A program run by two Yale alumni that works to support Connecticut entrepreneurs announced last Thursday that it had been named a finalist for the CT Entrepreneur Award. The same group, Collaboratory in New Haven, was also named “Murphy’s Innovator of the Month” for March by U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn.
“Collab is a boost program for entrepreneurs in Connecticut and New Haven,” said Margaret Lee ’14, who founded the group alongside Caroline Smith ’14. “Our main mission as an organization is to make entrepreneurship accessible to all different kinds of folks.”
Lee said that Collab serves two main roles: It hosts several events and panels about the issues relevant to the people it serves, including youth, immigrants, women and mothers, and it runs a six-week incubator program for early-stage entrepreneurs that provides basic training workshops and up to $2,000 in funding, among other resources.
Smith said Collab at first took the form of a series of community events that brought together Yale students, New Haven residents and entrepreneurs to meet on equal ground and to cooperate in solving problems. At these events, Smith and Lee said they saw numerous promising ideas, some of which had the potential become individual projects, and considered how they could further encourage this energy and drive. They found that New Haven had already provided early-stage education and later-stage capital for entrepreneurs, but it lacked services for entrepreneurs in the very early stage of developing a venture, so Smith and Lee set out to fill that niche.
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