The Refinery has rapidly emerged as one of the best accelerators for female led firms in the country. In just two years, The Refinery has helped their participants raise over $7 million dollars and they have provided over 850 hours of mentoring. I spoke with founders Janis Collins and Jennifer Gabler about how they built their program, the opportunities they see for women business owners and the future of ecosystem development. They have created The Refinery with a combination of rigorous content development, in-depth mentoring facilitation and a goal to build a strategic mini-ecosystem of resources for every participate.
Take a listen and check out the website: http://therefineryct.com
And if you get a chance check out Janis recent TEDx talk on ecosystem development: http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/Re-Tinkering-How-We-Build-and-G
Janis has been helping companies innovate, create and quickly launch new businesses for more than 25 years. First, through her own company, which focused on helping high tech startups and then later advising and funding new financial service companies. Janis has helped found and launch several companies including two non-profit organizations.
As a Consulting Partner at KPMG, Janis worked with top financial service firms, leveraging innovation techniques to recreate businesses and new electronic markets. As Managing Director at JPMorgan’s LabMorgan, she ran the financial services business incubator where they advised and funded new Financial Services Technology ventures.
Dedicated to community service, always an innovator, and creator of pragmatic solutions, Janis served on Westport’s Board of Finance, and as Chairman of Westport’s Parks and Rec, where she created an innovative public/private solution to continue the investment in the Town’s parks and recreation facilities.
Jennifer’s functional expertise is as a CFO for multiple venture backed and startup companies. She has a unique ability to manage the detail while engaged with strategy alongside CEOs, boards, financing, and strategic partners.
Jennifer’s passion for an entrepreneurial environment comes from her love of “building it from scratch.” She can walk into a brand new start up and build financial operations responsive to the goals set by management and the board of directors. When required, Jennifer is skilled at untangling existing financial problems and managing cash while a company right sizes. Her experience in financial governance and controls set clear values and directions for strategic planning, risk management, financial operations and the culture required to optimize performance.