Updated March 30 at 12:29am

“Founders League” to strengthen R.I.’s entrepreneurial environment


PROVIDENCE – The Founders League, created through a partnership with the Betaspring, the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, Brown University and the University of Rhode Island, will strengthen Rhode Island’s entrepreneurial environment by expanding programs for high growth startups and entrepreneurs, the partners announced Wednesday.

The “Founders League,” which is building on a program that was initially launched by the R.I. Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, will offer community, space and programming for entrepreneurs of all stages.

“A strong community of mentors, peers and resources is vital to helping student and faculty entrepreneurs take their ideas from dream to reality,” URI President David Dooley said in a statement. “Investing in a platform that creates and sustains those connections is one of the smartest investments we can make in our economic future.”

Providence-based startup accelerator Betaspring will provide leadership and a physical space for the platform at its 95 Chestnut St. headquarters. Starting this Fall, the accelerator plans to roll-out “entrepreneur-centric activities” including community coworking, educational programming and networking events.

Betaspring will also be involved in creating the League’s long-term operating plan, along with a committee of representatives from the partner organizations and leaders from the state’s entrepreneur community.

“Many positive things have happened in the startup community over the last few years and the community is stronger and more connected than ever before. It’s great now to build on that momentum and apply what we have learned to help a broader community of founders and entrepreneurs in Rhode Island,” Betaspring managing partner and co-founder Allan Tear said in prepared remarks.

During the next 12-weeks, the steering committee plans to meet with groups of entrepreneurs, mentors and community partners in order to solicit input on how the League’s platform can be deployed to “support the sustained growth of a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem in Rhode Island,” according to a release.

Guiding principles for the platform include providing a physical space for the entrepreneurs and creating a co-working community, attracting and connecting students, formulating a self-sustaining business model within three years, enhancing programming and engaging more entrepreneurs.

The Founders League hopes to engage other universities and colleges in the area and businesses from across Rhode Island that want to support the effort.

As of now, the Founders League is planning an official launch event for December.


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