Information Sessions

Throughout the academic year, the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship  offers free Information Sessions on subject of great importance to entrepreneurs starting new and building small businesses. Session topics have included: forming a legal entity, intellectual property protection, the ABCs of nonprofits, marketing research, financing, succession planning, franchising, buying and selling a business, dealing with government red tape, and investor POV. For more information on our series called the 123’s of Financial Literacy for Small Businesses, which we presented in 2011-12, please visit the 123’s of Financial Literacy for Small Businesses page.

Previous Events

Spring 2011 Information Sessions

Products Liability (video)

Presented by Professor William Childs, Western New England University School of Law; Michael McMyne, SVP & Chief Claim Officer Burlington Insurance Group Guilford Specialty Group, and Attorney George Marion, Bulkley, Richardson and Gelinas, LLP on January 20, 2011. A panel of experts provided an overview of product liability law and risk management strategies for small businesses and manufacturers.

Financing for Small Businesses (video)

Presented by Leslie Lawrence, Director of Lending, Western MA Enterprise Fund; James Montemayor, VP Commercial Lending, Florence Saving Bank; and Edguardo Tarrats, Branch Manager, Small Business Administration on March 10, 2011.Panelists provided an overview of the small business financing offerings available in the marketplace and offered suggestions for how small businesses might position themselves to obtain financing.

Employment Law Basics (video)

Presented by Attorney Susan Fentin, Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C.; Attorney Charles R. Casartello, Jr., Pellegrini, Seeley, Ryan & Blakesley P.C.; and Attorney Amy Royal, Royal LLP on April 7, 2011. This session offered a roadmap for businesses to avoid common problems that arise under employment law.  The three presenting attorneys covered issues such as hiring pitfalls, the difference between independent contractors and employees, the importance of implementing an employee handbook and conducting regular performance reviews, effective discipline and documentation, and workers' compensation insurance.

Fall 2010 Information Sessions

How to Handle an IRS Audit (video)

Presented by Paul Mancinone, CPA, Esq.; Professor Fred Royal, Western New England University School of Law on November 5, 2010. To view photos of this event, click here.

Top 10 List: Common Legal Problems of Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs

Presented by Professor Eric Gouvin, Professor of Law at Western New England University School of Law and Director of the Law and Business Center for Advancing Entrepreneurship on October 6, 2010. Every business is unique, but unfortunately the legal problems they encounter are surprisingly similar. In this talk Prof. Gouvin provided a quick tour of the top 10 legal mistakes made by small businesses. The program touched on a range of legal topics that come up all the time in small businesses, including trademarks, contracts, employment law, and taxes.  

Six Business Killers

Presented by James Scanlon, the Scanlon Group and Maureen Tobin, Esq. of Cooley Shrair on September 16, 2010. It has often been said that failure to plan is equivalent to planning to fail. Every day business owners face new challenges, opportunities and decisions.  This program examined the six mistakes that consistently cause businesses to fail and how to avoid them.

2009-10 Information Sessions

Women in Business Strategic Position for Profitability

Presented by Nancy Urbschat, principal, TSM Design; Janine Fondon, founder, Unity First magazine; and Barbara Rodriguez, president, Transfluenci Translation and Interpreting Services on September 29, 2009. Women entrepreneurs have challenges in the areas of access to capital, social networks, and access to opportunities. Three women entrepreneurs shares their experiences in building their businesses.

Legal Entities

Presented by Eric Gouvin, Professor of Law, Western New England University School of Law, and Michael Sweet, Attorney, Doherty, Wallace, Pillsbury & Murphy P.C., on October 14, 2009. This session helped entrepreneurs understand the distinctions between the diverse forms of a business taking into consideration the ownership, as well as liabilities of the business.

Protecting Your Ideas and Prospering in the Arts

Presented by Charles Brush, owner, Indian Orchard Mills; Paul Rapp, attorney, Law Offices of Peter Irvine; and Qualahnia Suggs, Attorney, Black Entertainment Television, on November 13, 2009. This session focused on the priceless intellectual property created in the arts that requires simultaneous display and protection.

Presented by Attorney Paul Rapp, Law Office of Paul Rapp, March 10, 2010.

Marketing on a Shoe String

Presented by Natalia Munoz and Beatrice Dewberry, Dewberry Munoz Communications Company on April 9, 2010. Offering valuable pointers on how to spread the word about your new business on a shoestring budget.

2008-09 Information Sessions

Evaluating the Risk of Doing Business

Presenters Brenda Doherty, Partner, Doherty, Wallace, Pillsbury, and Murphy Law Office & Bill Trudeau, CEO, Insurance Center of New England discussed how to identify the risks and protect yourself from the liabilities flowing from your business activities. What you don't know may hurt your business and deprive you of your personal assets.

The Business of Being on the Web

Presented by Donald Ghostlaw, Assistant Clinical Professor of Law, Intellectual Property & Entrepreneurship Law Clinic, CT Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation, and Maurice Brown, CEO, Vox Novus Media. Online business is a way to increase sales and eliminate overhead. However, greater reach also creates greater exposure to fraud, security breaches, intellectual property issues, and other concerns. How to protect yourself while maximizing profit in cyberspace. Read More

Getting the Help You Need–Employees, Independent Contractor

Presenters Amy Royal, Esq., Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C., and Brenda Wishart, President, Wishart Associates discussed how to identify the differences between employees and independent contractors and understand the distinct state and federal laws regulating each.

Registering, Permitting, Licensing

Presenters: Ellen Freyman, Partner, Shatz, Schwartz, & Fentin, P.C., and Scott Hanson, Principal Planner, City of Springfield Office of Development & Planning

Understanding and Evaluating the Risks and the Liabilities of a Consulting Practice

Presenter: Ann Latham, Owner/Consultant, Uncommon Clarity ( Click here to listen to the complete presentation in .mp3 format.

2007-08 Information Sessions

Buying & Selling Your Business

Presented by Eric Gouvin, Associate Dean, Western New England University School of Law, Frank Colaccino G’80, President, The Colvest Group, Ltd., and Jay O’Brien ’74, President, J.M. O’Brien & Company. How to identify and finance a new business opportunity, and how to get the best buyout for your existing business.

Succession Planning

Presented by the Law Offices of Shatz, Schwartz, & Fentin. Preparing an exit strategy in order to transition your business for change, and how to position employees for promotion.

Investor P.O.V.

Presented by Linda Peters, Grinspoon Foundation, and Joe Scibilia, Gasoline Alley. A discussion with various business investors, ranging from a venture capitalist to a traditional business banker, on various ways to fund your business.

Dealing with Government Red Tape

Presented by Steve Adams, U.S. Small Business Association and Carol Moore-Cutting, Owner, WEIB-FM Smooth Jazz 106.3 FM.

Franchising: Learn how to financially prepare to manage a franchise, or expand your business. Presented by: Brian Bolduc; Jesse Lanier, President, Springfield Food Systems; and Steve Rozenkrantz, Owner, The Entrepreneur’s Source.

2006-07 Information Sessions

Legal Entities

Business attorneys discussed business structure and how to determine the right entity for your small business needs. Corporations, LLCs, and partnerships, were covered.

Intellectual Property

Attorneys specializing in intellectual property talked about protecting your ideas, including a discussion on patents, trademarks, and copyrights, and the processes involved in ensuring business names, logos, and artwork remain your own.

ABCs of Nonprofits

This workshop discussed the nonprofit entity, including the writing of by-laws and articles of incorporation, as well as a review of legal issues involved in the creation of nonprofits.

Marketing Research

Make better business decisions by learning how to plan a market study, collect data, and interpret the results.

Securing Financing

Hear from banking professionals on the steps to take to achieve financing as a small business. This workshop included a review of small business financing and the ways in which small businesses often fail due to funding issues.

podcasts_icon50x50.gifInformation Sessions Series Video Podcast (requires Apple iTunes)

Click here to subscribe to the Western New England University Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Information Sessions Series Video Podcast.

Download Recent Information Sessions Videos (requires Apple Quicktime Player)

Events 2014-15

Spring 2015

Tuesday February 3, 2015
Privacy, Data Security and Cyber Security Law: 
Understanding the Issues and Creating a Career Path


       Kathleen M. Porter, Partner, Robinson & Cole LLP, CIPP/US WNE Law ’90 (Program Chair)
       Elena M. Gervino Vice President, Claim Legal and Specialized Services Travelers, WNE Law ‘88
       Andrew Levchuk, Counsel, Bulkley, Richardson and Gelinas, CISSP 
       Richard R. Reynolds, Privacy Counsel at Boston Scientific Corporation, CIPP/US WNE Law ’95 

Western New England University School of Law and the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship presented a cutting-edge program highlighting current issues in privacy, data security, and cybersecurity law on Tuesday, February 3, 2015. The panel will discussed current and evolving legal, insurance, and regulatory trends affecting this rapidly-changing area of law. The speakers identified the emerging issues to follow in 2015 and discussed the concerns that keep them awake at night.

Fall 2014

Tuesday, November 11, 2014
How to Handle an IRS Audit
Paul Mancinone '92

Tuesday, November 18, 2014 
Common Legal Mistakes of Small Businesses
Dean Eric Gouvin, Prof. Robert Statchen, Michele Feinstein, ‘84

Previous Events:

Spring 2014


Tuesday, February 25, 2014
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
Bill Bither, Software Entrepreneur


Monday, March 24, 2014
Michael Semanie Jr., Director of Pharmacy (Retired)
Big Y Food Pharmacy and Wellness Center

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
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
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
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
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
Mr. Jeff Birnn '72, Copresident
Birnn Chocolates of Vermont


Tuesday, November 5, 2013
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