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Banks to Sponsor Pitch Competition at Entrepreneurship Banquet

HOLYOKE — The Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Initiative will mark its 15th year with an evening of exhibits, contests, and celebration at the Log Cabin in Holyoke on Wednesday, April 25. Early arrivers at 5 p.m. will be treated to an entrepreneur exhibit featuring students who have already started their own businesses or are on the cusp of doing so.

“Though I’m a seasoned entrepreneur, I get a thrill every year from seeing these young, innovative business minds at work,” said philanthropist Harold Grinspoon.

Following the exhibition at 6:45 p.m., six local banks will sponsor a live elevator-pitch competition for area college students, with contestants from 14 area colleges and universities delivering 90-second pitches. The top three winners will receive prizes of $750. Sponsors are Berkshire Bank, Country Bank, KeyBank, PeoplesBank, United Bank Foundation, and Westfield Bank.

Caroline Pam of Kitchen Garden Farm in Sunderland will deliver the keynote speech. She and her husband have expanded their organic farm from one acre in 2006 to 50 acres today. In addition, they produce an award-winning sriracha sauce. The emcee for the event is Paul Silva, manager of River Valley Investors.

A brief awards ceremony will conclude the evening, honoring students from the 14 participating colleges and universities: American International College, Amherst College, Bay Path University, Elms College, Greenfield Community College, Hampshire College, Holyoke Community College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, Springfield College, Springfield Technical Community College, UMass Amherst, Western New England University, and Westfield State University.

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