2016 is well under way and with a new year comes the excitement and thrill of bigger and better things ahead. For the past several months 1Berkshire has been building several new programs that aim to help those trying to start or grow businesses, such as Entrepreneurial Meetups and the Creative Resources Conference. These programs will now be a part of a broader support system of resources for entrepreneurs and small businesses called Berkshire Starts. This 1Berkshire initiative aims to foster an entrepreneurial ecosystem throughout the region by focusing on the accessibility of three types of tools: financial capital, affordable and/or collaborative work space, and human expertise.
Berkshire Starts is a way to begin to connect entrepreneurs with as many available resources as possible, including critical early stage funding. As part of this program, we are thrilled to announce that we will be offering a series of pitch contests to anyone who wants to test their business idea on a panel of judges! Pitch contests are great ways to refine business ideas, build confidence, connect with peers and mentors, and gain access to investors. These events will be held at The Stationery Factory in Dalton this spring and will focus on a different industry each month, including creative economy and agriculture/food production. Winning pitches will be awarded small cash prizes but all participants will gain access to an audience of mentors, advisors, and resource providers. We hope our pitch contests create excitement in the community, provide new opportunities to entrepreneurs, and help those who want to start businesses to feel more connected, supported, and encouraged.