Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Spotlight: Norwich-New London, CT

Norwich-New London, CT

Two of the oldest cities in the country, Norwich-New London Connecticut has had an entrepreneurial mindset since the 1600s.

Norwich and New London, CT are a pair of cities in the state’s New London County. Two of the oldest cities in the country, Norwich and New London were settled in the mid-1600s and bear the names of their settlers’ original homes. While the whaling industry that led to New London earning the name “The Whaling City” may no longer exist, it has left a space for entrepreneurship and innovation to thrive in the area.

New London and Norwich ranked 814th and 999th respectively in WalletHub’s 2019 list of the best small cities to start a business, with rankings of 398th and 507th in the “Business Costs” category. Additionally, the Norwich-New London metropolitan area was ranked 42nd in a 2019 study by Verizon ranking the most innovative metro areas in the country. Finally, the state of Connecticut has earned a reputation as supportive of entrepreneurship: though the state ranked 46th overall in WalletHub’s list of the best states to start a business, it’s ranking of 4th in the “Access to Resources” category suggests there is plenty of support for local entrepreneurs.

 

Based on these rankings, FundingSage has reviewed the resources that make up Norwich-New London’s entrepreneurial ecosystem:

 

Entrepreneurial Meetups:

The CT Business Acceleration Group holds regular events both online and in-person. The events allow entrepreneurs to make connections and help one another grow their businesses.

Every Tuesday morning, the SE Connecticut Business Networking Group meets in East Lyme to meet up and network.

Hosted by the Spark Makerspace in Norwich-New London, this meetup group promotes upcoming events and allows makers to meet each other and learn the latest industry news.

 

Regular Entrepreneurial Events:

The Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut is located in Waterford. The chamber hosts a variety of events for businesses including networking opportunities, workshops and more.

Headquartered in Old Saybrook, the Southeastern Connecticut branch of SCORE hosts regular workshops to help grow area small businesses.

One of several events organized by the Greater Norwich Area Chamber of Commerce is Small Business Week. This event is a series of workshops held over a week designed to help small businesses grow.

 

Startup Competitions:

Entrepreneurs from around the state of Connecticut can compete for one of CTNext’s Entreprneur Innovation Awards. Possible awards and grants amount up to $10,000.

Students at colleges and universities across the state of Connecticut can compete in the annual New Venture Competition.

VentureClash is an annual competition that pits early-stage startups against one another who are located throughout the state of Connecticut.

 

Co-working Spaces:

Located in Groton, BioCT Innovation Commons offers both co-working space and lab space for startups.

CityFeet, an organization that provides co-working and office space throughout the country, has a location just outside of New London in Waterford.

Foundry 66 provides co-working space specifically for area entrepreneurs and small business owners.

 

Makerspaces:

The CTNext organization and the city of New London worked together to create Spark Makerspace. This organization provides workspace, tools, and equipment in addition to hosting classes.

 

Incubators:

BioCT Innovation Commons is an organization that provides lab space and mentorship services to support area entrepreneurs.

Three Rivers Community College runs a Center for Business & Industry Training. It works to support small businesses in the area through workshops and mentorship programs.

The Norwich Community Development Corporation works to attract new small businesses to Norwich.

 

Accelerators:

Down the road in Hartford, the Hartford Insurtech Hub helps launch innovative insurance and technology startups.

A program of CTNect, the Thames River Innovation Place runs several programs to help area entrepreneurs grow their startups and small businesses.

 

Colleges/Universities:

Located in New London, Connecticut College offers both classes and outside-the-classroom resources for students interested in entrepreneurship.

In addition to other business resources, TRCC offers entrepreneurship classes a degree in Business Administration and a major in entrepreneurship.

Down the road in Storrs, the University of Connecticut has a robust environment for entrepreneurship. They offer a number of programs for its students, faculty, and staff.

 

Angel Groups/VCs:

LaunchCapital is an early-stage venture capital firm with four locations across the country, including one in nearby New Haven.

Based in Connecticut, Topstone Angels is an investment group that works with early to mid-stage companies.

The UConn Innovation Fund invests amounts of up to $100,000 in promising startups affiliated with the University of Connecticut.

 

Entrepreneurial Newsletter Coverage:

The Connecticut Business and Industry Association offers a newsletter that keeps its subscribers up-to-date on the economic and business development around the state.

The Day, New London’s daily newspaper, offers a variety of newsletters with different topics, including BizBuzz, which covers business news throughout the region every Tuesday.

The Norwich Bulletin, which covers all of the area’s news, including business headlines, offers an e-mail newsletter to its subscribers.

The Norwich Community Development Corporation offers a newsletter containing headlines and updates on the area’s growing business scene.

Are you familiar with entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure in Norwich-New London, CT not included in the article above?  If so, let us know via a comment below and we will add it to the article. 

Interested in Ecosystem Spotlights of other cities in the USA?

New Haven-Milford, CT, Hartford, CT, Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT


Quinn Pilkey

Quinn is a journalism major at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He also serves as a freelance author for Hashtag Basketball where he writes about the NBA's Charlotte Hornets and at Funding$age where he researches and writes about entrepreneurial ecosystems.