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Grinspoon Awards Recognize Entrepreneurial Spirit of GCC Students

Posted on Friday May 23rd 2014

Entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well – and honored – at Greenfield Community College. On April 30, two GCC students received the Grinspoon Entrepreneurial Spirit Award and $1,000 from the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation (HGCF) at The Grinspoon Entrepreneurship Initiative Awards Ceremony and Banquet. Laura DiLuzio won for her DiLuzio Business Services and Brian Llewelyn won for his line of sportswear, Bull-Cross Racing. Since 2004, a total of 45 GCC students have won more than $40,000 from this Foundation. The Entrepreneurship Initiative is one of several initiatives supported by the philanthropy of Longmeadow, MA resident and businessman, Harold Grinspoon, and includes all of the Pioneer Valley’s institutions of higher education.

The Grinspoon Ceremony included an “Elevator Pitch” Contest in which one representative from each of the 15 Pioneer Valley schools had 90 seconds to address 500 people and convince a team of bankers and venture capitalists to fund their new business idea. This year, GCC student Scott Abdow won third place and $600 in the competition for his vision of an event-based gaming store called “Game On!”

Laura DiLuzio, 31 of Northfield, started working as a bookkeeper when she was 17 years old and has worked as an independent contractor since 2009, providing bookkeeping and other business services to area small businesses. Continuing to add to her client base, Laura recently expanded her services to include organizing bridal fairs and trade shows. She used her award to purchase equipment for her business.

Laura began studying at GCC in fall 2013, at the same time her daughter, now three years old, started school. Laura went to GCC both to set an example for her daughter and to find the next step in her career. She is studying toward Business Administration Transfer and Accounting degrees and a Computer Assisted Bookkeeping Certificate and plans to transfer to the University of Massachusetts Amherst. At GCC, Laura has been involved with the Business Club and the Reality Fair for area high school seniors.

Laura said, “Since starting taking courses at GCC, I have learned a great deal and gained valuable friendships. In my marketing class we used one of my clients as a case study and prepared a marketing plan for them. GCC helped me provide a valuable service for my client. I am honored to receive the Grinspoon award and to have my hard work recognized.”

Brian Llewelyn, 19 of Northfield, is in his first year at GCC studying Business and working toward an Entrepreneurship Certificate. Brian began his sportswear business, Bull-Cross Racing, in 2011 with a $100 loan from his mother. Brian designs and sells shirts, hats, and accessories, targeting those who are just starting in motocross competition and do not have corporate sponsors. He used that first $100 to produce sportswear, sold out within a week and repaid his mother’s loan. This spring, Brian took GCC’s Fundamentals of Fashion & Textiles course where he created a new sweatshirt design specifically geared toward the needs of those who ride motorcross. He used his Grinspoon Award to invest in new products.

Brian said, “The Fashion & Textiles class at GCC helped me figure out my target market and this award has helped more people learn about my business. My goal is to help kids who race but are not going to make it into the pros feel like a pro.”

Commenting on Laura and Brian’s Grinspoon Awards, GCC Professor of Economics & Business Thom Simmons said, “Laura and Brian aren’t just studying about business, they are running businesses, applying their learning to the real world. In class, Laura and Brian have provided concrete examples for other students of practical applications of the skills and knowledge they learn at GCC.”

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

By Mary McClintock, ’82

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