Pioneer Valley College Students Recognized for Entrepreneurial Spirit

For Immediate Release: May 7, 2020

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

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86 students from 14 local colleges and universities recently received awards for their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit (This represents 55 unique businesses and business concepts.)

For entrepreneurial students at our 14 area colleges and universities, news of their 2020 Grinspoon Entrepreneurship Initiative (EI) Entrepreneurial Spirit Awards came at about the same time as their semesters were disrupted by COVID-19. Soon thereafter we had to cancel our annual entrepreneurship banquet where more than 450 people were scheduled to attend to honor and celebrate these students. In spite of the disappointing cancellation of the banquet, the Grinspoon EI Class of 2020 received their award checks of up to $1,000 by mail and they and continue to be mentored by their Grinspoon EI faculty advisors.

This year’s entrepreneurial class represents many diverse business concepts and businesses. Some examples include:

Bac-Be-Gone – bacteriocin-based cleaning products (Hadley Beauregard, Hailey Charest, and Bryanna Lexus Freitas, UMass)

Keifer Games – clever tabletop game for creative thinkers (Matthew Kiefer, UMass)

Nashion – a new material for salon gel nails (Sona Kim, Amherst College)

PAL – a prosthetic air liner medical device (Courtney Carlson, Kelsey Hastings, and Olivia Truenow, Western New England University)

Slacktyde – eco-art eco-friendly clothing (Camila Mirow, Mt. Holyoke College)

Mary Schoonmaker, Grinspoon EI faculty advisor and Assistant Professor of Marketing and Entrepreneurship at Western New England University recently shared, “The Grinspoon Foundation Spirit Awards are foundational to building entrepreneurial self-efficacy. Past and present recipients have appreciated the confidence building and encouragement to advance their innovations.”

This year’s Grinspoon, Garvey & Young Alumni Award went to Justin Park, Founder and CEO of QL Gaming Group, a direct to consumer sports betting data and iGaming affiliate platform. Justin expressed appreciation for the award, "The Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation has provided me with encouragement since 2012 to pursue my passion in entrepreneurship." This annual award is given to a former Entrepreneurial Spirit Award winner who has advanced their entrepreneurial endeavors. It is named after Mr. Grinspoon’s original business partners, Tom Garvey and Bill Young.

Program founder Harold Grinspoon put his roots down in Western Mass over 60 years ago. His philanthropy, in partnership with others, celebrates the hard work and creativity of many unrecognized people who contribute to the well-being of the entire community -- such as farmers, teachers and collegiate entrepreneurs. For more information about the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation, visit

Grinspoon EI participating colleges and universities include: American International College, Amherst College, Bay Path University, Elms College, Greenfield Community College, Hampshire College, Holyoke Community College, Mt. Holyoke College, Smith College, Springfield College, Springfield Technical Community College, University of Massachusetts, Western New England University, and Westfield State University.
Learn more about Grinspoon Entrepreneurship Initiative