Sponsored By




Vote The Art and Science of Launching Your Idea

for Education




Sarah Bodley



Executive Director



reSET Social Enterprise Trust





Organization/institution description (<500 characters)

Since January 2013, reSET has offered programs, coworking space and support services to entrepreneurs. reSET drives entrepreneurial activity by: 1) Business advising and programming that blends financial sustainability and social and/or environmental impact; Since January 2013, reSET has supported 114 entrepreneurs; helped launch 14 social enterprises in Connecticut, from concept to full operation; created 11 jobs; and provided 123 hours of mentoring and advising in 2014; 2) Offering a Community Coworking Space in Hartford to entrepreneurs, freelancers, and nonprofit organizations; the space is home to 19 businesses currently; 3) Successfully leading advocacy efforts to make Connecticut more welcoming to social enterprise through passage of Benefit Corporation legislation.


How do you train, educate or prepare entrepreneurs? (<500 characters)

reSET is the only business support program in Hartford specializing in social enterprises. Many of our alumni businesses are making a profit AND addressing a social or environmental need in their community. reSET's Impact Accelerator is a chance for an entrepreneur from CT to have access to a mini-business school experience in 5 months, and it's all for free. Funding from foundations and corporate partners allows greater access to entrepreneurial support and education, especially for local minority and female-owned businesses. Education combines business technical assistance with access to capital and all is based on the lean startup methodology. We launched a food incubator in 2019 that supports creation of restaurants and food products in Hartford. There are evident opportunities for businesses that do well by doing good, and specifically those that address food issues: food insecurity, lack of access to healthy food, and the health and nutrition consequences that persist in Hartford. We are currently implementing 2 student incubators at Wesleyan University and Connecticut College and plan to launch a Hartford-based student program in 2020.


What impact did your program have in 2019? (<500 characters)

We served 243 entrepreneurs through workshops and programming. 71% of the 2019 companies were women or minority-owned. 14 startups participated in the Impact Accelerator. 18 food businesses were served through the food incubator. We formed a culinary collaborative with Hands on Hartford, Forge City Works, KNOX, Parkville Market, and Swift Factory. 26 companies pitched at our Flight Nights and $1,272 was awarded thanks to audience donations. We had 43 events that drew over 1,200 attendees. 86 volunteers provided over 1,000 hours of support. 50% of reSET's entrepreneurs were from the Greater Hartford area. 305 jobs were supported through alumni companies. 12 student teams participated in Wesleyan's student incubator. In addition, we formed new partnerships with Acceleration Group, Black Business Alliance, Capital for Change, and Village Capital.


What people are saying about The Art and Science of Launching Your Idea...

 "Startup Incubator: The Art and Science of Launching Your Idea" is a college-level course designed by the team at reSET that was piloted at Wesleyan University in Fall 2018 and repeated in Fall 2019 thanks to support from CTNext. From the course catalog: "The Startup Incubator is a one-semester, experiential learning program designed to teach and enable student entrepreneurs to develop sustainable business models from their ideas. The program will bring together an ambitious, committed, and diverse group of individuals from all classes and majors who are passionate about developing successful solutions to challenges; identify as entrepreneurs, disruptors, and thought leaders; and have the tenacity, work ethic, and ability to succeed. All participating students should have a promising business idea and take the course with the intention of launching or running their own venture." In Fall 2019, ventures included a website for buying sustainable surfing products, a gym that promotes health in low-income communities, a ride-sharing app designed to eliminate drunk driving, and more. (http://newsletter.blogs.wesleyan.edu/2019/12/17/startup-incubator-class-pitches-ideas-to-middletown-community/).  

Makaela Kingsley





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