By Joshua Cyr, Director of Education and Acceleration at Alpha Loft
It is easy for many of us to read remarkable headlines about amazing startups seemingly born overnight and think that it must be easy. You just need a good idea and presto instant fame and millions of dollars! Such stories make for great news and it’s certainly natural to share these stories on social media. The reality, however, is that those overnight successes took many years and most startups never last that long.
Entrepreneurs creating startups, commonly called founders, have numerous obstacles in their path. Founders of startups often joke about the roller coaster ride they’re on. The thrilling highs from launching the product, landing the first customer, or discovering an important insight, help to propel them through the really tough lows. When starting a high growth company many entrepreneurs wear dozens of hats, work in near isolation, have too little money and too many questions. Questions persist for a founder about functionality, acquiring customers, path to market, product market fit, pricing, ever shifting technology and more.
The good news is that numerous resources are available to founders of startups. Founders have access to technology that greatly reduces the costs of not just getting started but also measuring and growing a company. In New Hampshire founders have organizations, such as Alpha Loft, that provide space, community, educational events, incubation, and more. With Alpha Loft space available in Durham, Portsmouth, and Manchester, entrepreneurs can meet talented peers with whom to bounce ideas, make connections, and find inspiration.
Starting this year Alpha Loft has a new resource to offer New Hampshire startups. We call it Accelerate NH and it is New Hampshire’s first startup accelerator. Accelerate NH is a highly focused program to propel a small cohort of startups forward over a three month period. We provide cash, mentorship, programming, space, and much more. We are accepting applicants who will base their startup in NH and welcome founders with focus on a wide range of industries and product types. The program culminates in a big demo day event where our program members showcase their startups to investors, dignitaries, peers, and media.
Some might wonder why it is important to have an accelerator. Before New Hampshire had an accelerator, great ideas and talent had to leave the state in order to participate in similar programs. This is not an option for many founders and it is bad for New Hampshire in many ways. New Hampshire Center for Public Policy’s recent report shows trends of talent leaving our state and not enough talent moving in to make up the difference causing concerns in many sectors of government, business, healthcare, and education. Encouraging business creation and growth in New Hampshire will help. Accelerators provide a magnet for investment, talent, and entrepreneurial activity and build better outcomes for the startups participating. We have seen remarkable successes from accelerators in California, New York, and Massachusetts showing higher success rates and greater growth for participating startups. It is time for New Hampshire to join the ranks and support its talented entrepreneurs.
The application period for Accelerate NH is open until February 1st. Learn more and apply at http://alphaloft.org
About the Author: Joshua Cyr is the Director of Education and Acceleration at Alpha Loft. Joshua has previously worked in marketing agencies and co-founded a commercial CMS company, Savvy Software, serving as its primary software developer. Joshua serves on the City of Portsmouth’s Economic Development Commission (EDC). In the past Joshua has been a founder of the eCoast, run web developer conferences on cruise ships, served on the board of The Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce and WSCA Community Radio, and was Board President of Pro Portsmouth. He can be found on twitter @jcyr or email firstname.lastname@example.org