Entry to Entrepreneurship Reaches Full Enrollment


Contact: Alice Maggio, Berkshares, Inc., [email protected] or (413) 528-1737




BerkShares, Inc.’s business-planning course for Berkshire County youth, called “Entry to Entrepreneurship,” has reached full enrollment. The twenty registered students ages 14 to 25 will have their first class on Tuesday, January 26 at Berkshire Community College’s South County Center in downtown Great Barrington.


“Entry to Entrepreneurship” is a business education course that is community-supported, community-taught, and focuses on inspiring ‘import-replacement’ businesses that will fill gaps in the local economy. This approach is a part of a larger initiative spearheaded by BerkShares, Inc. called “Community Supported Industry (CSI).” CSI builds on the community-supported agriculture (CSA) model to find ways that Berkshire citizens can identify local business opportunities and work together to turn them into enterprises that become part of the local economy.


Dawn Estes-Daub, guidance counselor at Mount Everett Regional High School, directed many students to sign up. “Our students are really looking forward to this opportunity to explore entrepreneurship. The Entry to Entrepreneurship program is a great example of the way this community invests in its young people and creates occasions for inter-generational learning.”


Course facilitator Alice Maggio of BerkShares, Inc. is looking forward to seeing a full classroom. “In ‘Entry to Entrepreneurship’ we are introducing the concept of community entrepreneurship, which challenges the notion that entrepreneurship is dependent on an individual’s personality. With guidance from local business people, our students will flesh out ideas for new businesses that are inspired and informed by the resources and strengths of the Berkshires. That’s Community Supported Industry.”


Students will present their business plans to the community at a culminating event, which will take place on April 12th at Dewey Hall in Sheffield, MA. Students will showcase their work from the 10-week course and each will be awarded 200 BerkShares. Friends, family, and community members are invited to attend, where they will join the course’s guest lecturers, mentors, and business review team to celebrate community entrepreneurship in the Berkshires.


The “Entry to Entrepreneurship” program is offered in partnership with the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network’s Berkshire Regional Office and Berkshire Community College’s South County Center.


In addition, community members Vito Vitrano, Howard Lefenfeld, Rachel Moriarty, Kristina Vaselewski, Charles Ferris, Mark DeCelle, Oskar Hallig, Richard Stanley, Phyllis Webb, John Graziano, David Bruce, Billie Best, Keith Girouard, Nancy Shulman, Erik Bruun, Julie Hannum, and Maddie Elling are lending their time throughout the course as advisors, mentors, or presenters.


The program has been made possible by support from Covestro, 1Berkshire, the Elitzer Family Fund, Nancy Fitzpatrick and Lincoln Russell, Benno Friedman, the Great Barrington Rotary Club, Greylock Federal Credit Union, Hellman, Shearn & Arienti, LLP, Hunt Alternatives & Fern Portnoy, Charles and Angeliki Keil, Lee Bank, Pittsfield Cooperative Bank, Salisbury Bank and Trust Company, Smitty Pignatelli, The Triplex Cinema, and the Schumacher Center for a New Economics.