Oct. 28 conference showcases collegiate entrepreneurs, venture competitions, and a sessions.

SPRINGFIELD, MASS. -- The seventh annual Grinspoon, Garvey & Young Entrepreneurship Conference was held Friday, Oct. 28 from 8:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the MassMutual Convention Center in Springfield. Over 400 students representing 14 area colleges are expected to attend the event, which includes 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. Students began the day with a team competition, where they collaborated on teams representing several colleges and universities, working to creatively come up with an idea for a new venture using a 'secret ingredient'.

Breakout sessions included "Innovation to Start-Up; Grinspoon Alumni Share Their Stories," "Taxes, Crooks and Liabilities: Oh My! How to Avoid the Common Entrepreneurial Pitfalls," "What's Social About Entrepreneurship," and "The Shark Tank." The Shark Tank is a local take on the national television show of the same name. In each of these sessions, students learned directly from successful entrepreneurs, business leaders ,and entrepreneurship faculty.

The keynote speaker this year was Brian Mullen. Brian is an entrepreneur, design engineer, and researcher with a passion for designing innovative medical products and assistive technologies. Brian founded Therapeutic Systems as a graduate student at UMass Amherst, where he received his BS, MS, and PhD in mechanical engineering. Brian has participated in many of the Western Massachusetts entrepreneurship programs and recently won $50K as a finalist in the MassChallenge, an international start-up competition located in Boston.

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.

College students at the participating colleges are able to attend the Conference thanks to the generosity of the Conference sponsors: National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance, AAA of the Pioneer Valley, Northwestern Mutual Financial Network, and the Springfield Parking Authority.

Participating colleges include 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 Initiative, Western New England University, and Westfield State University.

For more information contact Cari Carpenter, director of the Entrepreneurship Initiative, at carpentercari@yahoo.com or 413-335-3535.