I am 24 years old, and I just decided to move to Hartford.
It would seem that is not a normal thing to say, or at least many find it to be a surprising choice. The reasons I decided to move here — move back really — would benefit from some context.
I am not new to the Hartbeat. In fact, in May 2012, I graduated from Trinity College. So for the previous four years, interrupted only by long summer breaks back home in suburban Boston and five months studying abroad in London, I got to know this city bit by bit.
After I graduated, I had an amazing opportunity to spend 13 months working for an organization called Grassroot Soccer that uses sport-centered interventions to help stop the spread of HIV in southern Africa. I was based in Cape Town, South Africa, and there I saw a great many young people using their creativity to start their own businesses in the vast open landscape of post-apartheid South Africa.
My closest friends, knowing how much I loved spending the time I did in global hot spots such as London and Cape Town, are almost always surprised when I tell them I have moved back to Hartford. I most often get in response, "Hartford?"
I really did make an effort to get off campus to see and get around all different parts of the city when I was here. I am aware that this does not match the reputation of Trinity's student body. Good friends and I would go on long exploratory runs throughout the city. On a given day we might cross the jail-cell-like pedestrian bridge over I-91 in the North Meadows that takes you away from a cracked parking lot and drops you into the beautiful riverfront park, or we might weave among and between the then mostly empty buildings of the former Colt Armory manufacturing complex.
In the five years since I was introduced to Hartford, my fondness for the city and the reason I am drawn to it continues to grow. What I found while exploring was not much, but what I saw while exploring is why I have come back. What I saw most was tremendous opportunity.
That opportunity is why I have decided to return. Maybe within the capitalist ecosystem we live in it is just my mind's entrepreneurial spirit that sees opportunity where others might see a boarded-up brownstone, or a poorly kept park. I am not alone, however, in seeing this opportunity for Connecticut's capital. In the year I have been gone, support for entrepreneurs and new businesses has blossomed and this support was an extra impetus to return.

Now that I'm back, I have joined other like minded individuals in reSET's Social Enterprise Accelerator program located on Pratt Street. Its "mission is to promote, preserve and protect social enterprise, and to help entrepreneurs leverage the power of business to create public good." All of the individuals in the program are attempting to start businesses that both make a profit and create a social benefit. These types of businesses are needed in Hartford and all over the world.

I could have gone anywhere in the world. I chose to come to Hartford because I saw real opportunity here. I will stay because the community continues to support the opportunity that Hartford offers.