Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Spotlight: New Haven-Milford, CT

New Haven-Milford, CT

Known as one of the U.S.A’s first planned cities, New Haven-Milford CT continues to thrive with innovation. As of 2019, they’ve been recognized as an ideal location for tech startups.

New Haven-Milford, CT are two cities along the state’s coastline. New Haven is the state’s second-largest city after Bridgeport, while Milford is the 11th-largest. As the country’s first planned city and a former co-capital of Connecticut, New Haven has a long history of being an economic and political hub for the state. And despite its smaller size and shorter history, Milford is a valuable part of the New Haven metropolitan area and financial ecosystem.

In 2017, a study done by Verizon listed New Haven as the best city in the country to launch a tech startup. More recently in 2019, Verizon released a ranking of the most innovative metro areas in the country that included New Haven-Milford at 49th. Milford also made an appearance, albeit a relatively low one, on WalletHub’s 2019 rankings of the best small cities to start a business. Finally, while WalletHub’s rankings of the best and worst states to start a business had Connecticut all the way down at 48th overall, the state did have a ranking of 4th in the “Access to Resources” category.

 Based on these rankings, FundingSage has reviewed the resources that make up New Haven-Milford’s entrepreneurial ecosystem:

Entrepreneurial Meetups:

While this networking group is based in Bridgeport, it encourages professionals and entrepreneurs from the surrounding areas to join.

Founded in 2009, the Empower Business Connection meetup group has hosted networking events throughout the state. There is a branch located in New Haven.

New Haven is home to one of a number of branches of Network After Work. This is a large networking organization that caters to over 5 million members nationwide.

On the second Friday of every month, the Shoreline Business Forum meets to discuss a variety of business topics led by a pair of professional business coaches.


Regular Entrepreneurial Events:

One of the premier events hosted by the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce, The Big Connect is a major small business expo held annually.

Every year, the CT Entrepreneur Awards is hosted to honor the best and most promising entrepreneurs from around the state of Connecticut.

The Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce organizes a variety of events, from regular networking opportunities to annual business-focused signature events.


Startup Competitions:

CTNext is an organization that supports entrepreneurship around the state. They run a competition that rewards its winners with grants of up to $10,000.

Yale University hosts Startup Yale – a three-day entrepreneurship competition that rewards four $25,000 prizes to entrepreneurs in four categories.

Hosted at the University of New Haven’s television studio, Pitch Perfect is a competition that invites college students from around the state to pitch their startups.

Startups around Connecticut can compete in VentureClash This is a major competition for digital health, fintech, insurtech and industry 4.0 companies with finals held at Yale West Campus.


Co-working Spaces:

Located in downtown New Haven, Agora is a co-working space that offers offices and meeting spaces to its members in addition to hosting regular networking and social events.

District in New Haven offers traditional co-working spaces as well as office space for rent, ranging from 1,250 to 50,000 square feet.

Regus, a collection of co-working offices around the country, has a number of affiliated locations in New Haven-Milford.



The Milford Public Library offers Brain Station, a small-scale makerspace and production studio staffed entirely by volunteers.

Among the resources offered by JCC of Greater New Haven is a makerspace that hosts workshops and classes for makers of all ages.

MakeHaven is a large makerspace in New Haven that offers a variety of classes and workshops. Moreover, they also host regular events that are free and open to the public.

Students, faculty, and staff at Yale University have access to the Yale Center for Engineering, Innovation and Design, a makerspace with a variety of workshops and labs.



Headquartered in New Haven, BioCT works to support bioscience research and companies throughout the state.

Though it is headquartered in East Hartford, the Connecticut Small Business Development Center has locations across the state to help small businesses launch and grow.

HealthHavenHub is a non-profit organization that organizes a number of resources to support healthcare-based startups in New Haven and the surrounding areas.

One of several programs by HealthVenture, HealthVenture Labs is a 12-month incubator program for early- and seed-stage startups.



The Accelerator for Bioscience in Connecticut is a six-month accelerator program that supports promising bioscience startups across the state.

Collab works to support traditionally underrepresented entrepreneurs in Connecticut by running both a general accelerator program and a food business incubator.

The Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale organizes a number of programs, including both one-off events as well as several accelerator programs.



Gateway Community College in New Haven has a variety of programs in business and related fields, including both an associate’s degree and certificate program in entrepreneurial studies.

The University of New Haven’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program works to support entrepreneurship from students both in and out of the classroom.

Students at Yale University have a wide variety of programs and resources made available to them. Overall, the goal is to support entrepreneurship and small business.


Angel Groups/VCs:

Elm Street Ventures is a venture capital firm in New Haven that invests in seed and early-stage startups, with a focus on the life sciences industry.

Based in New Haven, HealthVenture is an organization that runs a number of programs to support health technology entrepreneurs, including an early- and seed-stage venture fund.

New Haven is home to one of LaunchCapital’s four locations across the country. They help companies invest in the nation’s most promising seed-stage companies.


Entrepreneurial Newsletter Coverage:

The Connecticut Business & Industry Association offers a variety of newsletters covering business and entrepreneurial news from around the state and in New Haven-Milford.

The Hartford Business Journal offers newsletters shared by New Haven Biz and covers business news from around the state.

In addition to offering both online and print subscriptions, New Haven Biz has a variety of newsletters with different focuses in the city’s business scene.


Are you familiar with entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure in New Haven-Milford, CT not included in the article above?  If so, let us know via a comment below and we will add it to the article. 

Interested in Ecosystem Spotlights of other cities in the USA?

Boston, MABuffalo, NY, Hartford, CT,

Quinn Pilkey

Quinn is a journalism major at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He also serves as a freelance author for Hashtag Basketball where he writes about the NBA's Charlotte Hornets and at FundingSage where he researches and writes about entrepreneurial ecosystems.