This issue of BusinessWest marks the return of Chamber Corners, a compendium of upcoming events organized by chambers of commerce throughout Western Mass. This long-running department was suspended early in the pandemic when events shut down, but now that they have largely returned (though many are still virtual), Chamber Corners will be part of each issue moving forward. Chambers should e-mail event information to [email protected]
(413) 499-1600; 1berkshire.com
• Feb. 17: GoFundU Session #1: “Introduction to Crowdfunding,” 5-7 p.m. Crowdfunding is an exciting way to engage your audience and fund a particular project, venture, or opportunity. Join us to learn the basics of crowdfunding campaigns. This session will provide you a high-level overview of what they are, how they operate, and the diversity of options that are out there for you and your business. If you participate in at least three of the five GoFundU workshops, you will be eligible to receive direct, free, one-on-one technical assistance to help plan and launch your own crowdfunding effort. Sessions are planned to be hybrid. In-person attendance will be at the Berkshire Innovation Center, and remote participation via Zoom. The program may go fully remote pending any changes in the COVID-19 landscape. This series made possible through the support of the Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corp. and the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corp. Register for either in-person or electronic attendance at us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYpceyrpjMuG9C0SPjJfG9k1H__z7q61pt4.
• Feb. 22: 1Berkshire Virtual Entrepreneurial Meetup, 9-10:30 a.m. Our featured speaker will be Liam Gorman of CozQuest, who will share his experiences in building his business and launching it in 2021. 1Berkshire Entrepreneurial Meetups are free to attend and made possible through the support of Pittsfield Cooperative Bank. Registration is required. Register at bit.ly/3tEmps4.
• Feb. 24: GoFundU Session #2: “Developing the Value Proposition for Your Business and Your Contributors,” 5-7 p.m. Crowdfunding isn’t just about you getting money, it also provides a level of mutual benefit to your contributors. An effective crowdfunding campaign describes how campaign funds will be used to add value to your business, and how campaign backers will benefit from being involved. For some, this is the benefit of feeling good about what their dollars are helping to do. For others, the benefit comes from the tangible ‘thing’ they receive as a return on their contribution. This workshop will tackle both how to tell the story and emphasize the impact that their dollars are going to make, and to help you structure contributor awards and levels that will attract more contributions but not meaningfully diminish the funds you are raising. If you participate in at least three of the five GoFundU workshops, you will be eligible to receive direct, free, one-on-one technical assistance to help plan and launch your own crowdfunding effort. Sessions are planned to be hybrid. In-person attendance will be at the Berkshire Innovation Center, and remote participation via Zoom. The program may go fully remote pending any changes in the COVID-19 landscape. This series made possible through the support of the Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corp. and the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corp. Register for either in-person or electronic attendance at us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIqfuCvqzsuH9xjOhYEEz3cD1lh6GnpRwkS.
• March 1: Berkshire Economic Recovery Project Kickoff Workshop: Why Brands Matter. In this session, brand consultant Lee Rafkin will explain why brands matter and show entrepreneurs and business owners how to clearly define their value propositions by building an authentic brand platform, using cases and examples to explore topics including positioning, branding, naming, logos, taglines, and key messages. By registering, you are claiming a limited opportunity offered to a limited number of businesses. If you attempt to register and the cohort has reached capacity, e-mail [email protected] to be added to the waiting list. Register at bit.ly/3G7FHZK.
AMHERST AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
(413) 253-0700; amherstarea.com
• March 9: Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce 2022 Annual Meeting, noon to 2 p.m., hosted by the Red Barn at Hampshire College. Join us for lunch as we reflect on our impact, salute our outgoing board members, welcome our new board members, elect a slate of officers, and launch our New Year, New Vision for 2022. Presented by Encharter Insurance, supported by bankESB, and honoring the work of Amherst Cinema, our featured nonprofit. See COVID guidelines and register at business.amherstarea.com/events.
SPRINGFIELD REGIONAL CHAMBER
(413) 787-1555; springfieldregionalchamber.com
• Feb. 24: Leadership 2022, 1:30-4:30 p.m., TD Bank Conference Center, 1441 Main St., Springfield. Develop your next generation of leaders through the Springfield Regional Chamber Leadership Institute, a professional-development program in partnership with the College of Business at Western New England University (WNE). A series of six workshops, facilitated by WNE faculty, will take participants through a range of evidence-based tools and frameworks to apply immediately to leadership practice. Peer coaching supplements the program. Scholarship support for eligible nonprofits provided by the Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation. Cost: $885, which includes all course materials, parking, and graduation celebration, and successful graduates receive a free WNE leadership course valued at more than $2,500. Apply by Feb. 17 at springfieldregionalchamber.com/leadership-institute.
• March 11: Outlook 2022, 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Hear from top policymakers and influencers on the outlook for 2022, hosted by U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. This virtual event is presented by Baystate Health and MassMutual, with sponsorship support from Comcast, Eversource, the Republican, and WWLP-TV22. Cost: $24.95 for SRC members; $110, enterprise-level SRC members (six seats); $29.95 for future members; $140, enterprise-level future members (six seats).
• March 24: Fire & Ice, 5:30-8 p.m., Springfield Country Club, 1375 Elm St., West Springfield. Join us for our annual craft cocktail competition featuring area establishments mixing up creative fire- and ice-themed cocktails. Sample the concoctions and vote for your favorite. Cost: $50 for SRC members ($60 at the door); $60 for future members ($70 at the door).
WEST OF THE RIVER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
(413) 426-3880; www.ourwrc.com
• March 3: Networking Coffee Hour, 8-9 a.m. Join us as we meet fellow members, non-members, and local business people to network virtually on Zoom. Introductions will be followed by breakout rooms to learn about your business peers and network. Register at business.ourwrc.com/events.
• March 23: Job Fair 2022, 4:30-7:30 p.m., Storrowton Tavern/Carriage House, West Springfield. The West of the River Chamber will be hosting a local job fair. West Springfield and Agawam businesses, along with other employment opportunities from around Western Mass., will be showcased for the public. High-school students, college students, and adults will be attending this event looking to begin or advance their careers. This event is free and open to the public. To be a participating vendor, register at business.ourwrc.com/events.