Venture 54 was established as a result of a study performed by the CESI director, Prof. Keith D. Moon. The study was commissioned by the Southern New Hampshire Regional Planning Commission as part of the regional economic development plan for the southern NH region. The study indicated that the region should be focused on the development of “professional, technical, and scientific” type companies. These types of companies are known as “Sector 54” companies per the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS). This became the basis for the name (Venture54) of the business accelerator operated by CESI and the School of Business at Southern New Hampshire University.
The Business Accelerator Concept
Business acceleration is not to be confused with business incubation. Business incubation involves the physical “housing” of firms in an environment that nurtures and supports them during the early years of their existence. Recognizing that the southern region of NH already has in existence the state’s oldest business incubator, located in Manchester, NH, it was decided to establish a business accelerator to assist these Sector 54 startups. A business accelerator offers necessary support services, as in the incubator concept, but does not physically “house” the firms. CESI and other regional service providers offer these support services such as training programs and consulting services to these startup companies.
Venture54: How it works
Venture54 firms meet at the SNHU School of Business on the first Thursday of every month beginning in October of 2011 from 6-8PM. The night begins with a networking session among those in attendance. The networking session is followed by a short presentation by a speaker on a topic of interest to Sector54 type firms. The evening concludes with what is known as a “speed consulting” session. This part of the evening is when attendees are able to meet briefly with various business owners and service providers from the region and receive answers to questions they may have regarding their business. Cost per session is $20 for non-CESI members. CESI members attend free or at reduced rates as part of their membership package. Non-CESI members are encouraged to attend.