Three Winners of Elevator Pitch Competition and Best Entrepreneurial Exhibitors Announced

AGAWAM, Mass. – In front of a crowd of 450 guests including college presidents, faculty, entrepreneurs, and students, three students were selected as the winners of the 15th annual Live Elevator Pitch Competition last night at Grinspoon Entrepreneurship Initiative Annual Banquet.  The winners included:

Name: Inayat Gill
College: Mount Holyoke College
Business: ZAP!
Description: ZAP! is an app that benefits students both ways, students who have cars can opt to deliver food at all hours to students who are willing to pay for their service. A 24 hour service that is for the students and run by the students on each campus!

Name: Erica Sullivan
College: UMass
Business: AccliMATE
Description: AccliMATE provides study abroad students with prepackaged bundles of necessities that are there when they arrive, creating and smoothing the transition to the study abroad environment.

Name: Victoria Thomas
College: Bay Path University
Business: MicroBuddy
Description: Fifteen million Americans today have food allergies, and every 3 minutes a food allergy reaction sends someone to the emergency room. MicroBuddy saves you from this fate! A handheld, portable test-probe device which detects allergens in any type of food before you take a bite, MicroBuddy is small enough to fit in your purse, pocket, or your child’s school backpack, and uses existing technology to provide the accurate food allergen detection you need.

Representatives from six area banks once again sponsored the elevator pitch competition at the Awards Ceremony & Banquet for the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Initiative. They also served as judges at the annual event held on April 25th at the Log Cabin in Holyoke, MA. The banks are: Berkshire Bank, Country Bank, KeyBank, PeoplesBank, United Bank, and Westfield Bank.

The live event featured a student representative from each of the 13 participating local colleges  All three received $750.00. 
Five student businesses were identified by the bank judges as Best Exhibitors.  These were selected from a pool of 54 unique companies during a ‘trade-show’ type portion of the evening which featured the 2018 Grinspoon Entrepreneurial Spirit Award winners.
The Winning Exhibitors were:

  • Aaron Andrews – SimplySmooth Skin Care (Hampshire College)
  • Kate Clayton-Jones – FootCare by Nurses (UMass)
  • Jon Katz – BLENDi (Springfield College)
  • Ameila Paker – LEFT COSMETICS (Westfield State University)
  • Oomilya Poo-Nark – Ome Omi Boutique (Bay Path University)

The Grinspoon, Garvey & Young Alumni Entrepreneurship Award is presented each year to an individual who has advanced substantially as an entrepreneur since receiving the Grinspoon Spirit Award.  Marc Gammel, founder of Treaty Biotech, a startup based in Springfield, was awarded the 2018 Alumni Award and $1,000. Their first product, FogKicker, an anti-fog solution, is now being sold in 400 dive stores around the world.

The Entrepreneurship Initiative is one of several local initiatives supported by the philanthropy of Mr. Harold Grinspoon.  For more information about Harold Grinspoon Foundation initiatives, visit


Left to Right:  Nick Devanski, United Bank Foundation; Harold Grinspoon; Cori Garvey Packer; Mary Young, Aspen Square Management and Elevator Pitch Award Winners: Inayat Gill – ZAP; Erica Sullivan – AccliMATE and Victoria Thomas -Microbuddy


Left to Right:  Harold Grinspoon; Cori Garvey Packer; Mary Young, Aspen Square Management; and Marc Gammell, winner of the Grinspoon, Garvey & Young Alumni Award


Community Bank Sponsors and Judges:

Left to Right:  Joe Marullo, Berkshire Bank; Nick Devanski, United Bank Foundation; Adrian Vega, Westfield Bank; Doug Gilbert, Country Bank; Jay Seyler, PeoplesBank;
and Jake Delaney, KeyBank

Learn more about the Elevator Pitch Competition