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Three Pitches Accepted by Valley Venture Mentors

SPRINGFIELD — Three out of five ventures to pitch to Valley Venture Mentors have been accepted into the six-month program, which recently added separate tracks to handle the rising number of new and mature startups seeking services from the organization. PeopleHedge, based in Boston and Chicago, was represented by co-founder Damon Magnuski. The company simplifies the process of managing currency risk by allowing customers to select an exchange date, currency pair, and protection amount. InsideOut Solar was represented by co-founder Gregory Margolis. The company was formed by three Mechanical Engineering students at UMass Amherst. They have designed, built, and are testing a solar space-heating panel that slides easily into a standard home window, similar to an air-conditioning unit.Tinville (the Industry Network Village), based in Woburn and pitched by founder Disraeli Abreu, intends to become the premier fashion marketplace for startup and established independent designers. Tinville aims to create an interactive e-commerce site where each designer can host his or her own boutique. All users of will create a custom account on the site; however, fans of the label will have the opportunity to follow, shop at, and receive notifications from their favorite independent designers’ stores. The startups have been accepted into VVM with the expectation that they will successfully complete the accelerator track in six months and graduate to the mentor track, which was recently added to accommodate the rising number of mature ventures who still desire support and mentoring assistance.


Three Casino Companies to Vie for City’s Support

SPRINGFIELD — Three casino developers — Ameristar, MGM Resorts, and Penn National — met an Oct. 11 deadline to submit a formal proposal and a $50,000 fee to the city of Springfield. They will now compete for the city’s support in pursuit of casino-development rights in Western Mass. Each company has proposed a gaming resort development approaching $1 billion. Hard Rock International, which had expressed interest in Springfield and explored real estate downtown, did not submit a proposal. The 2011 state casino law allots one resort casino license to Western Mass. In addition to the Springfield projects, Mohegan Sun has proposed a resort in Palmer. On Oct. 11, PennNational released some details and an architect’s rendering for an $807 million gaming complex to be built in the city’s North End. The proposal calls for 3,000 to 3,500 slot machines, poker rooms, up to 100 live table games, and a hotel with 300 to 500 rooms. There would also be restaurants, a spa, a parking garage, and up to 45,000 square feet of meeting and convention space. The proposed 13.4-acre site includes the headquarters for the Republican newspaper and the current home of Peter Pan Bus Lines.


SBA Loan Volume Remains High

WASHINGTON — With loan volume steadily increasing for the past six quarters, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s loan programs posted the second-largest dollar volume ever in FY 2012, supporting $30.35 billion in loans to small businesses. That amount was surpassed only by FY 2011, which was heavily boosted by the loan incentives under the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. In Massachusetts, under SBA’s two flagship lending programs, the 7(a) General Business Loan program and the 504 Certified Development Co. program, loan approvals supported 1,846 businesses with more than $670 million, said Bob Nelson, Massachusetts SBA district director. This ranks Massachusetts fifth out of 68 MBA offices nationwide for total loans approved under 7(a) and 504 combined for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30. The totals for 2012 nationwide include 44,377 loans, $15.5 billion approved under the 7(a) program and $15.09 billion under the 504 program.

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