courtesy of Northeast Collaborative Architects and Studio Troika

The effort to transform one of Newport’s former elementary schools into a hub for entrepreneurs is coming into focus, as Innovate Newport announced today that Towerhill Associates, a leading technology search firm with offices in Middletown and San Francisco, will be among an exciting class of anchor tenants due to call the former school building home. 

Founded in 2008 by Jamestown natives Josh and Jared Furtado, Towerhill Associates has positioned itself as a household name in high tech circles from Boston to Silicon Valley, connecting employers with top talent in the Clean Tech, High Tech, and Life Sciences industries. 

The company, which currently employs 10 people including a four-person team in San Francisco, recently signed a Letter of Intent to relocate to a 700 square foot space at Innovate Newport where they’ll join other long-term tenants yet to be announced when the building opens in early 2019. 

The announcement comes as work to transform the former Sheffield Elementary School into a focal point for the Greater Newport region’s high tech economy enters into the home stretch. 

“We’re extremely excited to welcome Towerhill Associates to the Innovate Newport community,” said Tuni Schartner, Innovate Newport’s Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. “While their roots are here on Aquidneck Island, they’re recognized throughout the startup and high tech community as one of the best in the business.”

Towerhill Associates CEO Josh Furtado said that his team is looking forward to relocating from their Valley Road headquarters, where for the last several years they’ve also operated Spire Space, Aquidneck Island’s first dedicated coworking facility. 

“Tracking and supporting innovation in the industries we serve has been one of the founding principles for Towerhill. So, when we first heard of the Sheffield School project we knew we wanted to be a part of it,” he said. “Innovate Newport has the potential to be really disruptive for not just the island, but the entire tech/start-up ecosystem in RI; we are thrilled to be in at the beginning!” 

The Newport County Chamber of Commerce – which along with the City of Newport and the Economic Development Foundation of Rhode Island, has been a primary partner in the project – will also be moving their operations to Innovate Newport. 

“Towerhill Associates is an excellent local small business with extensive talent and growth potential,” said Newport County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Erin Donovan-Boyle. “We are so proud of the Furtados who have built this business in Newport County.  They could be anywhere in the world but choose to be here in their home town, which is a testament to the quality of life and accessibility to talent right in our own backyard.  They are a perfect fit for Innovate Newport!”

“The interest level we’ve seen at Innovate Newport has surpassed our expectations,” said Newport City Manager Joseph Nicholson. “Towerhill Associates has proven themselves to be a leader in the high tech recruiting space and is an ideal fit for the space. Not only do they work closely with high tech job seekers, but they’re also interfacing on a daily basis with precisely the types of companies we’re hoping to attract to Newport.”

Located within the City’s planned North End Innovation District, Innovate Newport is part of a strategic portfolio of projects intended to bolster the Greater Newport region’s high tech economy. Once open, it will serve as a base for both established companies like Towerhill Associates as well as entrepreneurs and start-ups through shared coworking memberships designed to spark innovation and foster community.

As a joint initiative of the City of Newport; the Newport County Development Council; and The Economic Development Foundation of Rhode Island, Innovate Newport is currently on track for a February 2019 opening. 

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