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Elms College’s Lean LaunchPad Weekend to Boost Startup Businesses

CHICOPEE — In today’s competitive market, startups and small businesses need all the help they can get. The Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at Elms College will hold a Lean LaunchPad weekend to help startups identify the specific problems their products or services can solve for customers. The weekend-long workshop, titled “Creating Customers and Value,” will help businesses fail less, save money, and discover target customers and ideal business models.

The Lean LaunchPad weekend course combines hands-on experience, customer interaction, and business fundamentals to entrepreneurship. Participants will dive deep into the ‘value-proposition canvas’ to understand product market fit; they will also learn how to turn ideas into statements that convince customers to buy.

The events will begin with a 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. session on Friday, July 29, and run from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, July 30 and 31. The workshop will include an “Idea Jam,” a look at business pitch concepts, team formation, networking, in-depth exploration of the value-proposition canvas, hands-on development of customer-value creation, an overview of market size and customer segments, and a business-pitch competition.

The facilitators for the Startup Lean Weekend will be Jeremy Casey and Rick Plaut.

Casey started Name Net Worth, a software startup company, in Springfield in 2014. His background as a serial networker, commercial lender, and communicator was the springboard to his transition from corporate America to entrepreneurship. He was president of the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield (YPS), which was in its infancy when he joined. Over five years, he grew the board of directors and the membership, and has helped make YPS the top membership organization for young professionals in the region. He has conducted workshops with many high schools and colleges in the Northeast, and has mentored many startup organizations through Valley Venture Mentors, helping them get their businesses started and providing ongoing feedback as they grow.

Plaut became an entrepreneur in 2009 after 30 years as a corporate ‘intrapreneur,’ developing new products, customers, markets, and businesses. Currently founding his third enterprise, he is a partner in InCommN and was a partner at Universal Quality Machine. He and his partners at InCommN teach the principles of Lean LaunchPad to entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and businesses with a need for quick growth in new markets. He also shares the tools of Lean LaunchPad and the Business Model Canvas with students at a number of local colleges, including Smith, Elms, and UMass. He is also a mentor and facilitator for early-stage startups at Valley Venture Mentors, and is a board member and mentor for a variety of early-stage enterprises.

All events will take place on the Elms College campus. The cost is $250 per person or $150 for Elms alumni.

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