Small Business InnoLoft at Constant Contact

Tuesday Mar 25, 2014 by Josh Boyle - Contributor, VentureFizz

Constant Contact®, who helps small businesses, associations, and nonprofits connect and engage with their next great customer, client, or member, has long championed the needs of small organizations. And they’re about to take that objective a step further…

Welcome, Constant Contact’s Small Business Innovation Program, a first-of-its-kind “accelerator” program designed to support entrepreneurs as they solve problems for small businesses through the development of new products, features, and services. 

 

Chief innovation architect, Andy Miller (left) and John Kucinski, Constant Contact’s senior manager of worldwide facilities review plans inside InnoLoft. Construction is  set to be complete in June.

Chief innovation architect, Andy Miller (left) and John Kucinski, Constant Contact’s senior manager of worldwide facilities review plans inside InnoLoft. Construction is  set to be complete in June. 

 

The program, also known as SMB InnofLoft, is set to kick off in Q3 2014, but the deadline for entrepreneurs to apply is rapidly approaching – MARCH 31st.

Startups and entrepreneurs can submit their video application directly on smbinnoloft.com and there are some specific requirements listed in their FAQ section. Most importantly, startups must create solutions that fuel small businesses success. I spoke with InnoLoft to get some clarification on the application process – here’s what needs to be done:

  • Provide a 1-minute video introducing the team (this can be a subset of the team).  If you are a product company, provide a 1-minute video demo of your product. Please only post a video demo of your product or prototype. Videos longer than 1 minute will not be viewed. Submit the video as a YouTube or Vimeo URL. Do not password protect your video (you should be able to make it non-public/unlisted so that only directly visiting the URL show the video).
  • Applicants can also submit a written description of their product/service if they don’t have a video.

A Selection Committee composed of a mix of Constant Contact and industry technology and marketing experts will choose the future participants of InnoLoft. The exact number of startups/entrepreneurs being accepted is undecided, but it will be kept small (3-5) to maximize return for participants. Further specifics on the committee such as names and number of members are not being released at this time.

So, what is the draw for the entrepreneurs? Why should you being getting your application in this week? Startups selected to participate in this inaugural program will receive the following: 

  • 4 months residence at the new 30,000 square foot Small Business Innovation Loft center at the Constant Contact headquarters in Waltham, MA
  • Access to a group of small businesses that have opted in to trying new offerings
  • $10,000 for marketing activities with coaching from Constant Contact marketing experts on how best to spend those dollars
  • Mentorship from and access to members of the angel and venture communities
  • Opportunity to work side-by-side with a group of early stage startups that all share a commitment to making small businesses successful.

If those aren’t reason enough, perhaps Chief Innovation Architect, Andy Miller’s take on the inspiration behind InnoLoft will make your decision easier:

“We know there are startups that share Constant Contact’s passion to help small businesses – but they don’t necessarily have the resources or knowhow to translate that passion into a successful, scalable solution for small businesses. The Small Business Innovation Program came out of the recognition that if any company has the resources and experience to help grow such like-minded entrepreneurs and startups, it’s us here at Constant Contact.”

Constant Contact has been helping small businesses grow and succeed since 1998. And they’ve done quite well with it. So if you’re building a company focused on fueling small businesses, Andy Miller’s point is a good one. Who better to help you get there then Constant Contact’s SMB InnoLoft?

And remember the program is accepting applications until March 31. For more information and to apply visit: http://smbinnoloft.com

 

Josh Boyle is Co-founder, BrandMatch Score and Contributor, VentureFizz.  You can follow him on Twitter: @jb_sid.

 

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