Public Programs

The Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship sponsors a number of educational and outreach events.

Speaker Series

Several times a year, the Center invites renowned experts and experienced entrepreneurs from around the country to share their knowledge on business success. All Speaker Series events are free and open to the public.  The speaking events are held at various locations around the Western New England University campus.  Usually, a light lunch is provided.

Information Sessions

The Center offers Information Sessions several times a year, presented by established business consultants.  For the past couple of years, the Center has alternated between two series: one year we offer a series on Financial Litaracy for Small Business and the next year we offer a series we call Mini Law School for Small Business. Both series are presented by experts drawn from the community and the University and are designed to give small business owners a good overview of important topics.  Before adopting the Financial Literacy/Mini Law School rotation, the information sessions topics included session on topics such as: forming a legal entity, intellectual property protection, ABCs of nonprofits, marketing research, financing, succession planning, franchising, buying and selling a business, and dealing with government red tape.

Information Sessions are typically held in the School of Law. They are free and open to the public.

EXTREME Business Makeover

The semiannual EXTREME Business Makeover provides an entrepreneur with a chance to present his or her business plan to a panel of experts, consisting of business experts, attorneys, bankers, accountants, marketing professionals, and industry insiders. On the day of the presentation, in front of an audience, the entrepreneurs receive feedback from the panel. This event offers entrepreneurs and audience members a rare opportunity to hear the point of view of business experts and financiers. The EXTREME Business Makeover is free and open to the public. Lunch is provided.


The Center holds conferences from time-to-time featuring scholars and policymakers exploring issues relating to entrepreneurship or community development, and discussing the challenges facing small businesses and start-ups.

Events 2013-14

Spring 2014


Tuesday, February 25, 
5:00-7:00 p.m., Blake Law Center, Law School Common Room 3
123s of Financial Literacy for Small Businesses
Cost-Effective Marketing
Presenters: Dr. Lanny Spotts, Western New England University College of Business, Karen Utgoff, Principal, Karen Lauter Utgoff Consulting, Market-Oriented Strategy, Megan Lynch, CEO/President, Six-Point Creative Works 

Thursday, February 27, 2014
12:30-2:00 p.m., Sleith Hall, Room 100
Speaker Series
Bill Bither, Software Entrepreneur


Monday, March 24, 2014
5:00-6:30 p.m., College of Science and Pharmacy, Room 400
Speaker Series
Michael Semanie Jr., Director of Pharmacy (Retired)
Big Y Food Pharmacy and Wellness Center

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
5:00-7:00 p.m., Blake Law Center, Law School Common Room 3
123s of Financial Literacy for Small Businesses
Managing Credit and Banking Relationships
Presenters: Leslie Ross Lawrence, Senior Vice President, Chief Credit Officer, NUVO Bank & Trust Company, Sharon Czarnecki, Assistant Vice President, Westfield Bank


Tuesday, April 8, 2014
12:30-2:00 p.m., Sleith Hall, Room 100
Speaker Series
“One Man’s Vision for XLERATING Success”

Denis Gagnon G’76
President, Excel Dryer, Inc.
Trustee, Western New England University

Tuesday, April 22, 2014
5:00-7:00 p.m., Blake Law Center, Law School Common Room 3

123s of Financial Literacy for Small Businesses
Insurance: Risk-Management Techniques for Small Businesses
Presenter: Bill Trudeau, President and CEO, the Insurance Center of New England



Thursday, September 12, 2013
Speaker Series
Ron Lalli ’61/G’67, Entrepreneur
EBTEC, Texcel, Belt Technologies, Energy Beam Sciences, PTI Industries, Litron, Overhaul Support Services Former Trustee, Western New England University
Watch a video of the talk

Tuesday, September 24, 2013
123s of Financial Literacy for Small Businesses
Basics of Financial & Business Planning – Presenters; Dr. Jim McKeon & Dr. Lynn Walter, School of Business


Tuesday, October 22, 2013
123s of Financial Literacy for Small Businesses
Accounting Basics-Understanding Financial Statements
Presenter; Jay O’Brien '74, President, JM O’Brien & Company PC

Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Speaker Series
Mr. Jeff Birnn '72, Copresident
Birnn Chocolates of Vermont


Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Speaker Series
Larry Hott L'76, Owner, Florentine Films / Hott Productions, Inc. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013
123s of Financial Literacy for Small Businesses
Introduction to Tax Issues for Small Business
Presenters: Paul Mancinone L'92, CPA, and Dean Gouvin