Grinspoon Awards recognize entrepreneurial spirit of GCC students

April 24, 2009

Entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well – and honored – at Greenfield Community College. Six GCC students will receive Entrepreneurial Spirit Awards from the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation (HGCF) at a banquet to be held on April 29.

Thom Simmons, Chair of GCC’s Department of Business and Information Technology said, “The awardees were chosen for their notable drive to succeed, a willingness to try and try again, flexibility, and an ability to juggle many deadlines and projects at once.” GCC is one of 14 area colleges whose students the Grinspoon Foundation recognizes with Entrepreneurial Spirit Awards. In the past five years, 18 GCC students have received over $25,000 in these Awards. The Entrepreneurship Initiative is one of several initiatives supported by the philanthropy of Longmeadow, MA resident and businessman, Harold Grinspoon.

This year ’s Awardees include:

Tali Serota, a 34-year-old Entrepreneurship Certificate student, is the designer/owner of Gratitude Gear Designs, a clothing import company. Tali’s mission is to provide clothing that inspires joy and self beauty in the body, while giving back a percentage of her sales to organizations that help support people and the planet. Tali’s $1,500 award helped her take a big leap forward in professionalizing her business – funding a professional photo shoot in New York City with photographer, Jason Goodman and a complete revamping of her website, planning a marketing initiative for the west coast, and exploring ways to produce her products sustainably in the U.S.

Eli Ahrensdorf, a 20-year-old Business Administration Transfer student, is the owner of Ahrensdorf Glass, a flameworking glass-craft business. He first became interested in the craft through former GCC student Anatoly Kishinevski who received a Grinspoon Award in 2005 for his own glass-craft business. Eli will use his $1,000 award to purchase a kiln, allowing him to expand his business and further develop his creative abilities. Eli’s glass pendants and other one-of-akind creations sell well at The Hempest in Northampton and the Young & Constantin Studio and Gallery in Shelburne Falls.

Armen Vartanyan, a 22-year-old Business Administration Transfer student, is the publisher of Novi Svet (New Light), a Russian language newspaper serving the Russian immigrant community in western Mass. Armen has worked with newspapers since he was 12 and takes care of the technical side of the paper, does reporting and is the English-speaking representative of the paper. He is using his $1,000 award to fund a trip to Russia to collect news for inclusion in his newspaper.

Christine Cole, a 47-year-old Management student, is owner of Embodyourlife, a somatic bodywork service through which she teaches seminars and offers coaching that relate developmental movement to what people want to achieve in their lives (see Having been self-employed throughout her life, Christine is enhancing her business skills and knowledge at GCC and will use her $500 award to work toward creating an institute for disseminating information about somatic knowledge.

Margaret Langdell, a 40-year-old Math student, is owner of Langdell Studios, through which she teaches jewelry making and sells jewelry ( Margaret used her $500 award to get new tools and set up a new studio. At GCC she’s refreshing her math background so that she can teach math as well as art. Grateful that Harold Grinspoon has made such an effort to help others be successful, Margaret works hard to empower her students, especially teens.

Tyler McNamara, a 26-year-old Entrepreneurship Certificate student, is the “Roving Wilderness Guide” who leads outdoor programs for the Vermont Wilderness School and wilderness programs in New York and Massachusetts. Tyler ’s vision for his work is to walk a path that navigates both the fast-paced world of business and technology and the slow-paced, cyclical, interconnected natural world. His GCC studies have helped him develop the business know-how to actualize his vision and his $500 award will support his explorations.

Reflecting on the Grinspoon Awards, Thom Simmons said, “The Grinspoon Awards have proven to be a launching pad for many of our students. What we are seeing is exciting for our students and our community, and really represents a cutting-edge approach to teaching entrepreneurship. The Grinspoon Awards form one strand of an integrated web of activities in which our Entrepreneurship students are involved. In all, students engage in a very holistic, well-rounded approach to their studies, to real-life business opportunities, and in working with other students.”

For more information about the Entrepreneurial Spirit Awards and Entrepreneurship education at GCC, contact Business Department Chair Thom Simmons, 413-775-1482.