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NEW: Verizon Supports RI Startups with Founders League Sponsorship

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


The Founders League, a new platform to strengthen Rhode Island's entrepreneurial ecosystem, has announced that Verizon has become a lead sponsor of the effort for 2013. Verizon's sponsorship of $10,000 will be instrumental in the platform's first year of operations.

"The Founders League presents an exciting opportunity for Rhode Island to capitalize on the skills and talents of our young entrepreneurs and we at Verizon are very proud to be a part of it," said Donna C. Cupelo, region president of Verizon New England. "Our company is focused on creating partnerships with people and organizations that can help us solve some of society's most challenging problems. Founders League is an ideal place for us to be involved. We're grateful for the opportunity and looking forward to getting started."

“Having Verizon’s support will be a great way to encourage business entrepreneurs to become more engaged in the community” said Melissa Withers, Chief of Staff for Betaspring and a member of the leadership team that is overseeing the Founders League launch.

The Founders League

The Founders League, created through a partnership between Betaspring, the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, University of Rhode Island and Brown University, offers community, space and programming where entrepreneurs at all stages of development can find inspiration and support. Since its launch, the Founders League has embarked on a series of entrepreneur-led programs and events, opened a coworking community, and is developing a long-term, financially sustainable model for the platform's future. Since January, the group has offered programming to more than 300 entrepreneurs and welcomed more than 50 people from 30 different startups into its growing coworking community.

"Verizon's sponsorship is valuable to the Founders League on many levels. Beyond the financial support they have provided, having a direct connection to Verizon's technical expertise and innovation pipeline is very valuable to many startups in Rhode Island," said Owen Johnson, a lead partner in the launch of the Founders League. "Verizon is a significant investor in our state's economy and it's great to have them as partners in our work to support Rhode Island entrepreneurs and startups."

Founders League guiding principles

The Founders League has established six guiding principles for how they will transform Rhode Island's entrepreneurial ecosystem. They are:

Create an iconic physical nexus. Place matters. Creating synergies and circulation are among the most important components of successful entrepreneurial communities and their support platforms.

Create a Co-working community. Co-working communities provide entrepreneurs with access to a strong community of peers and a physical space to work that is conducive to entrepreneurial success.

Attract and connect students. Students represent an important resource and a key asset in Rhode Island's effort to build a strong entrepreneurial community. The Founders League is building on current efforts to offer a special track for students that adapts and responds to their needs, interests, and social behaviors.

Deploy a self-sustaining business model. The Founders League must operate with a model that allows for sustainability and longterm growth.

Enhanced programming. The Founders League is offering a continuum of programming and services to match the wide spectrum of needs within Rhode Island's entrepreneurial and start-up community.

Engage more entrepreneurs. The Founders League places strong emphasis on creating a dynamic and activated environment that attracts and meets the needs of a diverse community of high-growth entrepreneurs.


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