The Impact Accelerator is a 4-month program designed to provide entrepreneurs with access to the knowledge, networks, and resources they need to grow their businesses and their impact. Our program focuses on connecting you to early stage customers and industry-specific experts and mentors, and on providing you with coaching along important start-up milestones.

The Impact Accelerator was a winner of the U.S. Small Business Administration Growth Accelerator Competition, and was the only Connecticut accelerator to receive the award in 2015.

Applications for the 2020 Impact Accelerator are open through Monday, December 16. Apply here.


Through our accelerator, you’ll have the opportunity to attend a selection of workshops led by business, legal, and design professionals.  The workshops will focus on a variety of topics, including understanding customers, competitive positioning, and preparation steps for building and scaling your startup.


Mentors are a key component to the success of an entrepreneur, and their startup.  Our extensive mentor network comprises professionals from many industries who are seeking opportunities to help guide and support startups.  The large network size and high participation rate gives participants many opportunities for guidance.


Startup success is a lot of hard work and requires many tools and resources.  A vibrant and supportive community is a critical component.  Participants get direct access to the large reSET community where they can find support, guidance, suggestions, and customer leads.

Access to Resources

Hartford and the surrounding areas offer many resources to support entrepreneurs.  Unlike Boston and New York City, Hartford doesn’t suffer from a well saturated market of startups.  This reduces some of the barriers to entry often faced by startups.


Despite being the capital city, landlocked Hartford features a bigger bang-for-your-buck than most average cities.  With easy access to affordable housing and a lower cost of living, entrepreneurs find Hartford an ideal city to launch and grow their startups.


Situated about half way between the two hubs and full of affordable transportation options, Hartford is an excellent place to base and grow your startup while remaining close to other major entrepreneurial hubs like Boston and New York City.


Applications are now open for reSET’s 2020 Impact Accelerator running from January to May. We will be reviewing applications on a rolling basis and aim to have decisions back to our applicants by mid-December 2019. Please check the FAQs for more information regarding eligibility and fit.


Feel free to contact reSET’s Program Director, Shane Chase if you have any further questions.

Important Dates

Application Timeline: We will be reviewing applications for the next couple of months so that we can select our 2020 cohort of entrepreneurs by mid-December. Therefore, please get your applications in no later than December 01, 2019. UPDATE: Applications are currently being accepted until December 16, 2019. We cannot guarantee that your application will be reviewed after that date.

Program Dates: The program covers 4 months with entrepreneurs meeting each month for a day and a half summit (Friday afternoon and Saturday). In between each summit, reSET will host 2-3 evening workshops open to our entrepreneurs. The program will culminate with a Venture Showcase where entrepreneurs can share their businesses with reSET’s broader community of professionals, investors, entrepreneurs, and Hartford residents.


  • SUMMIT 01: ½ Day Friday 01/24, Full Day Saturday 01/25
  • SUMMIT 02: ½ Day Friday 02/21, Full Day Saturday 02/22
  • SUMMIT 03: ½ Day Friday 03/20, Full Day Saturday 03/21
  • SUMMIT 04: ½ Day Friday 04/24, Full Day Saturday 04/25
  • Venture Showcase: Thursday 05/07



Workshop dates+times to be determined.


How is the Impact Accelerator structured?
Each month, our cohort of 10-15 startups come together for a 1.5 day Summit to gain the tools, instruction, and connections they need to build their businesses in a collaborative environment. Mandatory and optional workshops (1-2 hrs) are offered in between the 4 Summits to offer additional topics tailored to our startups specific needs and stages of development.

What type of industries does the Impact Accelerator support?
The Impact Accelerator is completely industry-agnostic. While there are of course industry-specific challenges entrepreneurs face, our past cohorts have benefited from the cross-pollination of different industries and types of companies (e.g. business to consumer, business to business, etc.). Where accelerator does hone in on industry-specific concerns is through matching entrepreneurs with industry-specific mentors when appropriate.

How are you defining social entrepreneurship?
Broadly. At the most basic level, a social enterprise makes net-positive impact in the world while sustaining itself financially through earned revenue. Through the Impact Accelerator, we support our entrepreneurs to find the right fit for their organizations when it comes to BOTH making an impact AND generating revenue.

How is the Impact Accelerator different from existing entrepreneur support programs?
Our Impact Accelerator is really a supplement, not a substitute to other programs. We aim to meet our entrepreneurs where they are, connect them with one another, introduce them to great mentors, and provide plenty of resources to get them to the next stage of their start-up, whatever that may be. Where we do differ from other programs is our focus on social entrepreneurship and our dedication to the broader Hartford community.

How many entrepreneurs does the Impact Accelerator support?
Each cohort aims to admit 10-15 startups. This number allows for a great level of variety in types of startups while still allowing for more personal support.

Is funding provided as part of the program?
Funding is no guarantee in this program. However, one of the main missions for our Impact Accelerator is to adequately assess what level/type of funding is most appropriate for your enterprise and connecting you with potential investors/supporters.

How much does it cost for a startup to participate in the reSET’s Impact Accelerator?
You tell us! This year we’re testing out our own business model and offering a Share-What-You-Want option in which you pledge a small portion of your future revenue in exchange for the program and ongoing support. This revenue-based financing approach allows you to pay-it forward to future entrepreneurs at a percentage and pace that aligns with your start-up’s success.


Is this a full-time program? Do we have to be full-time founders?
Nope. With our goal of reducing the barrier to entrepreneurship, we’ve designed our program with jobs, classes, families, etc. in mind. That said, our program does require time outside of the scheduled Summits + workshops. Expect to spend an additional 5-10 hrs each week.

Can I be a solo founder?
Absolutely. We know that going it alone can be tough and we’re here to offer the support and network you need to drive your business forward.

I’m still at the idea stage. Am I eligible to sign up?
IDEAlly (…) your startup is past the initial concept stage and onto testing your MVP or is already generating revenue. If not, reach out and we’d be happy to connect with resources and other programs that can help get you started.

I’m not in Hartford. Can my startup participate?
As a Hartford-based program, we have a soft spot for Hartford residents creating Hartford-based businesses that serve the greater Hartford area. That said, we’re not going to turn you away if you’ve got an impactful and promising business that really benefit from our Impact Accelerator.

Can my startup participate if we’ve been a part of an incubator and/or accelerator before?
You bet. Our program is designed to take your startup to the next level. If you’ve built and tested your MVP (minimal viable product) in a previous accelerator, we can establish your product-market fit in our program. There already? Maybe your start-up could really benefit from considering how it might become more of a social enterprise. Looking to expand a product-line? Also a good time to consider signing up. See? There are plenty of options!

Do you think it would still be helpful for us to apply if we don’t need to raise money for a while?
Sure thing. We aim to connect our startups with investors only where appropriate. Still there plenty of benefits from growing your network of mentors, collaborating with other entrepreneurs, and, at least, preparing to pitch to investors.

If you have any more questions, please email reSET’s Program Director, Shane Chase.

reSET Staff

  • Sarah Bodley Executive Director reSET

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  • Emily Reisner Director of Strategic Advancement reSET

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  • Sami Jensen Marketing & Communications Consultant reSET

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reSET Board of Directors

  • Susan Coleman Professor of Finance University of Hartford

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  • Vijay Laknidhi Vice President of Strategic Planning & Execution Travelers

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  • Laura Dinan Haber Innovation Program Manager, Organizer & Co-Owner Nassau Re, TEDxHartford & Reclaimed Engraving

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  • Michael Brooder Hartford Office Managing Partner Marcum LLP

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  • Denise Whitford Business Advocate and Advisor CT SBDC

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  • Tara Spain Vice President Travelers Foundation

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  • David Fearon Professor of Management and Organization CCSU

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  • David Menard Partner Murtha Cullina LLP

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  • Kate Emery Founder and Chairman reSET, The Walker Group

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