“People often ask me what I look for in entrepreneurs…the simple answer is, drive,” noted 1Berkshire Economic Development Specialist David Curtis. It’s one of the key things we looked for in our extensive review of the almost two dozen applicants for the inaugural Business Bootcamp. This was a joint program between 1Berkshire and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, that kicked off in March 2017.

Thanks to all our Business Bootcamp participants.The newest additions to the 1Berkshire Berkshire Starts program, the Business Bootcamp is a series of collaborative workshops geared toward students, entrepreneurs, and business owners. The objective of the Bootcamp is to provide participants with a basic understanding of the essential elements involved in successfully starting and growing a business venture. This year’s spring program was composed of ten three-hour workshops, presented over six weeks by an MCLA Professor paired with a local business practitioner (different pairing each week). Workshops covered design thinking, the lean canvas business model, accounting, legal structure, funding, marketing, and pitching to investors.

The first workshop started with the participants presenting their venture concept to the group and then breaking into teams to begin assisting each other in formulating a planning approach under the guidance of the professors and practitioners. According to one graduate, “the classes in the program ran the gamut, challenging us, and our concept, from beginning to end. The results were also very rewarding, sending us off with a much better sense of how to move our idea forward successfully.”

For others, the program affected their perspective of business in the Berkshires and the opportunities that exist for those willing to take on the challenge of starting a business.

“The program helped give perspective and focus on the entrepreneurs while also providing a network of local professionals and mentors to help with future development and questions. Overall I think the program has helped me to address the risk and uncertainty while also accelerating the development of my ideas.” -Bootcamp Graduate

Next spring, we are expanding the Bootcamp, increasing the class size, adding more time for workshops in accounting and pitching, and working to connect participants with more resources outside of the workshops. Details on when and how to apply will be included in next month’s newsletter, so there’s plenty of time to find your inner entrepreneur!

About 1Berkshire Berkshire Starts

Berkshire Starts is a series of programs and resources that assist entrepreneurs and small business owners initiate and grow their ventures. Berkshire Starts connects these businesses with human capital, collaborative workspace, access to financial assistance, and more that allows this innovative community to thrive. Along with the Business Bootcamp program, we also host Entrepreneurial Meetups, Pitch Competitions, and provide a number of services for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Learn more about Berkshire Starts. Reach out to us at economicdev@1berkshire.com or (413) 499-1600 if you have any questions.