Lesser Amendment to Fund Valley Venture Mentors Collegiate Accelerator Program Passes Senate

BOSTON — On Wednesday night, the state Senate voted to approve a budget amendment sponsored by Senator Eric P. Lesser that allocates $100,000 to fund the collegiate accelerator program at Valley Venture Mentors (VVM) in Springfield. The collegiate accelerator program is a new initiative launching next month at Springfield’s new Innovation Center. Through this program, VVM will provide eight weeks of hands-on, intensive mentoring, education and support for college-aged entrepreneurs in the Pioneer Valley.

The funding would be used to provide each student who successfully completes the program with a stipend, allowing those students to spend the summer working on their startup business, rather than working a traditional summer job.

“This program will help new entrepreneurs grow roots in the Pioneer Valley, and we’re hopeful that after starting their business, they will stay in the Valley or return to the Springfield area after graduation. Thanks to the efforts of Valley Venture Mentors and others, we have a growing startup economy in Springfield, and our hope is that this amendment will continue this progress and allow even more people to start and grow their business in the Pioneer Valley,” said Sen. Lesser.

The amendment will be included in the Senate version of the budget, which will be negotiated with House members before a final budget proposal is sent to the governor's desk.