Elizabeth Cash Hitchcock, 2022 Outstanding Women in Business recipient
Elizabeth is a Principal of Orbit Group, Owner of Adored Wifi, Developer of Factory on Willow, Co-Founder of Minim and Owner of The Bookery
For over 15 years, Hitchcock has led the New Hampshire business community as an entrepreneur, investor, small business owner and champion of the arts. She developed the Factory on Willow, a 100,000-square-foot space in Manchester for creators, innovators and entrepreneurs. She created an Artist in Residence Program at the Factory on Willow and also remains committed to making sure public art in Manchester thrives through initiatives, such as “The Riverfest Reboot” and the Manchester City Mural Project.
She also works at her family office, Orbit Group, which is mainly focused on technology startups and real estate projects. Hitchcock co-founded Minim, an internet of things (IoT) startup focused on making Wi-Fi simpler and home networks safer, and currently leads Adored, a wireless ISP, to continue to make home internet user-friendly. She is also the owner of The Bookery in Manchester, an independent bookstore and café that is an anchor to downtown Manchester retail.
Committed to strengthening New Hampshire’s startup community, she attracts additional investment dollars across several New Hampshire startup companies through her work at Write the Check, a gender-diverse leadership fund, and as the general partner of the Millworks Fund, a triple bottom-line investment fund focused on growing the New Hampshire tech ecosystem. This past year, she joined Chief, a private membership network focused on connecting and supporting women executive leaders. Her mission for all of her endeavors is to build a better community through guidance, relationships and capital.
You have multiple ongoing endeavors throughout NH — how do you manage it all?
It’s indicative of an amazing team. I have the opportunity every day to work with an amazing group, and they help us manage and service all of the different businesses that we get to work with. So, some of the nitty-gritty that I don’t get involved with, the day-to-day stuff, they’re always helping making sure things are moving along.
What advice would you have for women starting out in their careers or who may have an idea they want to put in motion?
I was lucky enough to be invited to a lot of different tables. When you’re invited to become a part of something, you should take that opportunity. It might seem frightening, but it is the best thing you can do because you’ll see amazing growth from that. You’ll be sharing ideas that you have with other people, and they’ll be sharing their ideas with you. And it’s amazing when you start to create that communication with many different people and all of the things that you can create.
When I was in the arts commission, there was this little old lady in a group I was pulling together of prominent creative organizations in the city. We were having really great conversation and it was definitely helping everybody, but we weren’t really doing anything. And this little old lady goes, “Liz, why are you doing this?”
And I was like, “Oh, I don’t know. I just think we all need to understand what’s going on.” And she goes, “You’re not going to make a difference if you just don’t do something.”
So, just do something. It might be small in your eyes, but it could be gigantic in other people’s eyes.
What current initiatives are you excited about?
Everyone is looking for an elevated technology lifestyle, and we’re getting pieces of it. There’s this entire IOT (internet of things) infrastructure that we could put in place in our homes that would make our lives so much easier, from lights turning on when you’re in proximity to doors unlocking, all of these bits and pieces that change one’s lifestyle and experiences from day to day. Adored Wifi is doing that right now. It’s all super seamless and super easy.
When I think about the total of all my work from (The Bookery) to the Factory on Willow to Minim to Adored Wifi, it’s about this experience and giving people this IOT lifestyle.
What sparked your passion to enter the technology field?
I always had a computer in my household. My grandfather was a humongous part of my upbringing, and he was a computer science person who worked for the Pentagon. He helped implement bar codes across the military services, when (people) were like, what are bar codes? Now we have QR codes. And I love that Minim now has a patent for using QR codes for setup of their devices, because it kind of hearkens back to my grandfather’s days.
What is a significant challenge or obstacle you’ve had to overcome?
I was the only child of a single parent, and finances weren’t always easy, food security wasn’t always easy. But whenever there were food security problems, we always went to (my grandfather’s) house and we were able to live in one of their houses.
Public education is 100 percent why I am here today. I had an amazing education in a very upwardly mobile community. My childhood wasn’t easy, but the influence of really amazing teachers made me who I am today.