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Accelerate NH great resource for startups

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 New Hampshire 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, health care 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 Feb. Learn more and apply at alphaloft.org



Joshua Cyr is the director of education and acceleration at Alpha Loft. Cyr has previously worked in marketing agencies and co-founded a commercial CMS company, Savvy Software. He serves on the city of Portsmouth’s Economic Development Commission. He can be found on twitter @jcyr or email jcyr@alphaloft.org.


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