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Celebrating Female Entrepreneurship — Year One of The Refinery

refineryctEntrepreneurial ideas on dating, exercise, local retail and global social education were on display this past Thursday (11/19/14) as The Refinery , a brand new female-centric startup accelerator founded by Janis Collins and Jennifer Gabler held its final pitch night to wrap up its inaugural session. A packed house at The Westport Library heard presentations from the 9 participating teams and a panel of judges selected Nancy Slotnick’s MatchmakerCafe  as the winner of a $10K grant. The Angel Investor Forum awarded a separate $1K award to Amy Barnouw’s Planet Fuel (healthy drinks and snacks).

Investing in female-founded startups is a strategy to out-perform the market.

Angel investor Adam Quinton kicked off the high-energy evening with insights and analysis from his angel investing experiences (10 of Adam’s 12 Lucas Point Ventures investments have female founders or co-founders). Adam feels that investing in female run startups is an opportunity for smart investors. To hear more of Adam’s insights, you can watch his recent appearance as a guest at our monthly Tech and Venture Brown Bag event here, or read his recent blog here.

The Stamford Innovation Center is a proud sponsor of The Refinery, along with the Westport Library, Sunrise (Westport) Rotary and CTNext/CT Innovations. And SIC managing partner Barry Schwimmer, education leader Lesley Stroll, and CMO Peter Propp were all mentors to teams.

Hard work, great startup mentors, impressive startup ideas.

Like any accelerator, there was a great deal of hard work and soul searching by the startup teams.

Full House at the Refinery

Full House at the Refinery Demo Night

There was great instruction and insightful presentations and workshops from a variety of seasoned local experts in topics including finance, branding, product strategy, marketing, etc. The And there was often frustration as the teams worked to craft their story to include important insights. The final two weeks were a flurry of writing and re-writing presentations to be clear, focused, thought-provoking, and most of all, investable.

To learn more about the remarkable startups and founders who comprised the first class at the Refinery, click here.

And to apply for the next season of The Refinery, click here.

To The Refinery teams, we hope you will always consider the Stamford Innovation Center part of your support team.  Whether you come here for a class, a meeting, some coworking, or to tell a triumphant success story. We wish you the very best as you pursue your dreams.

To Janis and Jen, we applaud your efforts and energy and look forward to our future collaboration. Thank you for working so hard to make Connecticut a great place for female entrepreneurs.

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