More than 60 students and faculty represented HCC at annual Grinspoon conference
SPRINGFIELD – More than 60 HCC students and faculty members attended the Grinspoon, Garvey & Young Collegiate Entrepreneurship Conference at the MassMutual Center on Friday, Nov. 2.
The 14th annual event drew more than 450 business-minded students and faculty from 14 area colleges for a day of hands-on workshops, entrepreneur exhibits, speakers, and networking opportunities.
Organized by the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation and area colleges, the Entrepreneurship Conference is held annually to inspire, motivate and support local college students to turn their ideas into businesses.
"HCC is always well represented at these events," said Ellen Majka, HCC business professor and advisor to the HCC Emerging Business Leaders Club. "Two of our students, Nate Frank and Chris Cruz had table top displays at the conference for their start-up businesses."
Frank and Cruz were among four HCC business students who won Spirit Awards at the annual Grinspoon conference last spring, Frank for his hat business, Bay State Brimmers, and Cruz for his urban apparel company, Interstellar Design. They were among 28 student exhibitors
Students began their day by participating in what was billed as the world's largest collegiate idea jam. In a bracket system, the best ideas were voted on in real time by fellow students with winners moving on to the next round. Those with the 10 most promising ideas made their pitches to a team of sharks in one of 10 breakout sessions, with the three finalist pitching to the entire audience following lunch.
Breakout sessions included "Curiosity: The Fuel that Sparks Entrepreneurship," "Crowdfunding 101," "Launching a Food Business," "Rapid Prototyping," "Shark Tank," and "Grinspoon Entrepreneurial Spirit Award Winners Tell Their Stories."
The event is a Pioneer Valley community endeavor with local entrepreneurs and presenters from colleges and businesses in the region.
The keynote speaker was Marc Gammell, co-founder of the Springfield-based Treaty Biotech, who talked about coming up with the idea for FogKicker, an anti-fog solution. Gammell, a graduate of UMass Amherst, was the recipient of a Grinspoon Entrepreneurial Spirit Award and the Grinspoon, Garvey & Young Alumni Award. He was also a finalist in the Valley Venture Mentors Accelerator.
Participating colleges included American International College, Amherst College, Bay Path University, Elms College, Greenfield Community College, Hampshire College, HCC, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, Springfield College, Springfield Technical Community College, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Western New England University and Westfield State University.