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The Entrepreneurial Community in Connecticut Wants Your Ideas


The following is a press release from Connecticut Innovations, the Department of Economic and Community Development, and CTNEXT:


Connecticut Innovations (CI) and the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) are seeking creative ideas to improve and strengthen the state’s effort to build a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in Connecticut. The organizations have issued a Request for Proposals to help Connecticut further engage in innovation. The RFP is open to individuals, large and small companies, non-profits and consortia—from within and outside the state—with a proven record of success and creative ideas to develop the infrastructure and community necessary to support entrepreneurs. The state will invest up to $5 million over the next year in this initiative, called CTNEXT.

A winning proposal will include ideas to:

  1. Create pathways for entrepreneurs through which events, ideas, technology, industry expertise, services, skill development, talent and capital are easy to find

  2. Help innovative companies grow faster

  3. Improve entrepreneur connections with universities, economic development organizations and other private and public resources

  4. Engage Connecticut’s larger innovative corporations with the entrepreneurial community

  5. Help Connecticut increase the volume of the success stories it can celebrate and share

CTNEXT, a public-private partnership, has already established great momentum. To date, it has helped fund 11 entities and engaged dozens more to enhance local networks of support for entrepreneurs and connect those networks strategically statewide. And excitement and activity in the entrepreneurial community has reached new heights. In the past eight months alone, over 5,000 people attended more than 150 entrepreneurial community events, and several new co-working spaces were established or expanded.

Still, CI and DECD recognize that there are great ideas that they haven’t heard about which could strengthen the state’s culture of innovation while supporting a platform for addressing today’s toughest challenges.

“Connecticut is rich with innovative individuals, researchers, inventors, entrepreneurs, companies, investors and the organizations that support them.  We are looking for ways to help this talented population be part of a world-class entrepreneurial community,” said Claire Leonardi, CEO of CI.

“If you have ideas, experience and the commitment to develop the infrastructure and community to support entrepreneurs, we want to hear from you,” said Catherine Smith, Commissioner of Economic and Community Development.

For more information or to submit a proposal, visit

Contact:Casey Pickett

Director of Innovation

Connecticut Department of Economic & Community Development


Chris Penner

Director, Investments

Connecticut Innovations


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