By Emily Bolton Penaskovic, board member, NH Tech Alliance, committee chair, Startup Committee, attorney, Cook, Little, Rosenblatt & Manson, pllc
As many of you are likely aware, over the past 10 months, the NH Tech Alliance (Alliance) has integrated two other New Hampshire initiatives, Alpha Loft and Live Free and Start, and those efforts are now initiatives of the Alliance. In the past, the Alliance has been largely focused on supporting companies in New Hampshire that were beyond the startup phase, and the integration of Alpha Loft and Live Free and Start reflects a concerted effort to provide additional support and resources to companies at all stages, startups included. In the same vein, the Alliance recently updated its mission, which is to support companies at every stage of growth and development and to nurture a vibrant tech ecosystem by building partnerships, enhancing knowledge, and shaping public policy.
To support these important new initiatives, the Alliance has also created its newest committee – the Startup Committee. Chaired by myself, the Startup Committee will be responsible for assisting the Alliance in addressing the needs of New Hampshire’s startup community, including supporting the Alpha Loft and Live Free Start initiatives and related programs. More specifically, the committee will advise the Alliance on ways to further strengthen New Hampshire’s startup ecosystem, provide strategic and tactical support for these two initiatives, determine ways to expand the resources and programming provided to local startups and advocate on behalf of the startup community.
By way of background, Alpha Loft programming provides support and resources to entrepreneurs, helps accelerate the development of their early-stage businesses and improves startups’ prospects for successfully launching and scaling. Through the Accelerate NH program (the state’s first startup accelerator), small cohorts of startups are supported, and the programming provides participants with weekly educational courses, mentorship, work space and personalized business advice. For newer entrepreneurs, there is the Startup Fundamentals program, which provides intensive instruction on many fundamental aspects of building a startup. In addition to these flagship programs that are being integrated into the Alliance signature programs, the Alliance offers office hours, industry-specific talks and presentations and startup-focused networking events.
Live Free and Start has been focused on expanding startups’ access to capital, modernizing business regulations, and marketing New Hampshire’s technology ecosystem. More generally, Live Free and Start provided startups with the resources and connections needed to build a successful business, including by educating startups on the many different funding options available. Just one effort of Live Free and Start, its Speed Venture Summit is a business matchmaking event that brings together early-stage companies, regional investors and tech influencers through speed pitching sessions. This has been rolled in as one of the Alliances’ signature events, given its fit with the mission and key role it plays in establishing partnerships.
When it launches, the Startup Committee will be comprised of a diverse group of members. The Committee members will represent various industries and backgrounds, including investors, entrepreneurs and founders and business leaders and advisors. Additionally, the Committee will be geographically diverse, representing several different regions of New Hampshire. Finally, the Committee will include representatives from the former Live Free and Start advisory council and Alpha Loft board, ensuring a seamless continuation of the important work conducted prior to those organizations’ integration with the Alliance.