GCC students to receive Grinspoon Entrepreneurial Spirit Awards

April 26, 2010

Entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well – and honored – at Greenfield Community College. Four GCC students will receive awards recognizing their entrepreneurial spirit from the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation (HGCF) at a banquet to be held on April 28.

Three GCC students will receive Entrepreneurial Spirit Awards. One GCC student, Gabe McFarland, will receive a new, first-time award – the Grinspoon, Garvey and Young Entrepreneurship Award – a highly competitive process involving 24 students from institutions throughout the Pioneer Valley. Of the 24, only five were chosen, and each receive $1,000  and attended a dinner with Harold Grinspoon at his home to discuss their business plans with area venture capitalists. GCC is one of 14 area colleges whose students the Grinspoon Foundation recognizes with Entrepreneurial Spirit Awards and the Grinspoon, Garvey and Young Entrepreneurship Award. In the past six years, 22 GCC students have received over $27,000 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:

Gabe McFarland, a 26-year-old Radiologic Technology student from Turners Falls, is the owner of McFarland Productions, a company which provides engineering, mixing, and music production services for over 50 different regional and national musicians, including movie soundtracks. McFarland Production works collaboratively with Eastlake Recording Studios in Shelburne Falls. McFarland Productions and Eastlake Studios are a top-of-the-line recording facility designed to handle any project, from rock to country to rap to movie production to automatic dialogue replacement (ADR). Gabe will use his $1,000 award for purchasing new equipment.

Anita Eliason, an Entrepreneurship Certificate student from Easthampton, is the owner of Feel Better Clothing, a company that produces clothing for women and children in recuperative situations. With Feel Better Clothing, Anita combines her experience as a clothing designer with her background as a corporate consultant in health care settings to provide fashionable, comfortable clothing for an underserved market. Feel Better Jackets are bright, cheerful bolero-style jackets made of lightweight, warm fabric. Anita received $900.

Patrick MacWilliams, a 24-year-old Business Administration Transfer student from Amherst, is the owner of Five College Movers, a licensed, insured full-service moving company. Pat started work as a mover helping friends of his family. Now, Pat’s business employs several area college students. At GCC, Pat learned the importance of clear communication and attention to detail. His company communicates quickly, clearly, and personally with their clients to insure a stress-free moving experience. Patrick received $300.

Matthew Chiamis, a 21-year-old Entrepreneurship Certificate Student from Ashfield, is the owner of The Spartan Projects, a small independent film production company that makes high production value films with very few resources and the use of creative problem solving. Matt attended a year of post-high school education at the College of Santa Fe Film School. The Spartan Projects is currently in the pre-production process of their first major production. The award will help Matt acquire a new Canon DSLR camera. Matthew received $200.

Thom Simmons, Chair of GCC’s Business and Information Technology Department said, “The Grinspoon Awards represent an important element of our complete Entrepreneurship focus here in the Business Department at GCC.  In the recent past, many students have used the award money to launch the businesses they have been working on in class, from retail clothing stores to brewpubs. The Foundation’s annual recognition of our students is evidence of the mutually beneficial relationship the College has with surrounding communities, and the commitment we have to teaching small business skills. I am excited about each of this year’s winners and their prospects for success during this time when many small businesses are challenged by the state of the economy.”

For more information, contact Thom Simmons, 413-775-1482 or simmonst@gcc.mass.edu