Over 500 Pioneer Valley College Students Attended the November 3rd Entrepreneurship Conference in Springfield

Agawam, MA – The 13th annual Grinspoon, Garvey & Young Entrepreneurship Conference was held on Friday, November 3 at the MassMutual Center and was by all accounts a great success. More than 525 students and faculty, representing 14 area colleges, attended the event, which included hands-on workshops, entrepreneur exhibits, a keynote speaker and networking.
Organized by the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation and the 14 area colleges, the Entrepreneurship Conference is held annually to inspire, motivate and support college students to turn their ideas into businesses.  Bob Lowry, Grinspoon EI Faculty Advisor and Founder of Bueno Y Sano said The students who report back to me routinely say that it was one of the best events they’ve attended thus far in college.  And they express this with beaming energy, like they now have a little different outlook on life. That is a powerful result!”
Students began the day participating in the world’s largest collegiate Idea Jam, led by UMass professor Birton Cowden. In a bracket system, the best ideas, voted on in real time, moved on to the next round. The 10 most promising ideas had 60 seconds to pitch from the main stage. A polling system selected the top ideas and those ventures had two minutes to pitch later in the afternoon.
There were 7 total sessions from which students could choose.  Harold Grinspoon, Founder of Aspen Square Management (one of the nation’s larger privately held real estate investment firms with over eighteen thousand apartments in fifteen states throughout the country), shared his entrepreneurial journey with students to a standing room only crowd.  Later in the morning, students filled the room again for Restaurants, Breweries, and Bars – an expert panel of Daniel Lanigan, Founder of Lord Hobo Brewing Co (one of the fastest growing breweries in the United States); Howard Wein, Founder of Wein Hospitality LLC (Howard owned and operated restaurants in New York, Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, London and Los Vegas – he now owns and operates Alva Stone in Montague, MA); and Bob Lowry, Founder of Bueno Y Sano with restaurants in 7 locations. 
The keynote speaker this year was Logan Carlson, Co-Founder of AnyCafé. Carlson launched AnyCafé while a student at Western New England University. AnyCafé is a travel mug for K-Cups and will hit retail shelves, including Walmart, in 2018. A product of the local entrepreneurial ecosystem at work, Carlson won the Grinspoon Entrepreneurial Spirit Award, was a finalist in the Valley Venture Mentors Accelerator, received funding from the Springfield Venture Fund and his business is headquartered in downtown Springfield.
Students from the participating colleges were able to attend the Conference thanks to the generosity of the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation and Conference sponsors: Gold Sponsors - UMass Amherst Isenberg MBA Program; Silver Sponsor – AAA Pioneer Valley; and Bronze Sponsors - Northwestern Mutual and the Springfield Venture Fund.
Eighteen former Grinspoon Entrepreneurial Spirit Award winners, who started their businesses while in college, had exhibits to market their businesses to conference attendees.
Participating colleges include American International College, Amherst College, Bay Path University, Elms College, Greenfield Community College, Hampshire College, Holyoke Community College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, Springfield College, Springfield Technical Community College, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Western New England University and Westfield State University.
For more information, contact Cari Carpenter, Director of the Entrepreneurship Initiative, at cari@hgf.org or 413-276-0831.


Cari Carpenter, Director
Entrepreneurship Initiative
Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation