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Updated: April 6, 2020 / 2020 Women in Business Awards

Schlossberg’s Upward helps reinvigorate Hartford

Photo | J. Fiereck Photogrphy
Shana Schlossberg Q&A
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Shana Schlossberg, CEO and founder of Upward in Hartford, originally thought she would be a physician because she wanted to help people.

But she also had a passion for the tech world and realized she could also help people that way.

“People go into medicine because they want to save lives,” Schlossberg said. “Tech can also save lives. Today, I get to really impact people.”

Schlossberg was a senior business analyst/project manager at Hewlett-Packard after Sept. 11 and her company took part in an emergency-communication program that helped increase response times for emergency responders with the New York Fire Department.

“Since then I was attracted to projects that made a difference,” Schlossberg said.

Schlossberg said tech also impacts lives by providing jobs and saving cities.

At Upward, an innovation hub that she founded in 2017, her goal has been to reinvigorate Hartford through strategic public-private collaboration.

Right now, there are 60 different businesses — ranging from health, education and real estate startups — that are members of the space, or in one of the programs.

At least 30 have taken part in Upward programs overall, she said.

Upward offers companies a chance to live and work in downtown Hartford while fine-tuning their technologies as they collaborate with more established businesses like Hartford HealthCare and Hilton Hartford.

“The new needs the old and the old needs the new,” she said.

Schlossberg knew nothing about Hartford back in 2016 but it was apparent that it had a way to go, she said.

“It wasn’t thriving economically,” Schlossberg said.

Back then, she had to convince startups to come to Hartford.

“We were dragging them by their ears,” she said. Now, they are coming on their own. They ask questions, but it’s not as difficult to get them to come as it had been originally.

“Over three years ago, I visited for the first time, and what I saw got me excited,” Schlossberg said, referring to when she saw the 27,000-square-foot space at 20 Church St., where the company is located.

Upward expanded more than one year ago to 34,000 square feet, she said.

“I saw tech as an opportunity to revive the city,” she said, adding that Upward is a pioneer in Hartford’s revitalization efforts.

Last year, included Upward on a list highlighting top co-working spaces, noting the space is “ideal for those looking to collaborate.”

Her goal now is to continue the model of reinvigorating cities through tech and innovation that she began in Hartford and bring it to other cities. She said she’s in discussions with other cities throughout the country.

“If the city has energy and movement, people come,” she said.

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