Message from the Director

There is a reason why western Massachusetts is often referred to as the Pioneer Valley…this is a place with a rich tradition of pioneering entrepreneurs honing their skills to build some of our nation’s premier businesses. Perhaps the most famous were Milton Bradley and his games or Smith and Wesson with their side arms, but the legacy goes back at least as far as George Washington and Henry Knox who founded the Springfield National Armory in 1777, which produced the first musket and, later, the famous Springfield and M1 Garand rifles. Others followed and were responsible for a significant number of our nation’s first inventions including the first dictionary, the first American horseless car, the first vulcanized rubber tire, the first American gasoline-powered car, the first successful motorcycle company, the country’s first commercial radio station, and, of course, basketball.

Western New England University and, in particular, the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, is building on this history and fostering the entrepreneurial spirit in the next generation of Pioneer Valley entrepreneurs. The Center was founded in 2002 with a single program: The Small Business Clinic.  In the clinic, law and business students under faculty supervision provide legal assistance and business advice to start-ups and small businesses who otherwise could not afford such services. The Center’s programs have expanded and improved over time so that today they include a Speakers Series, Information Workshops, the Extreme Business Makeover and an entrepreneurial information library. All of these programs are available to students, faculty and staff, as well as to the general public.

In 2011 the Center expanded its mission to include promoting innovation and entrepreneurial initiatives across the campus from the School of Law to all four Colleges in the University. Today, the Center’s Management Committee has representatives from all University’s academic disciplines. This new mission has resulted in broader, deeper, and richer programming and more potential for expanded efforts in the future.

I am very proud to have been a part of Center’s progress from the start and am looking forward to the future. I hope you will stop by the Center just to say hello or join us at one of our events.

James C. McKeon, PhD
Director