Elevator Pitch and Alumni Award Winner Announced

Laura Whiteley, a Holyoke Community College took first place at last night's business competition pitching a small wallet with the ability to protect itself with thumb print recognition and tracking capabilities. Whiteley convinced a panel of bank judges that her pitch for The Scorpion was the best. Peter Levin, a University of Massachusetts student took second place based on his business concept pitch for Safe Siren, an integrated system designed to prevent crime and provide rapid response for students on college campuses. Finally, Mina Khan, a student at Mt. Holyoke College took third place with Trailzz, a crowdsourced decision-making app.

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 22nd at the Log Cabin in Holyoke, MA. The banks are: Berkshire Bank, Country Bank for Savings, First Niagara Bank, PeoplesBank, United Bank, and Westfield Bank.

The live event featured a student representative from each of the 14 participating local colleges: 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. First, second, and third place winners received $1000, $750 and $500 respectively. Each student participating received $100.

Our award to the Alum who has 'substantially advanced as an entrepreneur' since receiving a Grinspoon Entrepreneurial Spirit Award went to Bill Goldfarb who won his original award in 2008 while at the Greenfield Community College. Goldfarb's company, Lefty's Brewery, based in Greenfield, now has 10 employees, 250 retail clients, and is one of the largest and most technologically advanced craft breweries in New England.

The Entrepreneurship Initiative is one of many Western Massachusetts initiatives supported by the philanthropy of Longmeadow, MA resident and businessman, Harold Grinspoon. For more information about the Grinspoon Entrepreneurship Initiative, visit hgf.org or contact Cari Carpenter at 413-335-3535 or cari@hgf.org.