New "Innovation Loft" Helps Launch Startups

There's a new contest to help small business owners solve problems and find mentors for their startups.

Digital marketing firm Constant Contact, announced the launch of the Small Business Innovation Loft (SMB InnoLoft), the home to a new Small Business Innovation program designed to support entrepreneurs as they solve problems for small businesses through the development of new products, features, and services.

Startups selected for the program will reside at a new SMB InnoLoft space at Constant Contact's Massachusetts headquarters and will receive resources and mentorship to build their early-stage startups. The SMB InnoLoft is now accepting submissions until March 31 to participate in the inaugural class of startups scheduled to begin in the summer.

"We've created a culture where the number one goal is helping small businesses succeed," said Andy Miller, chief innovation architect at Constant Contact.

"While many entrepreneurs share our passion, bringing a new idea to market is not easy. So, wow, what a powerful opportunity to bring together entrepreneurial innovation and ideas with the technology and small business marketing expertise of Constant Contact. The Small Business Innovation program will serve entrepreneurs in a unique way -- through a combination of mentoring, insider access, and real dollars, all backed by the power of the leading small business marketing partner."

Unlike other "accelerator" programs, the Small Business Innovation program is focused on helping entrepreneurs scale their business. With a commitment to rapid learning and collaboration, the program will provide participants with mentoring from marketing and technology experts as well as members of the Angel and venture capital communities over the course of their four-month tenure. In addition, participants receive:

  • Dedicated office and meeting space in the SMB InnoLoft
  • Access to a group of small businesses that have opted in to trying new offerings
  • $10,000 to spend on marketing activities, with coaching from Constant Contact marketing experts on how best to spend those dollars
  • Prriority access to and support from Constant Contact's AppConnect integration team

"We couldn't be more excited to get to work with our first class of entrepreneurs," said Miller. "Innovation to ignite our small business customers' success is at the heart of everything we do at Constant Contact and was the driving force behind our decision to launch the SMB InnoLoft. The space will provide our internal team of innovators and developers a place to collaborate, test ideas, and create new value for our customers. Working side-by-side, we're confident that our internal team and the Small Business Innovation program participants will learn from each other and collaborate to drive innovation that benefits small businesses everywhere."