Evan Choquette and his cofounders are like most contemporary entrepreneurs – they had an idea, slapped together a prototype, and made a run at bringing it to market. What’s different is their approach. They have come from Western New England University and ran the gauntlet of 3Day Startup, went through the Valley Venture Mentors Accelerator program, and showcased their product on Kickstarter. Now, they are in talks to have the AnyCafé Travel Brewer® on store shelves late 2017 / early 2018. We discuss went into making their idea a reality.
Ellen Moorhouse is the Program Manager for The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts; responsible for implementing and coordinating all aspects of the Fund's grant and leadership programs, including the Leadership Institute for Political and Public Impact (LIPPI), and other initiatives that promote the strengths of women and girls. Ellen joined me to discuss the Fund’s move to Downtown Springfield, and its programs, including the Young Women’s Initiative (YWI) Springfield Partnership, a national, multi-sector, three-year pilot program focused on driving long-term prosperity for young women in the city of Springfield.
A long, long time ago in a career far, far away, your friendly neighborhood Thomfox was a part of the nonprofit world. It’s there I meet Paul Bailey, the Executive Director of Springfield Partners for Community Action. Springfield Partners for Community Action is the federally designated Community Action Agency helping families break the cycle of poverty. Paul shares how they accomplish this through education, and by offering programs to help people build assets, obtain affordable childcare, get free home weatherization, obtain college degrees and tax filing services, and much more. Listen to learn all about Springfield Partners for Community Action.
Serial entrepreneur (and awesome dude) Bill Kenney joined The Engine to discuss his ventures, Test My Pitch and MEET. Test My Pitch is a community of entrepreneurs and business professionals who create, share, and offer feedback on each other’s idea pitches and self-introductions (I’m a big fan of the platform). His second business is MEET, which helps high-growth companies enter new markets, drive return-on-investment, and scale quickly through trade shows – very cool concept. So, pour yourself a beverage and enjoy our interview.
Leadership Pioneer Valley’s mission is to identify, develop, and connect diverse leaders to strengthen the Pioneer Valley. Formed in 2010, LPV builds a cadre of interconnected emerging and existing leaders to address the challenges and opportunities of the entire Pioneer Valley. Lora Wondolowski, LPV's Executive Director, joined me to discuss their programs, and the impact they’ve made. Also, LPV is accepting applications for the latest cohort – learn more at thier website.
Michael Vedovelli, Director of Community and Economic Development for the City of Chicopee, joined me to discuss what’s happening in the City. We chat-up the Downtown Business Assistance Program providing up to $150,000 in funding to retail entrepreneurs, the new Mercedes Benz dealership, and tons of other Economic Development initiatives moving the City forward. If you own a business in Chicopee, or are considering relocating to the City, you’ll be interested in what Michael has to say.
Denise Jordan, Chief of Staff for Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno joined me on to discuss the profound metamorphosis currently underway in the city. From MGM, to Railroad manufacturing, to up and coming businesses graduating out of Valley Venture Mentors, there certainly is a lot of ground to cover. We also chat leadership, and of course, the Mayor’s infallible hair.
Dan Montagna, Director of Operations at UMass Center at Springfield join me to discuss all the wonderful programming available to the community at UMass’ Springfield satellite campus. From room rentals for businesses, to innovative nursing programs, the UMass Center at Springfield is making a name for itself as a valuable community resource. Learn all about the center in Dan’s interview.
Andréa Marion, the Executive Director of Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen, recently joined me to discuss their work in the community. Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen & Pantry, Inc. exists to be a food security resource to the greater Chicopee community by providing access to meals and groceries with respect and dignity. Andréa shares how they meet the needs of their recipients, and what’s on the menu for Lorraine’s future. To learn more, or to support Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen, visit - www.lorrainessoupkitchen.com.
Mikki Lessard and Nancy Feth transformed an online boutique and pop-up shop into Simply Grace, a retail store in full support of the Springfield Renaissance. Simply Grace is a vibrant, organic, sustainable, sincere, purpose driven community and brand which mindfully fuses and integrates women’s intrinsic values (inner beauty) with their extrinsic values through an abundant generosity of grace. Mikki and Nancy discuss what’s going on at the Shops at Marketplace, Downtown Springfield, as well as the importance of support supporting artisan entrepreneurs.