. The expanding initiative is attracting not only home grown companies, but start-ups from elsewhere across the country, including as far away as California.
Tailored for impact-driven businesses but available to all early-stage ventures, reSET’s Impact Accelerator, now beginning its fourth year, has as its primary objective to test and hone entrepreneurs’ models, and to connect them to networks, mentors, customers, and resources.
A cohort of 22 businesses have been accepted to the program and most of their models are impact focused, serving the educational technology, health and health tech, energy, and agriculture industries. More than 60 percent of them are already generating revenue. It is the largest group of companies to take part in the accelerator program at reSET, and the first to include a handful of out-of-state participants.
Running from January 20 to June 2, reSET’s accelerator will feature a more flexible program designed for busy, full-time entrepreneurs, as well as a ‘pay what you can’ model. Entrepreneurial teams will attend five weekend summits, with 30+ optional workshops, mentor office hours, and consultations with an Entrepreneur in Residence conducted during the week.
At program’s end, a $25,000 accelerator funding pool will be available to the cohort, and they'll have priority access to reSET’s investment fund as well, via mentors and advisors that can help them put their best foot forward with their applications, according to reSET officials.
The 2016 cohort includes: Agyncy (www.agyncy.com), AmRide (www.amride.com), Asarasi (www.asarasi.com), BLT Robotics (www.bltrobotics.com), Doors to Explore (www.doorstoexplore.com), DopaFit (www.mydopafit.com), Enviro Power, LLC (www.enviropowertec.com), Keep Sight (www.keepsight.com), Lion’s Heart (www.lionsheartservice.org), Mivy (www.mivyapp.com), Movia Robotics (www.moviarobotics.com), Muni (www.muni.info), myHomeProNetwork (https://myhomepronetwork.com), Plucked (www.pluckedadmissions.org), RepVisits (www.repvisits.com), ScripFlip (www.scriptflip.org), SnapSeat (www.snapseatbooths.com), Tainted Inc. (www.tainted-beauty.com), Text Engine (www.textengine.info), The TubieGuard (the-tubieguard.myshopify.com), Trekeffect (https://trekeffect.com), and Untapped Potential (www.upotential.org).
“We’ve made a strategic shift with our accelerator model so it can accommodate more participants at one time, which we feel will really encourage more collaboration,” said Rosie Gallant, reSET’s Director of Programs. “The shift will help tee up the accelerator for our annual Impact Challenge as well, since the program will wrap in the spring right around when applications will open for the competition in which participants will vie for this year’s $100,000 prize purse.”
reSET is a non-profit organization whose mission is to advance the social enterprise sector. Its strategic goals are threefold: to be the “go-to” place for impact entrepreneurs, to make Hartford the Impact City, and Connecticut the social enterprise state. reSET aims to inspire innovation and community collaboration, and to support entrepreneurs in creating market-based solutions to community challenges. reSET’s goal is to meet entrepreneurs wherever they are in their trajectory and to help them take their businesses to the next level.