Conference showcases collegiate entrepreneurs, venture competitions, and keynote speaker.

The sixth annual Grinspoon, Garvey & Young Entrepreneurship Conference took place Friday, November 5, 2010 at the MassMutual Convention Center in Springfield. Over 430 students representing 12 area colleges attended the event, which included hands-on workshops, entrepreneur exhibits, and a keynote speaker.

Organized by the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation, the Entrepreneurship Conference is held annually to inspire, motivate, and support college students to turn their ideas into small businesses. The conference also features the stories and experience of "alumni" from the Entrepreneurship program.

Students began the day with a "Team Venture Creation" competition. Students worked in teams representing several colleges and universities to creatively come up with an idea for new venture.

Breakout sessions included:

  • The Shark Tank---90 Second Pitches with Judges
  • Show Me the Money and Keep Me out of Jail
  • Key Resources for the Successful Entrepreneur and Strategic Branding
  • Creating a Brand to Make a Difference
The Shark Tank was a local take on the national television show of the same name. Local judges provided budding entrepreneurs with immediate feedback on their new business concepts.

The keynote speaker was Stacey Bilodeau, founder of Independent Solutions LLC. Independent Solutions was started three years ago by Bilodeau to serve the home health care needs of traumatic brain injury patients. It has grown from 14 to 33 employees in that time, and it is projected to have revenues of $1 million in 2010. Bilodeau is a current Bay Path College Student and a recipient of a Grinspoon Entrepreneurial Spirit Award.

The Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation's Entrepreneurship Initiative was established to encourage young people to innovate by creating businesses that contribute to economic opportunity and growth in the Pioneer Valley.

Full scholarships to attend the event were provided by the major sponsors, which included the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation, AAA of the Pioneer Valley, National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance, and Northwestern Mutual Financial Network. Participating colleges included American International College, Bay Path College, Elms College, Greenfield Community College, Hampshire College, Holyoke Community College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, Springfield College, Springfield Technical Community College, UMass Isenberg School of Management and Entrepreneurship Inittive, Western New England College, and Westfield State University.

Media Contact:
Cari Carpenter, Director
Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation
Entrepreneurship Initiative