The Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation Entrepreneurship Initiative encourages entrepreneurial activity in the Pioneer Valley by fostering an educational environment among participating colleges and universities that informs, supports, inspires, and recognizes student entrepreneurs. The foundation presents awards annually to students who have acted upon their desire to start their own businesses. The awards acknowledge students’ actions to date, and encourage them to continue to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.
Participating in the foundation’s Entrepreneurship Initiative are 12 institutions of higher education in the Pioneer Valley. Each institution has one faculty representative to the initiative. Nine years ago, the foundation appointed Robert Fiore, D.B.A., as the faculty advisor for Springfield College. Fiore mentors Springfield College students to ensure they are ready to compete for awards and grants. Springfield College students have won 10 awards of $1,000 each, speaking to their entrepreneurial spirit and to their ability to start a business.
This year, Springfield College MBA student Pamela Fields is a Spirit Award recipient. An outstanding student, according to her faculty, she has started and run multiple businesses, and recently launched “Royal-Joes, LLC,” a food production company that produces low- or no-salt products. The main product line is no-salt pickles that are flavored with spices rather than salt, a recipe that gives the product a healthy fresh taste and benefits individuals with heart conditions. Royal-Joes products have been sold at county fairs and reportedly well-received by the public. Fields has a plan to sell her products online and is in the process of developing a website.
Fields plans to mass-produce some of her product lines and has a preliminary offer at a major food supermarket chain to carry additional lines of products. She is expanding production through a kosher and organic commercial kitchen facility. Of Fields, Program Director Kathryn Heler says, “She is a natural salesperson and very perceptive of market opportunities. She definitely has the entrepreneurial spirit.”
The Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation was founded by Grinspoon and his wife, Diane Troderman, to promote quality education and entrepreneurship in western Massachusetts. Grinspoon founded the national real estate company, Aspen Square Management, Inc., based in West Springfield, Mass.