Entrepreneur Resources

Below is the breakdown of the different levels of resources available.

Regional-Level Resources

Mentorship

Valley Venture Mentors provides key support to the entrepreneurial ecosystem by uniting carefully selected start-ups with high quality business mentors at a structured monthly pitch and planning session.

The Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network's Western Regional Office provides free and one-to-one business advising to prospective and existing small businesses.

The Western New England College Law and Business Center for Advancing Entrepreneurship offers legal and business consultation to entrepreneurs and small businesses, as well as informational Seminars and Conferences.

Incubators

Gasoline Alley, Springfield
Gasoline Alley is a business incubator for socially responsible, sustainable start-up businesses. The incubator currently houses existing businesses, meeting rooms, and warehouse and storage space. Professional business support services include assistance with business plan development, financing resources, and marketing plans.

New England Business Associates (NEBA) Business Consulting Center, Springfield
The NEBA Business Consulting Center provides entrepreneurial training and support to individuals with disabilities, from the development of a business concept and the writing of a SCORE-approved business plan, to the implementation of the business. Business support services also include individualized consultations and sales assistance.

Franklin County Community Development Corporation Venture Center, Greenfield
The Venture Center has six light industrial and seven offices, with leases available at below market rate for start-up and growing businesses. The CDC provides services to its tenants as well as to its members, including business planning, business counseling, a wide range of training programs, and financing.

Western Massachusetts Food Processing Center, Greenfield
The Food Processing Center contains a fully equipped modern food production facility that meets federal, state, and local standards and is used by small food enterprises to develop value-added farm products; specialty, organic, natural, and retail products; retail operations such as catering; and contract manufacturing.

Orange Innovation Center
The Orange Innovation Center is a mixed-use business incubator with a variety of spaces available, including offices, studio lofts, and industrial space, as well as an organic and specialty food processing facility. Innovation Center services include assistance with business planning, product development, and distribution resources.

Private Capital

Long River Ventures invests in seed and early stage companies in technology, healthcare and related sectors with a typical initial investment of $500,000 to $1MM,; a partner fund of The Berkshires Capital Investors. (Both are part of the Village Ventures network.)

Longmeadow Capital Partners typically invests between $2 and 20 million, sponsors financial transactions that include management buy-outs and provides post-transaction operational assistance.

River Valley Investors is a group of individual investors who's contact is Paul Silva of Angel Catalyst.

Common Capital is a community loan fund serving Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin and Berkshire counties in Western Massachusetts. We provide financing (up to $300,000) and business advisory services to small and medium sized businesses, startups, and to non-profits for community based projects. We are committed to investing our resources to promote a thriving local economy and to improve the lives of people who live and work in Western Massachusetts. Every dollar that Common Capital deploys is an investment in job creation, opportunity for low-income people, essential community services, neighborhood rejuvenation and environmental sustainability. We focus on businesses that are locally owned and that recirculate local dollars.

Government

The State Office of Minority and Women Business Assistance (SOMWBA) promotes the development of business enterprises and non-profit organizations owned or operated by minorities and women.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) aids with starting, building and growing businesses. A branch office is located Springfield.

State-Level Resources

Government

The Massachusetts Workforce Training Fund grants funds for training current employees and new hires.

MassDevelopment offers Tax-Exempt Bonds which provide a very low interest rate financing for capital projects. Projects financed must be eligible for tax-exempt financing under the federal tax code. Tax-Exempt Equipment Lease/Purchase Program provides manufacturers, nonprofit institutions, and environmental enterprises with a low-cost alternative for financing $300,000 or more in new equipment needs. This organization was formerly known as the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency before merging with the Massachusetts Industrial Finance Authority and Massachusetts Land Bank.