1. Articles in category: Entrepreneurship

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    1. Women Innovators & Trailblazers Helps Grow the Women-led Economy

      Women Innovators & Trailblazers Helps Grow the Women-led Economy

      Lenore Abare was familiar with Valley Venture Mentors (VVM) and even attended one of its events when she was dabbling with the idea of becoming an entrepreneur a few years ago. “It all stayed in the back of my mind,” she said. “Now that I’m full-blown running my own consulting business, I knew it would be really important to align with other like-minded women who are hopefully beyond me, and learn from other people’s experiences.” So she reached out to Women Innovators & Trailblazers, a VVM-affiliated program that matches professional women in mentor-mentee relationships. She was accepted into the ...

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    2. Baker, Sarno join Springfield roundtable discussion on local entrepreneurship

      Baker, Sarno join Springfield roundtable discussion on local entrepreneurship

      Governor Baker continued his visit to western Massachusetts Tuesday, joining Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and other city leaders for a roundtable discussion at Valley Ventures. The discussion centered on the vital role entrepreneurs play in building up the western Massachusetts economy. The Western Mass Economic Development Council, Valley Venture Mentors and Western Mass Founders Network were among attendees. The discussion was aimed at bringing awareness to successful economic developments in Greater Springfield, like the EDC’s anchor collaborative. This initiative, as Chief Development Officer Tim Sheehan explains, connects larger anchor institutions, such as universities and other big-employers, with small-business owners.

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    3. EforAll Berkshire County Awards Prizes to Accelerator Companies

      EforAll Berkshire County Awards Prizes to Accelerator Companies

      Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) Berkshire County awarded nearly $10,000 in prizes to the Spring 2022 Business Accelerator Cohort at a recent awards ceremony held on Zoom. The celebration and gala began with remarks from state Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, who emphasized the robust public-private partnership that supports EforAll’s regional efforts and lauded the efforts of the 12 businesses that completed the program.

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    4. Western Mass Founders Network holds first demo day

      Western Mass Founders Network holds first demo day

      The Western Mass Founders Network celebrated fifteen western Massachusetts business startups Tuesday. The Western Mass Founders Network held its first demo day Tuesday evening with participating startups representing the organization’s peer mentoring program. “The entrepreneurs who have been participating in this program have been meeting in pairs at around table on a monthly basis and we have connected them with mentors of experts that have really been able to help them launch their businesses. These are already established businesses that are trying to take their business to the next level in Western Mass,” said Ross Gibaldi, Executive Director of ...

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      Mentions: Springfield
    5. Western Mass Founders Network Announces First Demo Day

      Western Mass Founders Network Announces First Demo Day

      The Western Mass Founders Network announced its first demo day will be held June 14, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Valley Venture Mentors’ facility in Springfield. The participating startups represent the inaugural cohort of the organization’s peer mentoring program. The Western Mass Founders Network Demo Day is the culmination of an eight-month program for startups with high-growth potential based in Western Mass. Over the course of the program, cohort companies have participated in peer roundtables to discuss common challenges and enjoyed one-to-one mentorship from seasoned entrepreneurs and executives with experience growing innovative companies to scale. The demo ...

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    6. The Important Work of Mentoring

      The Important Work of Mentoring

      Over the years, we’ve written many times about the entrepreneurship ecosystem in this region and its importance to economic development in the four western counties. This is an area dominated by small businesses, and it always will be, with growth coming organically, rather by recruiting the likes of a General Electric (bad example, given what’s happened to that company) or a Smith & Wesson (OK, that’s another bad example and a rather sore subject.) But you get the point. This is a region that needs to consistently encourage entrepreneurship, but also providing a support system for those inspired ...

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    7. For Mentors of Entrepreneurs, There are Many Kinds of Rewards

      For Mentors of Entrepreneurs, There are Many Kinds of Rewards

      There are many components to the region’s entrepreneurship ecosystem, perhaps none more important than the small army of mentors who are passing on what they know to a growing number of people looking to work for themselves instead of someone else. They impart to these entrepreneurs everything from the importance of understanding a spreadsheet to the notion that failure is … well, not unexpected and something to be learned from.

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    8. Winners of Elevator Pitch Competition, Alumni Award Announced

      Winners of Elevator Pitch Competition, Alumni Award Announced

      Before an audience of more than 200 guests, including college presidents, faculty, entrepreneurs, and students, three students among 12 contestants from area colleges were selected as winners of the annual Live Elevator Pitch Contest on Wednesday at the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House.  The event, featuring a 90-second pitch, was part of the Grinspoon Entrepreneurship Initiative “Celebration of Entrepreneurial Spirit.”  

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      Mentions: Holyoke
    9. Entrepreneurship Program Seeking Volunteers for Summer

      Entrepreneurship Program Seeking Volunteers for Summer

      The Pioneer Valley’s local entrepreneurship program EforAll is actively seeking volunteers to mentor aspiring entrepreneurs as part of the summer Business Accelerator program.  Accelerator mentors come from a variety of backgrounds and use their business and leadership experience to guide new entrepreneurs through the process of turning their idea into a growing business.

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      Mentions: Holyoke
    10. Now Part of the Edc, Vvm Continues to Evolve and Grow

      Now Part of the Edc, Vvm Continues to Evolve and Grow

      Valley Venture Mentors has long had a singular but multi-faceted mission — to promote entrepreneurship in the region and provide various forms of assistance to help business owners take their venture to the next stage. Through a new and broader affiliation with the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council, the agency has an opportunity to become, in the words of its director, even more of an advocate, a champion, and a “convener” within the region’s broad, and growing, entrepreneurship ecosystem.

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    11. Program launches to help small businesses in Springfield

      Program launches to help small businesses in Springfield

      A business development program aimed at small business owners started Tuesday in Springfield. More than 20 percent of small businesses fail in their first year and nearly half within the first five but through this program entrepreneurs receive help. “Rise Up Springfield” is a partnership between the City of Springfield’s Office of Planning and Economic Development, Valley Venture Mentors, and Interise.

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    12. Valley Venture Mentors Joins Forces with Western Massachusetts EDC

      Valley Venture Mentors Joins Forces with Western Massachusetts EDC

      The Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council (EDC) announced it has welcomed Valley Venture Mentors (VVM) into the EDC ranks as a regional leader in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. With a shared vision in stimulating and facilitating a vigorous regional economy, the EDC is committed to supporting local entrepreneurship, which ultimately leads to the acceleration of economic development and community vitalization. “VVM has played an integral role in the entrepreneur ecosystem as a leader in scaling businesses to the next level of operation, promoting innovation in every aspect of business and generating regional wealth for our local economy,” said Rick Sullivan, president ...

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    13. OnBoard Matching Event draws organizations, individuals (photos)

      OnBoard Matching Event draws organizations, individuals (photos)

      The 2021 OnBoard Matching Event took place Tuesday, Dec. 7, at Valley Venture Mentors at 276 Bridge St. OnBoard, which merged last month with United Way of Pioneer Valley, connects talented individuals with organizations seeking to increase diversity on their boards and committees. United Way of Pioneer Valley helps matches connect, and offers training and mentoring support, to help ensure matches don’t just happen, but become fruitful partnerships.

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    14. EforAll Berkshire County Plans In-person Pitch Contest on Nov. 10

      EforAll Berkshire County Plans In-person Pitch Contest on Nov. 10

      Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) Berkshire County is holding an All Ideas Pitch Contest on Wednesday, Nov. 10 at Crissey Farm, 426 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. The venue requires proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the event. EforAll held two successful in-person pitch contests at Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield in October 2019 and at the Green in North Adams in February 2020, attracting more than 100 community members and dozens of participants for each event. Three virtual pitch contests were also held during the pandemic.

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    15. EforAll/EparaTodos Holyoke Looking for Volunteers

      EforAll/EparaTodos Holyoke Looking for Volunteers

      EforAll/EparaTodos Holyoke is actively seeking both English- and Spanish-speaking volunteers to participate as mentors in the winter 2022 business accelerator program. Accelerator mentors come from a variety of backgrounds and use their business and leadership experience to guide new entrepreneurs through the process of turning their idea into a growing business. Mentors work in teams of three and are matched with an entrepreneur based on schedule availability and the desire to work together. The team meets as a group to help reaffirm topics and themes raised during classes, while also strategizing with the entrepreneur on how to reach their ...

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      Mentions: Holyoke
    16. Venture X Slates Grand Opening of Holyoke Location

      Venture X Slates Grand Opening of Holyoke Location

      Venture X®, a membership-based workspace community, will celebrate the opening of its newest location, in Holyoke, on Sept. 9. The 16,000 square-foot co-working space is located at 98 Lower Westfield Road. Venture X Holyoke invites the community to stop by on Sept. 9, from 4 to 7 p.m., to tour the business center and connect with other professionals. Venture X Holyoke provides flexible workspace solutions, IT security, and amenities. The space was built out during the pandemic, so special attention was given to the installation of high-tech air filtration system, touchless bathrooms, and keyless door-entry systems.

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      Mentions: Holyoke Westfield
    17. PeoplesBank Rewards Innovation, Entrepreneurship at Western New England University

      PeoplesBank Rewards Innovation, Entrepreneurship at Western New England University

      Western New England University (WNEU) announced the recipients of the 2021 PeoplesBank Award. The award, first given in 2020, is made possible by a grant to WNEU from PeoplesBank to advance innovation and entrepreneurship across the university and the entire Pioneer Valley ecosystem. Mary Schoonmaker, associate professor of Marketing and Entrepreneurship at Western New England, applauded the students’ spirit and innovation. “We continue to be encouraged to see the breadth of businesses that have applied for awards this year. It is rewarding to see these student-led ventures made possible through this PeoplesBank grant.”

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    18. Valley Venture Mentors’ Community Night Is Back in the Building

      Valley Venture Mentors’ Community Night Is Back in the Building

      Valley Venture Mentors (VVM) will begin to host its monthly in-person community nights starting Wednesday, July 14 at the Springfield Innovation Center. Whether a potential mentor, an entrepreneur, or just ‘startup-curious,’ an ideal way to experience VVM is to dive into a night of conversation, networking, and community building. The evening will begin at 5 p.m. with VVM’s first social gathering since March 2020, and light refreshments will be served. Attendees will then hear pitches from local entrepreneurs and startups immediately followed by breakout sessions in which the VVM community will have an opportunity to provide feedback. The ...

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    19. Hannah’s Local Art Gallery Brings Creative Energy to the Mill District

      Hannah’s Local Art Gallery Brings Creative Energy to the Mill District

      When Hannah Rechtschaffen set about to open an art gallery in Amherst’s Mill District, she didn’t envision a static space; instead, her goal was to develop a vibrant, eclectic, multi-media gallery that not only focused on local artists, but forged connections between them and the public through workshops, classes, events, and even the everyday conversations that bring to life the stories and history behind each artist and each piece. A couple weeks after the gallery’s opening, she’s optimistic those creative collisions are already happening.

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    20. Leaders Across Massachusetts Launch Mass Fintech Hub - Mass Fintech Hub

      Leaders Across Massachusetts Launch Mass Fintech Hub - Mass Fintech Hub

      Co-chaired by Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, and Mike Fanning, Head of MassMutual U.S., the Fintech Working Group established the Mass Fintech Hub, a Massachusetts-based and -led initiative that will strengthen the Commonwealth’s Fintech ecosystem and drive continued success and growth for the industry.

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      Mentions: MassMutual
    21. EforAll Holyoke

      EforAll Holyoke

      “If your dreams don’t scare you … they are not big enough.” That’s the quote, attributed to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian president, economist, and Nobel Peace Prize winner, that is stenciled onto one of the walls at EforAll Holyoke’s headquarters on High Street, in the heart of the city’s downtown. Tessa Murphy-Romboletti, executive director of this nonprofit since its inception, chose it for many reasons, but mostly because it resonates with her and also because it accurately sums up entrepreneurship in general, as well as the work that goes on in that facility.

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    22. The Year of the Entrepreneur

      The Year of the Entrepreneur

      Starting in 1996, ˆ has, at the start of each year, presented something we call the Top Entrepreneur award. We do this to pay homage to a long — as in three centuries long — tradition of entrepreneurship in Western Mass., and to recognize companies, institutions, and individuals who are carrying on that tradition today. Over the years, the winners have included traditional entrepreneurs — those leading tech companies, multi-faceted corporations, and some family-owned businesses that have been part of the landscape for decades, if not a century or more — and also some non-traditional entrepreneurs — a college president and a hospital CEO, for example.

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    23. Princeton Review Recognizes UMass Amherst for Graduate Entrepreneurship Studies

      Princeton Review Recognizes UMass Amherst for Graduate Entrepreneurship Studies

      For the first time, UMass Amherst has earned recognition in Princeton Review’s annual selection of Best Graduate Entrepreneurship Programs. In the publication’s 2021 list, the university ranks 40th among 50 colleges and universities. Based on survey data from more than 300 schools, the rankings encompass a broad range of entrepreneurial activities inside and outside the classroom. The catalyst for student entrepreneurship at UMass Amherst is the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship. The center serves the entire campus through a wealth of activities and resources.

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