HARTFORD, CT, MAY 18, 2020 – On June 2, reSET presents this year’s Venture Showcase on ZOOM! Adjusting to the “new normal,” the annual Venture Showcase will still feature the top startups from reSET’s Impact Accelerator, a group of talented, impact-minded entrepreneurs, as they pitch their business ideas to the public and compete for up to $10,000 of award money.
The four month Impact Accelerator kicked off January 15, 2020 and had to pivot its originally planned in-person summits when COVID-19 hit mid-March. reSET quickly moved the program to a virtual format meeting on ZOOM for the remaining gatherings. Shane Chase, reSET Program Director, led the cohort through this transition. “At reSET, we’ve always known the power of bringing a passionate group of social entrepreneurs together,” says Chase. “When we entered quarantine we were worried about how we could maintain the level of support and momentum generated in the program, but our cohort rose to the challenge. Even virtually, everyone came together to help one another and pivot their ventures without missing a beat.”
The businesses were able to keep their morale up and have persevered to the final pitch competition to share their business growth with the greater community. “The [Venture Showcase] should prove to be an exciting event for the small business community” says Nichole Hawkins, founder of early childhood education startup Legacy Lineage and 2020 Impact Accelerator entrepreneur. “The 2020 cohort was awesome and the reSET organization saw us through to the finish line, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic!” Mentoring is an important component of the accelerator. and This week, the cohort will prepare for the Venture Showcase by pitching virtually in front of mentors including, Paul Silva, social entrepreneur and impact investor who founded Valley Venture Mentors and Launch413 to support social entrepreneurs in Massachusetts. Winners will be selected based on this expert feedback combined with peer feedback from their cohort members.
Past winners of the Venture Showcase include the founders of Raise Green, crowd-sourcing technology that allows anyone to invest in green technology; Loki, an interactive live-streaming app that captures experiences from multiple points of view; and Phood, whose solution uses technology to divert food waste from landfills.
This year’s Impact Accelerator includes innovative startups like:
- Preppers Meal Prep offers macro friendly meals with poultry, seafood, keto & vegan options to customers in Greater Hartford who want to live a healthy lifestyle and save time.
- Her Move is a woman-owned boutique recruitment consultancy focused on hiring women at growing software companies in order to address the gender gap in leadership positions.
- Seedershipis a social impact and storytelling digital platform that helps businesses identify and measure the good they do in their communities.
This year’s Venture Showcase judges include:
- Jay Williams, President of the Hartford Foundation: Williams has been working to build stronger relationships between the Foundation and the local communities it serves. He is currently leading the Foundation’s efforts to address disparities based on race/ethnicity, place and income in order to make opportunities more available to everyone. Jay serves on the boards of the MetroHartford Alliance, the Connecticut Economic Resource Center/AdvanceCT, and the CHEFA Community Development Corporation.
- Moraima Gutierrez, Assistant District Director for Economic Development /Media Relations Specialist at CTSBA. Gutierrez is responsible for strengthening and delivering SBA’s loan programs and entrepreneurial services. She currently serves as Chair of the Steering Committee for the Latino Endowment Fund through the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, among many other board affiliations. ⠀
- Dorothy Adams, Impact Investor and Board Chair of Capital For Change. In addition, Adams is a partner for Social Venture Partners CT. She believes in an inclusive economy for southern New England through implementing the right mix of social impact investment, flexible loans, and unrestricted philanthropy to provide funding for the long-term sustainability of social-purpose organizations.
“We believe that it’s more important than ever before to support social enterprise. During a global pandemic, it’s glaringly obvious that we have no choice but to consider how our actions affect people and the planet,” says Sarah Bodley, Executive Director of reSET. “I’m deeply concerned that as we emerge from this crisis, there will be a draw to go back to ‘business as usual’ when what we really need is to evolve business for the better. Forward-thinking companies, including reSET alumni, have responded to this crisis with socially-driven solutions, meeting very real emergency needs, while keeping their lights on.”
Tickets can be reserved via eventbrite: http://buff.ly/2xZQBUm
reSET inspires entrepreneurs based in Hartford, CT, to act through a socially beneficial perspective and use business to address challenges in their communities. By designing business to focus on both purpose and profit, innovation is unleashed and profit is a means to solving problems. reSET offers an intensive, four-month Impact Accelerator that has won an SBA award, and a structured summer internship program for undergraduates, and recently launched a Food Incubator for early stage ventures. We offer co-working space, workshops and networking events. Our mentor network and SBDC advisor provide affordable access to a wide range of expertise for startups.