Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Higher Education – Business Partnership announces the second year of its StartUp Worcester 2016 initiative supporting local, entrepreneurial college and university graduates to help launch their business concepts. StartUp Worcester will select 12 winners with original business plans to receive support to develop their ideas from concept to marketplace.
The Chamber has partnered with Running Start, a co-working space located on Prescott Street in Worcester, and The Venture Forum, a non-profit organization providing valuable programming geared toward the specific needs of entrepreneurs. The 12 StartUp Worcester businesses selected will be awarded full-year memberships to all three organizations which includes space in which to work, support from professionals at The Venture Forum’s monthly events, full membership benefits from the Chamber, and access to SCORE business counselors.
According to Timothy Murray, president and CEO of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, “We’re very pleased with the success of this program. More than two-dozen applied last year and the twelve selected have made progress in their business. Petricore, a digital gaming company founded by Becker graduate Ryan Canuel, created ‘Mind the Arrow,’ a game featured on both the App Store and Google Play in more than 250 countries with over 200,000 downloads.”
Aaron Brit, co-founder of the app EventTree and a StartUp participant, started out with a simple mission: to connect Worcester’s students, residents, and visitors by aggregating events in a way that responds to the user’s personal tastes. A brief questionnaire logs preferences and the app tracks the type of events searched to create a custom page geared toward the user’s likes.
Other companies who won a spot in the inaugural program include an agroponics venture whose goal is to more efficiently grow food in island nations and a company integrating technology into exercise and physical therapy to provide real-time feedback for the user. “These bright minds are working to implement their ideas here in Worcester and that’s just what we want to see,” Murray went on to say.
According to Joe Vignaly, chair of the Venture Forum, “The Venture Forum is the not-for-profit community for technology entrepreneurs at any stage. We offer a foundation for learning and networking essential to launching and growing successful technology businesses.”
Ryan Leary, co-founder of Running Start Coworking and one of the programs partners stated, “We’re really excited about having another group of StartUp Worcester participants join our community at Running Start Coworking. It’s been great watching this year’s ventures make their presence known in the city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and we look forward to helping grow this program.”
StartUp Worcester 2016 is pleased to have the financial support of Chamber members and lead sponsors: Commerce Bank and Grove Street Commercial Properties along with supporting sponsor, DarrowEverett LLP.
New program sponsor, Grove Street Commercial Properties, joined the effort this year in response to the success of the inaugural season. About the initiative, President and CEO Hamid Mohaghegh, RPh, MS, MHA had this to say: “At Worcester Family Pharmacy, we are very excited to be a part of this energizing, practical, and prudent WRCC initiative. In my opinion, these efforts are the necessary catalyst for helping worthy startup business operations to take root in our Worcester County community.”
Brian Thompson, president of Commerce Bank stated, “Every company has to start somewhere and we want them to start and stay in Worcester. The bank is pleased to have played a role in supporting last year’s start-up businesses and looks forward to seeing what this new crop of entrepreneurs brings to our community. Providing resources to the business community fits in with the mission of Commerce Bank and we’re helping to groom the next generation of customers.”
Co-sponsor DarrowEverett LLP, wholeheartedly agrees. “Sponsorship of StartUp Worcester is a natural fit for us and one of the most important ways we feel we can contribute to the local business community. As business lawyers, DarrowEverett represents companies from a wide variety of industries at every stage of their lifecycle, and from experience, we understand that good advice early on can make all the difference in whether a company will achieve success. Also, while we have been providing legal services in and around Worcester and Central Massachusetts for the better part of the last decade, in many ways, we still see ourselves as the new kids on the block. So, as we continue to grow our own practice in Worcester, we look forward to helping the StartUp Worcester entrepreneurs establish their foothold here and create their own success story,” stated Thomas J. Holloway, Esq.
StartUp Worcester 2016 will begin accepting applications in January 2016 with a deadline of March 14, 2016. The new group of entrepreneurs will be announced in mid-May for the year-long program beginning in June 2016. Application forms can be completed online.
The program is for current students, graduating seniors, and recent alumni from participating area colleges and universities.
PHOTO: From Left: Thomas J. Holloway, Esq., DarrowEverett LLP; James Beaumariage, Grove Street Commercial Properties; Tom Rose, Commerce Bank; Aaron Brit, EventTree; Tim Murray, Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce; Ryan Leary, Running Start Coworking; Joe Vignaly, The Venture Forum; Ryan Canuel, Petricore