For Immediate Release - March 14, 2014

Secretary Bialecki Celebrates Valley Venture Mentors Recent Funding Announcement, Participates In Monthly Meeting

Meeting highlights importance of entrepreneurship and mentoring

SPRINGFIELD – Wednesday, March 12, 2014 – Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki today joined the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MassTech) in Springfield to celebrate Valley Venture Mentors recent award of nearly $150,000 to expand its mentorship program. Secretary Bialecki also participated in a panel discussion to highlight the importance of entrepreneurship and mentoring.


Valley Venture Mentors is a start-up accelerator in Springfield that was awarded funding to expand the number of companies being mentored, open a co-working space for entrepreneurs, hire additional program staff, and host more events for entrepreneurs and potential investors, including ‘demo days’ and pitch contests.


“Investing in organizations, incubators and programs that support start-up entrepreneurs and strengthen mentoring partnerships is a winning strategy that will help businesses expand and will continue to enhance the Massachusetts economy,” said Secretary Bialecki. “We remain committed to supporting economic opportunity in every region of the Commonwealth.”


In 2012, the Massachusetts Innovation Mentoring Initiative was established at MassTech, and aims to strengthen entrepreneur and startup mentoring activities across underserved populations, regions and industries in the Commonwealth, with a goal of encouraging the growth of new jobs, startups and business. These three grants were awarded from the program that aims to boost entrepreneur mentoring activities in the Merrimack Valley, the South Coast and the Pioneer Valley. The awardees, Merrimack Valley Sandbox, Interise and Valley Venture Mentors, were chosen through a highly competitive selection process.


“For entrepreneurs across Western Mass, this award will deliver expanded access to the quality programs established by Valley Venture Mentors, while also helping to provide a dedicated space where they can receive the guidance they need to grow their innovative businesses,” said MassTech CEO Pamela Goldberg. “By expanding the resources available to entrepreneurs in this region, we are helping deliver on the Commonwealth’s goal of expanding the innovation economy to all corners of the state.”


Valley Venture Mentors (VVM), based in the Pioneer Valley, is working to expand their private sector-led entrepreneur mentorship program with the aim of increasing the number of active start-ups, improving the quality of new enterprises, and building out programs to support the innovation economy in the Pioneer Valley. Valley Venture Mentors is working closely with Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council (EDC) on this program.


“It was great to hear from Secretary Bialecki on the Commonweath’s support for innovation and the growing entrepreneurial ecosystem here in the Pioneer Valley,” said Venture Valley Mentors President Scott Foster. “VVM is honored to be recognized by the Secretary and MassTech for our innovative and effective approach to mentoring.”


This initiative is consistent with the Commonwealth’s Economic Development Strategy, Choosing to Compete in the 21st Century. To learn more, visit  


About the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative

The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative is an innovative public agency working to enhance economic growth, accelerate technology use and adoption, and harness the value of research by engaging in meaningful collaborations across academia, industry and government. The Innovation Institute at MassTech was created in 2003 to improve conditions for growth in the innovation economy by enhancing industry competitiveness, promoting conditions which enable growth, and providing data and analysis to stakeholders in the Massachusetts innovation economy that promotes understanding and informs policy development. Learn more at