Business Incubators and Accelerators provide mentorship and resources but may also offer funding opportunities for startups and small businesses. Connecticut hosts several accelerators and programs that support small businesses and startups in various industries.
Here are some accelerators and resources for small businesses in Connecticut:
- Accelerate UConn: This program, run by the University of Connecticut, offers an intensive startup accelerator focused on technology-based ventures. It provides mentorship, resources, and funding opportunities. https://accelerate.uconn.edu/
- BioCT Innovation Commons: Located in Groton, BioCT Innovation Commons supports startups and early-stage companies in the life sciences and biotech sectors through networking, education, and resources. https://bioctcommons.org/
- Connecticut Innovations (CI): While not an accelerator per se, CI is a quasi-public agency that provides funding, support, and resources to innovative startups and small businesses in Connecticut. https://ctinnovations.com/
- CTNext: CTNext is a resource for entrepreneurs and startups in Connecticut. They offer various programs, including the Entrepreneur Innovation Awards, the Innovation Places program, and the Higher Education Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fund. https://ctnext.com/
- Girls for Technology. The Girls for Technology Business Accelerator is a program designed to support and empower young girls and women in technology-related entrepreneurship. It offers mentorship, educational resources, and networking opportunities, aiming to cultivate skills, confidence, and innovation among participants to succeed in the tech industry. https://www.girlsfortechnology.org/
- Incu-Beta at Fairfield University: Incu-Beta is an incubator and accelerator program at Fairfield University that supports startups and student entrepreneurs by providing resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities.
- reSET: Located in Hartford, reSET is a nonprofit organization supporting social entrepreneurs and startups. They offer programs, accelerators, and resources to help startups grow and scale their businesses.
- Techstars Startup Programs: Techstars operates various startup programs globally. While not specifically based in Connecticut, Techstars programs sometimes partner with local entities or have satellite programs that entrepreneurs in Connecticut can access.
- UConn Innovation Quest: Run by the University of Connecticut, this program supports student entrepreneurs and early-stage startups through mentorship, workshops, and resources to foster innovation and business development.
- Upward Hartford: Upward Hartford is a co-working space that also offers accelerator programs, events, and resources for startups in various industries, including technology, health, and innovation.
- Women's Business Development Council (WBDC): While not an accelerator, WBDC offers resources, training, and support to women-owned businesses in Connecticut, including workshops, counseling, and access to capital.
Here are some accelerators and resources for all small businesses:
- Amazon Black Business Accelerator. The Amazon Black Business Accelerator provided selected participants with various benefits, which includes access to Amazon's Seller Support: Guidance and support from Amazon's experts to navigate the platform, optimize product listings, and enhance visibility to potential customers; Educational Resources: Training modules, workshops, and educational content designed to help entrepreneurs understand the e-commerce landscape, improve their marketing strategies, and utilize Amazon's tools effectively; Marketing and Promotion: Opportunities for increased exposure and promotion within Amazon's marketplace to reach a broader audience; Networking and Mentorship: Access to networking opportunities with other entrepreneurs and mentors, including successful sellers on Amazon's platform, to learn best practices and gain insights into scaling their businesses; Financial Support: Potential financial assistance or benefits aimed at reducing costs associated with selling on Amazon or accessing additional services. Visit https://sell.amazon.com/programs/black-business-accelerator?ld=SEUSBBA-GOO-140-062022v2
- Goldman Sachs One Million Black Women in Business. The Goldman Sachs One Million Black Women in Business initiative is a comprehensive and ambitious program designed to provide support, resources, and opportunities for Black women entrepreneurs across the United States. Launched by Goldman Sachs in partnership with various organizations, this initiative aims to address the challenges faced by Black women business owners and empower them to grow and scale their businesses. https://www.goldmansachs.com/citizenship/10000-small-businesses/US/?chl=ps&plt=go&cid=20309215581&agp=153555395991&kid=business%20acceleration%20program&mtype=p&gclid=Cj0KCQiA1rSsBhDHARIsANB4EJa3i01KfodQBy7TG6YUlP7CQYb69DJtZDnMSaIkm2DlcZoLcB201h4aArrqEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds
- Target Business Accelerator. The Target Accelerator partners with startups creating innovative retail solutions. It offers mentorship, resources, and potential collaboration opportunities within Target's ecosystem, aiming to drive retail innovation, enhance customer experiences, and explore emerging technologies in the industry.https://accelerators.target.com/
- Techstars: Techstars operates numerous accelerator programs across various industries and locations worldwide. They offer mentorship, funding, and networking opportunities to startups.
- The Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC). The ICCC Business Accelerator provides education, coaching, and access to capital for businesses in underserved urban areas. It equips entrepreneurs with skills in finance, strategy, and growth, connecting them to resources and networks to help drive economic development and success in their communities.
- Urban Hope. The Urban Hope Business Accelerator empowers aspiring entrepreneurs from urban communities, offering mentorship, resources, and training. Focused on fostering business growth, it provides guidance, networking opportunities, and support to help urban-based businesses thrive and succeed in competitive markets.
- 500 Startups: 500 Startups is a global venture capital seed fund and accelerator that invests in various industries. They offer a four-month accelerator program providing mentorship, access to investors, and resources.
- Alchemist Accelerator: Alchemist is a Silicon Valley-based accelerator focused on startups in the enterprise sector, offering mentorship and access to corporate customers.
- Boomtown Accelerators: Based in Colorado, Boomtown offers accelerator programs for startups focusing on industries like health tech, IoT, and sustainability.
- Bridge for Billions aims to democratize access to entrepreneurship support worldwide. They support entrepreneurs through programs built with partner organizations and these programs help them subsidize more entrepreneurs through their flagship incubation program, The Leap.
- digitalundivided serves as a catalyst for Black and Latinx women entrepreneurs. DID offers virtual training programs, fast-paced incubator programs, and best-in-class leadership coaching programs all of which can lead you from START to success. Whether you just have an idea or you’re ready to make the commitment to start your company, you can find a program that fits your progress.
- Dreamit Ventures: Dreamit offers accelerator programs and provides startups with access to investors, mentorship, and resources to help scale their businesses.
- Entrepreneur First (EF): EF is a London-based accelerator program that focuses on helping individuals find co-founders and build technology startups from scratch.
- Female Founder Program by the Founder Institute: The Founder Institute, the world’s premier pre-seed startup accelerator, is running various virtual and hybrid programs in collaboration with WomenTech Network in Silicon Valley Virtual and other locations across the globe.
- FemGems Club is for early-stage female founders, solo-founders, co-founders, mompreneurs, and side hustlers.
- Flat6Labs: Operating in the MENA region, Flat6Labs offers accelerator programs supporting startups in various industries across the Middle East and North Africa.
- Google’s Immersion: Women Founders is a 12-week, skill-building mentorship program for high potential women-led startups selected from startup communities across Europe including the UK and Israel. The program aims to address predominant challenges for women founders in the startup ecosystem, as unveiled in the Female Founders Monitor, with the aim to close the gender gap.
- Hatch Female Founders offers practical programs and support for female founders to succeed at business and life. They have a 6-month accelerator program that combines business training, expert support, coaching, and mentoring; a 4-month incubator program for Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic women who want to explore new revenue streams, cost structures, and ways to market; a 2-month launchpad program
- Lighthouse Labs: Lighthouse Labs is an Australian accelerator supporting startups in the health and wellness sector.
- MassChallenge: MassChallenge operates accelerator programs in various locations, providing startups with access to resources, mentorship, and potential funding.
- NewMe has led founders to more than $47 MM in funding. They offer an entrepreneurship education program, serving early-stage business founders and their teams through mentorship, specialized curriculums, and for those companies chosen-- capital investment.
- Plug and Play Tech Center: Plug and Play is a global innovation platform with accelerator programs across multiple industries, including technology, healthcare, and sustainability.
- Prosper Women Entrepreneurs (PWE) is a for-profit organization focused on increasing women entrepreneurs' access to growth capital and the number of women investing in early-stage capital markets.
- Seedcamp: Seedcamp is a London-based accelerator program that supports early-stage startups across Europe. It offers mentorship, networking events, and access to investors.
- StartX: StartX is a non-profit startup accelerator affiliated with Stanford University. It provides mentorship, resources, and networking opportunities to Stanford-affiliated entrepreneurs.
- The Brandery: Based in Cincinnati, The Brandery focuses on startups in the consumer marketing and branding space, providing mentorship and resources.
- The EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women program targets “the missing middle” — women founders who have built profitable small companies but have not yet found the essential tools needed to scale sustainably. EY provides program participants access to resources, networks, and know-how, helping to strengthen their abilities to become market leaders.
- WESST is a home for entrepreneurs, founded 30 years ago by women for women. As a non-profit, they offer consulting, training, and lending to anyone with the passion to start or grow a business. They serve thousands of clients each year to help them build strong and sustainable businesses that support their families and communities throughout New Mexico.
- Women’s Business Incubation Program is an initiative to enable women to launch their business in the digital space. They provide office space, digital engagement, mentoring, networking with industry leaders, classes on entrepreneurship, and pitching events for funding.
- Women Startup Competition empowers female founders across Europe. WSC is an independent not-for-profit business incubation platform with the mission to support female entrepreneurs in the critical early years. To date, WSC has completed 6 years of programs, and cumulatively supported 700+ female-founded early-stage startups in 10 countries.
- Women’s Startup Lab: They are a Silicon Valley-based startup and leadership accelerator for women entrepreneurs globally who have a bold vision to lead the wave of innovation and change that is required for growth and competitiveness in today’s economy.
- Y Combinator: One of the most prestigious and well-known accelerators globally, Y Combinator offers a three-month program providing funding, mentorship, and access to a vast network of successful entrepreneurs and investors.
These accelerators vary in focus, duration, and the industries they support. Entrepreneurs should carefully research and evaluate different programs to find the one that best fits their startup's needs and goals. It's important for small businesses and startups in Connecticut to explore these resources, contact the respective organizations, and check for program availability, eligibility criteria, and application processes to find the best fit for their needs and goals.
About the author
Dr. Melissa-Sue John is a professor of psychology at the University of Saint Joseph, the CEO of Lauren Simone Publishing House, a diversity, equity and inclusion officer, a winner of several awards, business accelerators, and grants including Citizen's Bank, CT Next, Girls for Technology, Goldman Sachs, Hayvn Hatch, ICCC, Realist Ventures, reSET, Urban Hope, and a WBDC Women Rising award recipient.