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PeoplesBank Grant Helps Fund Western New England University Student Startup

SPRINGFIELD — PeoplesBank and the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Western New England University (WNEU) College of Business are working together to help students expand their entrepreneurship education beyond the classroom.

The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at WNEU works to develop students’ entrepreneurial mindset. Through co-curricular efforts, such as Startup Weekend and the cross-disciplinary business/engineering “Product Development and Innovation” course, students are able to create ideas, products, and services that have market potential. PeoplesBank is taking this one step further by providing grant funding to advance qualifying startups that show promise and demonstrate success.

Joseph Ferrera, a 2020 graduate of the Entrepreneurship program at Western New England University, is the first recipient of a PeoplesBank grant. He founded Double O Joe, a Ludlow-based videography startup, in his sophomore year and continued to advance the business model through his entrepreneurship courses at WNEU. He is currently serving several small businesses in the Greater Springfield area. The grant funded a more advanced drone and camera in order to continue to grow his customer base and video offerings.

Matthew Bannister, first vice president of Marketing and Corporate Responsibility at PeoplesBank, congratulated Ferrera on his success in starting the business and getting it launched. “We are pleased that our grant could assist Double O Joe in continuing to develop his business. Small businesses, powered by entrepreneurs, are vital to the economic health of our region, and we applaud both Double O Joe and Western New England University for their efforts in this area.”

Mary Schoonmaker, assistant professor of Marketing and Entrepreneurship at Western New England University, added that “it is rewarding to see Joe’s efforts with his startup be acknowledged through this PeoplesBank grant. He has worked hard on growing the business over the past 18 months.”

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