Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
A Unique Resource for Legal and Business Expertise
The Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship is a resource for small business development in the Pioneer Valley region. Combining the resources of the University’s Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Engineering, School of Pharmacy, and the School of Law, the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship offers personal, professional assistance to entrepreneurs in the business startup stage, free of charge through the Small Business Clinic and community outreach events.
Small Business Clinic
Small Business Clinic
The clinic provides legal and business services to entrepreneurs and small businesses in the greater Springfield area. We are currently accepting applications for the fall 2017 semester. If you are interested in the Clinic's services, please click the "Would you like to apply" button below. For more information, please contact us at 413-782-1469.
For businesses with well-defined legal issues but which for some reason cannot be served by the Small Business Clinic as a regular client, the Clinic offers a one hour walk-in consultation. At the walk-in consultation, the clinician and students meet with a business person to discuss the legal matter in detail and provide some feedback to help the businessperson get the assistance they need. Although the Clinic cannot perform the legal work necessary to resolve the matter at the consultation, the interview frequently resolves confusion and helps ensure that the matter will be resolved appropriately.
If you are interested in utilizing the Clinic’s services, please fill out an application:
Q. WHAT DO WE DO?
A. The Small Business Clinic offers free legal services to small businesses located in the greater Springfield area.
Q. IS THERE AN APPLICATION PROCESS?
A. Yes. Prospective clients must complete a short application that asks entrepreneurs to describe their specific area of concern. The application process will conclude with an interview with the students and faculty member. Applicants are accepted into the program based upon the complexity of their concern, the estimated time it will take to complete the project, and their business income level.
Q. WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE SERVICES?
A. Businesses are eligible if their projects can be concluded within an 11 to 14 week timeframe.The Clinic is intended for entrepreneurs and small businesses who cannot otherwise afford to retain a lawyer. Thus, there is also an income threshold that businesses must meet in order to be considered.
Q. WHAT IS THE ROLE OF STUDENTS?
A. School of Law students, under the supervision of faculty members, work in small groups to assist local small business owners in resolving their legal issues or needs. Students work directly with the entrepreneurs throughout the 11 to 14 week semester session. Students also give presentations on legal and business topics throughout the year.
Q. ARE THE STUDENTS SUPERVISED?
A. Yes. The students work under the supervision of School of Law faculty.
Q. WHAT IF I HAVE A MORE IN-DEPTH ISSUE/PROBLEM?
A. If clients have a more in-depth issue or problem that cannot be resolved by the Center's students, they may be referred to local attorneys who have agreed to be listed as a resource. These additional services may have fees attached.
Q. WHERE IS THE CLINIC?
A. The Small Business Clinic is office located in the School of Law, in the Blake Law Center at Western New England University, 1215 Wilbraham Road in Springfield, MA. The Small Business Clinic is located on the 1st Floor of the Blake Law Center in room 25. Please call 413-782-1469 with any questions, or to make an appointment.
For several years, the Center has invited renowned experts and experienced entrepreneurs from around the country to share their knowledge on business success. Most of these presentations can be viewed in the School of Law's Digital Commons by clicking on "Speaker Series Presentations" below.
In the Center's Speaker Series, successful entrepreneurs talk about the paths they took on their way to starting, running, and growing their businesses, including lessons learned about things they wished they had known when they were starting out. At other times we invite thought leaders in entrepreneurship from academia or industry to share their insights with the audience. Videos of these talks are available in most cases by clicking on the title of the talk.
Privacy, Data Security and Cyber Security Law: Understanding the Issues and Creating a Career Path
Tuesday February 3, 2015
How to Handle an IRS Audit
Paul Mancinone '92, Trustee, Western New England University and, President Paul L. Mancinone Company, P.C.
November 11, 2014
Common Legal Mistakes of Small Businesses
Dean Eric Gouvin, Prof. Robert Statchen, and Michele Feinstein '84
Scibelli Enterprise Center
Springfield Technical Community College
November 18, 2014
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
September 12, 2013
Living the Sweet Life
Jeff Birnn '72, Co-president, Birnn Chocolates
October 29, 2013
Bringing A Legal Perspective To The Director's Chair
Lawrence Hott L'76, Owner, Florentine Films/Hott Productions, Inc.
November 5, 2013
Confessions of a Serial Entrepreneur
Bill Bither, Software Entrepreneur
February 27, 2014
Intrepreneurship of Pharmacy Management
Michael G. Semaine, Jr., Director of Pharmacy, Big Y Pharmacy and Wellness Center
March 24, 2014
One Man's Vision for Xlerating Success
Denis Gagnon, G'76, President, Excel Dryer, Inc., Trustee, Western New England University
April 8, 2014
Entrepreneurship in Pharmacy
Andrew Robinson, Owner & Director of Operations, SpecialtyScripts Pharmacy
April 11, 2013
Lawyer As Entrepreneur
Joseph Kershenbaum, Executive Vice President & CFO of Salute Homecare LLC
Jayson Falcone of the Law Offices of Jayson J. Falcone
March 5, 2013
Entrepreneurship in Creative Communications
Tina Stevens, Principal & Creative Director, Stevens 470
Robert C. Andrews Jr., President & CEO, Digital Media Ventures (DMV) Entertainment Group
Janine Fondon, President & CEO, UnityFirst.com
Jan. 29, 2013
Computer Scientist as Entrepreneur
Jackie Fallon ’82, Owner, FIT Solutions
November 8, 2012
Brewer as Entrepreneur
Gary Bogoff, Cofounder, Berkshire Brewing Company
October 16, 2012
Engineer as Entrepreneur
Stanley Kowalski III '92, Chairman of the Board FloDesign, Inc.;
Founder, FloDesign Wind Turbine, FloDesign Water Turbine, FloDesign Sonics, SK3 Realty
September 18, 2012
Everything I Know About Business I Learned From the Grateful Dead
Barry Barnes, Professor of Management, Nova Southeastern University H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship
April 5, 2012
Undocumented Entrepreneurs: Business Structure and Immigration Compliance
David P. Weber, Assistant Professor of Law, Creighton University School of Law
January 24, 2012
Products, Systems and Services Innovation
Marc Meyer - Professor of Business, Northeastern University College of Business
November 17, 2011
Anatomy of a Meltdown: The Continuing Small Business Impact
Michael Malloy - Professor of Management, McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific
September 29, 2011
Over-confident and Unambitious Entrepreneur
Karl Okamoto - Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Business and Entrepreneurship Law Concentration, Earle Mack School of Law at Drexel University
April 13, 2011
Educating Entrepreneurs Through Immersion in the Ecosystem
Peter Russo - Director, Entrepreneurship Programs, Boston University School of Management Institute for Technology Entrepreneurship & Commercialization
February 22, 2011
What's In Your Dash?
Harold Epps G’84, President and CEO, PRWT Services, Inc.
November 9, 2010
The African American Entrepreneur Then and Now
W. Sherman Rogers, Professor of Law, Howard University School of Law
September 23, 2010
Debt as Venture Capital
Darian Ibrahim, Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School
September 22, 2010
Leading a Business in Anxious Times
Katharine G. Baker, Principal, Family Therapy and Consulting Associates
April 15, 2010
Striking Out on Their Own: Self-employed and Financial Distress
Robert Lawless, Professor of Law and the Galowich-Huzienga Faculty Scholar, University of Illinois College of Law
January 26, 2010
Effectively Leveraging New Media For Profitable Business Development
David Bullock, President & Managing Director of White Bullock Group and coauthor of Barack 2.0
November 5, 2009
Reflections on a Life in Banking -- The Long Road Behind and the Long Road Ahead
Dorothy Bridges, Vice President, American Bankers Assoc. & President & CEO, City First Bank, Washington DC
April 14, 2009
Race and Entrepreneurial Success
Robert Fairlie, Professor of Economics at the University of California, Santa Cruz
November 25, 2008
Promoting Economic Justice Through Community-centered Lawyering
Laurie Hauber, Assistant Professor of the Practice of Law, Vanderbilt University Law School
November 6, 2008
Financial Services for the Poor: Evidence from the Detroit Area Study
Michael Barr, Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School
April 8, 2008
Innovation & Diversity: Lessons from The Real Pepsi Challenge
Stephanie Capparell, journalist, author, and filmmaker
January 29, 2008
Fran Harris, former WNBA player, business consultant, and inspirational speaker
November 13, 2007
Race and Entrepreneurship
Robert Suggs, Professor of Law at the University of Maryland School of Law
October 25, 2007
Steven Hobbs, Tom Bevill Chairholder of Law at the University of Alabama School of Law
March 7, 2007
D. Gordon Smith, Professor of Law at the University of Wisconsin Law School
January 25, 2007
Humera Fasihuddin, President, CEO, & Cofounder of Edical May
October 25, 2006
Nadine Thompson, Cofounder, Warm Spirit
September 12, 2006
Success Stories Series:
John and Stephen Davis, businessmen, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists
April 10, 2007
Fletcher Wiley, President and COO of PRWT Holdings and "Of Counsel" for Bingham McCutchen LLP
February 27, 2007
John Reed L'42/H'01, CEO Mestek, Inc.
September 21, 2006
Building Business from a Base of Strength
Laura Gordon, CPA, founder and owner of Gordon & Associates
April 25, 2006
Minority Oppression and the Limited Liability Company: Learning (or Not) From Close Corporation History
Douglas Moll, Beirne, Maynard & Parsons Law Center Professor of Law at the University of Houston Law Center
March 7, 2006
Achieving the Double Bottom Line: A Framework for Corporations Seeking to Deliver Profits and Public Services
Lisa Fairfax, Associate Professor of Law at the University of Maryland Law School
February 9, 2006
Building Enterprise to Empower Community
Bill Strickland, President & CEO of the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild and Bidwell Training Center, Inc.
January 25, 2006
In the past the Center has offered Information Sessions several times a year, presented by established business consultants and legal professional. For the past couple of years, the Center alternated between two series: one year a series on Financial Literacy for Small Business and the next year a series called 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 included 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. Many of these presentations can be viewed in the School of Law's Digital Commons by clicking below on "123's of Financial Literacy" or "Mini Law School Series".
The 1-2-3s of Financial Literacy Presentations
The Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Western New England University has hosted a series of talks called "The 1-2-3s of Financial Literacy for Small Businesses." The series is a complete curriculum of information sessions designed to help business owners with little or no business background get up to speed with useful business concepts. The sessions are accessible, practical, and interactive. Read more about these sessions in Business West.
The program in 2013-14 followed a hypothetical business, Coffee2Go, as its owners thought through some of the important issues in starting and running their proposed drive-up coffee kiosk business. The series worked with a draft business plan that had been prepared for Coffee2Go, which is available for download by clicking here.
Presentations were delivered by experts in the business community and on the Western New England University faculty. Each session of this series stands on its own, so you can pick and choose the sessions most relevant to your particular business situation by clicking on the links below.
Basics of Financial and Business Planning
Presenters: Dr. James McKeon, Western New England University College of Business
Dr. Lynn Walter, Western New England University College of Business
Accounting Basics: Understanding Financial Statements
Presenter: John O’Brien III ’74, President, J.M. O’Brien & Company, and Trustee, Western New England University
Introduction to Tax Issues for Small Businesses
Presenters: Paul Mancinone L’92, CPA, Esq., Founder and President, Paul L. Mancinone Company, P.C., and Trustee, Western New England University
Dean Eric J. Gouvin, Dean and Professor of Law, Western New England University School of Law
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
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
Dean Eric J. Gouvin, Dean and Professor of Law, Western New England University School of Law
Insurance: Risk-Management Techniques for Small Businesses
Presenter: Ben Garvey, Vice President, the Insurance Center of New England
In previous years, the Center has offered information sessions on a wide range of legal and business topics of interest to small businesses and entrepreneurs. To see a list of these previous sessions, click here.
Mini Law School Presentations
During the 2012-13 school year, the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Western New England University hosted monthly talks on basic business law for small businesses. The Mini Law School series was part of the Center's ongoing series of information sessions designed to help business owners with little or no business background get up to speed with useful business concepts. The sessions are accessible, practical, and interactive. Read more about these sessions in Business West (pdf).
Here is an archive of the last Mini Law school for Small Business Series (click on the link to view the video):
2012 - 2013
Presenters: George llias Roumeliotis, Esq., Roumeliotis Law Group, P.C.
Justin H. Dion, Esq., Bacon Wilson, P.C., Attorneys at Law
Kara S. Rescia, Esq. Eaton & Rescia
Presenters: Peter Irvine, Esq. Peter Irvine Law Offices
Leah Kunkel, Esq. Law Offices of Leah Kunkel
Michelle Bugbee, Esq., Solutia Inc.
Legal Issues in Finance
Presenters: Scott W. Foster, Esq., Bulkley Richardson
Michael D. Sweet, Esq. Doherty, Wallace, Pillsbury and Murphy, P.C.
Presenters: Jennifer A. Rymarski, Esq., Morrison Mahoney LLP
David A. Parke, Esq., Bulkley Richardson
Kyle R. Guelcher, Esq., The Law Office of Kyle R. Guelcher
Employment Law Basics
Presenters: Rebecca Bouchard, Esq. Doherty, Wallace, Pillsbury & Murph
Charles R. Casartello Jr., Esq., Pellegrini, Seeley, Ryan and Blakesley P.C.
Arnold “Al” Lizana, Esq., University of Connecticut, Division of Diversity & Equity
Presenters: Paul Mancinone, Esq., Paul L. Mancinone Company, P.C.
Michael Matusczak, Internal Revenue Service
Legal Aspects of Risk Management and Choice of Legal Entity
Presenters: Michelle Feinstein, Esq., Shatz Schwartz and Fentin, P.C.
Prof. Eric Gouvin, Western New England University School of Law
In previous years, the Center has offered information sessions on a wide range of legal and business matters. To see a list of them, please click here.
Extreme Business Makeover
The EXTREME Business Makeover showcases a business plan, submitted by a small business/entrepreneur in the community, that needs some reworking. Experts in the fields of law, accounting, marketing, and finance critique the actual business plan and offer advice on operations, marketing, legal matters, profitability, and much more. In front of a live audience, the panel of experts transforms the plan into a finished product.
Upcoming EXTREME Business Makeovers
Upcoming EXTREME Business Makeovers
Information about upcoming events will be posted as it becomes available.
Past EXTREME Makeovers
Many of our past programs can be viewed in the School of Law's Digital Commons by clicking on the links in the "Extreme Business Makeover" page below.
Business Makeover presentation list
Baystate Accessibility Remodelers - June 19, 2013
BYTEBAK Computers - January 22, 2013
Elke's Bake Shop - June 6, 2012
Witalisz & Associates, Inc. - January 18, 2012 (video)
Organic Victory Garden Market - June 1, 2011
Fitness Together - Dec. 4, 2009
Jelupa Theatre Company, Inc. - June 5, 2009
Friends of the Homeless - Dec. 5, 2008
Pathosgiving.com and Kahriptic Knights Publishing - June 5, 2008
CellAssist and Go "Fore" It & Play - June 21, 2007
The Center has hosted a number of conferences featuring scholars and policymakers exploring issues relating to entrepreneurship or community development, and discussing the challenges facing small businesses and start-ups. Many of these conferences can be viewed in the School of Law's Digital Commons by clicking on the links in the "Conferences" page.
The Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship has hosted a number of exciting and thought-provoking conferences bringing together top academics, business people and policy makers to discuss a range of topics of relevance to entrepreneurs, small businesses, and community economic development professionals. Here is a listing of past conferences hosted by the Center:
Conference 2011: The Entrepreneurial University
The Law and Business Center for Advancing Entrepreneurship hosted a conference titled "The Entrepreneurial University." The keynote speaker, Chief of Staff at the United States Patent and Trademark Office Andrew Hirshfeld '93, discussed "The U.S. Patent System – Past and Future."
He explained that “under the current system, which is a first to invent system, priority is based on the date of invention. Date of invention is somewhat ambiguous, it could be by people’s notes that they have. It is not something that is out in the public. It is not something a competitor could look at a patent application and say ‘I know what their date of invention is.’ So it’s really a difficult term. Under the first to file system which will go in place in March 2013, we will now look to the effective filing date, it's much more easy to understand, easy to see, and puts everybody on a level playing field.”
Hirshfeld went on to say that “first to file is somewhat of a misnomer, it’s not what people initially associate it with, it’s not just a race to the patent office. It’s my opinion that as time goes on and there is more of an educational component, people will be much more comfortable with this new system and realize that this is not only cheaper, but more objective, its quicker, its faster, its much more certain.”
The Western New England University Law and Business Center for Advancing Entrepreneurship presented a truly outstanding program examining fiduciary duties in closely-held businesses.
In 1975, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decided the case of Donahue v. Rodd Electrotype, holding that shareholders in closely-held corporations owe each other fiduciary duties similar to those owed by partners to each other. The following year, the Court decided Wilkes v. Springside Nursing Home, Inc. to further refine that idea. In the 35 years since those decisions, the law of business organizations and the law of fiduciary duties have evolved significantly.
This conference featured leading scholars of business organization law discussing the impact of those cases in on the development of the law. We will also have the lawyers who argued the Wilkes case on hand to provide the back story on the case.
An article describing the conference can be found here.
Conference 2009: Women, Ethnicity, & Entrepreneurship
This Conference featured scholars, practitioners, and policymakers exploring issues relating to entrepreneurship, community and economic development, and discussing these challenges as
they relate to small businesses and start-ups. The keynote speaker was Beverly Holmes, Chair, Center for Women's Business Research and President, BA Holmes & Associates.
Conference 2008: Entrepreneurship in a Global Economy
International policy makers, scholars, and practitioners explored global issues relating to entrepreneurship and community development, and discussed the challenges facing existing small
businesses and start-ups.
Conference 2007: Current Issues in Community Economic Development (II)
This conferences featured discussion on issues in Community Economic Development. The keynote speaker was Andrea Silbert a nationally recognized advocate for nonprofit entrepreneurship and cofounder and former CEO of the Center for Women & Enterprise (CWE). The CWE, created in 1995, is the largest nonprofit entrepreneurial training center in New England. Under Ms. Silbert’s direction, CWE helped in the creation of over 14,000 jobs and $400 million in new wages for small business with a focus on assisting disadvantaged women.
Conference 2006: Current Issues in Community Economic Development
This conference featured panel discussions on The Future of the Community Reinvestment Act, The Impact of Professional Sports on the Local Economy, Eminent Domain and Public Use Takings After Kelo v. New London, and Barriers to Access to Financial Services for Disenfranchised Groups