On October 25th, Governor Malloy launched the State’s innovation ecosystem, called CTNext. As the Whiteboard becomes the official blog of CTNext, we will be sharing articles written by hub leaders, along with hub-related news and events. Today, we invite you to come to the launch of New Haven’s Innovation Hub, the Grid, featuring a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open an expanded Grove space. RSVP here.
Each of the four Innovation Hubs in the ecosystem is unique—the New Haven Hub is no exception.
On February 25, 2013, no matter who you are, you’re invited to join us to learn more about what we do and how we can help you. Starting at 2pm at 95 Orange Street in New Haven, we’ll be celebrating the Grove’s expansion to a new, 6,000 square foot space, and for the remainder of the day, we’ll demonstrate how The Grid’s programs can help entrepreneurs succeed.
That’s The Grid’s value proposition to the entrepreneur—our programs create a “runway” of resources to launch your venture and keep it moving forward.
Background: Where Did The Grid Come From?
Before you come out, here’s a bit of context. The Grid, our New Haven Hub, is branded intentionally (thanks to Jeff Kubarych of known.co and Klayton Wald of Independent Software) to evoke the idea of community. The brand also gives you a hint about our history, and our plan for the future. It’s also a direct reference to where we are, and our history of innovation (more info here).
Rather than starting from a blank page or with a single organization, New Haven’s Hub has grown out of a group of organizations, startups, and individual enthusiasts who have been working for the last several years to create a vibrant entrepreneurial community. Groups like the Economic Development Corporation of New Haven, Startup Weekend New Haven, MakeHaven, HackHaven, YEI, Launch Capital, HackYale, The Grove, and Independent Software have all been involved. The Grid is intended to bring new programs to the community, but also to connect/collaborate other individuals, organizations, and existing programs in the community. And there’s an even longer list of leaders and initiatives as you look around New Haven and Middlesex counties.
The Grid’s programs address common roadblocks startup ventures face as they grow—Space, Talent, Mentoring, Capital, and Community.
The ultimate goal of The Grid is to create the best place in the world to grow a company. Right here in our own backyard.
Space: The Final Frontier
The right kind of space can be really valuable to an early stage venture—garages and attics and home offices serve as incubators for founders by necessity, not always by choice. That’s why space is an essential element of The Grid’s offerings. Ask anyone who has launched a startup in our area about their experience and you’ll very likely hear something about working or meeting at The Grove. Occupying a street-level space in the heart of New Haven’s Arts District, this busy co-working space has proven how important space is to community formation since it opened its doors in the Fall of 2010 (with help from New Haven’s Project Storefronts program). In fact, The Grove garnered so much attention that at this time last year, founders Slate Ballard and Ken Janke were awarded with “Small Business of the Year” by Conntact.com.
Slate explained that The Grove’s success came as a result of a need that he and Ken identified in the community: “People need community to move their ideas forward, need a space where they can find and provide support through collaboration, creativity, innovation, and idea sharing.”
The expansion space creates a place for teams to access configurable temporary space as they grow. And it houses other Grid programs in that same environment. Importantly, it builds out this new space as an expansion of the already rich and robust community at the Grove—and right around the corner from MakeHaven, a maker space where entrepreneurs can prototype/experiment with ideas.
In the works as we speak is also the “Bioscience Clubhouse”—part coworking, part lab space—specifically designed to support bioscience entrpreneurs.
Resources: Grid Programs
Part of the importance of the Grove expansion to a new space is that it to serve as a focal point for other Grid programs.
What are these programs and how do they help founders grow their ventures?
Here’s the quick elevator pitch—come on Monday to learn more:
- Capital –> Innovation Vouchers –> innovation ‘vouchers’ of up to $10k to prototype concepts
- Mentoring/Education –> Mentor Matching and CEO Bootcamp –> mentoring from serial entrepreneurs, investors, and subject matter experts, and a program to help build CEO skills
- Talent –> A100 and Founders Fund –> a pool of coders and programmers that are “startup ready,” and a fellowship program to help promising serial entrepreneurs start their venture while contributing to the community
- Community –> LaunchHaven, Whiteboard, Catalyst Media, and Entrepreneurs Forum –> events, resources, and an online community to keep you connected and to help you broadcast your story
The Bottom Line: Showing Up Is Half The Battle
This coming Monday, Mayor DeStefano of New Haven will cut the ribbon on a 6,000 sq. ft. expansion of The Grove’s space and launch The Grid. Throughout the day, program leaders will be on hand to provide services and answer questions.
Like most things in life, showing up is half the battle—if you don’t join us, you’ll miss out.
So join us. We’ll be kicking off at 2:00pm at 95 Orange St, New Haven, CT. If you have trouble making your way to the new space, a staff member at the front desk of The Grove (71 Orange St.) would be more than happy to direct you.