With an entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for supporting locally sourced artisans, Donald Pendagast transitioned the business concept he created while earning his Master of Business Administration at the University of Connecticut into Curated CT. MetroHartford Alliance Content Manager Nan Price spoke with Donald about his experience launching a startup in Hartford and the importance of supporting local businesses.

NAN PRICE: You developed the business concept while you were at UConn.

DONALD PENDAGAST: Right. Curated CT was born out of the full-time MBA program at UConn and heavily supported through the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CCEI) and folks like CCEI Director Jennifer Murphy, who are just amazing.

NAN: In addition to UConn, what other local resources have you tapped into?

DONALD: The networking piece has been terrific. That’s how you and I met, through our mutual friend Victoria Parisi, who has a lot of entrepreneurial experience. And, through you, I met with and formally joined the Hartford Chamber of Commerce, which has been an incredible opportunity leading to even more conversations. I’ve been meeting different people who want to engage with Curated CT as customers and connecting with other business owners.

Our businesses don’t exist without the artisans and makers and growers and doers out there. And there’s so much I don’t even know about, which is what makes these connections so exciting. Working with the Chamber is a long-term relationship. I joined through the promotional membership, but I’m definitely going to renew in January 2021.

Also, I was recently accepted in the reSET Impact Accelerator 2021 cohort, which kicks off in January. I’m looking forward to the structure it will provide to help us understand ways to deliver more “local moments” to our customers while engaging with and giving back to our communities.

NAN: So, there’s a lot of opportunity.

DONALD: It’s exiting! Collaboration is available on so many levels.

The more people I meet—whether through networking or mutual friends—the more I see the Curated CT concept being embraced, which is very validating. I’m making new friends and excited about all the potential collaboration. On every level, launching this startup has been an amazing opportunity.

Read the entire interview at Innovation Destination Hartford

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