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Previous Information Sessions

Over the years, the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship and its predecessor, the Law and Business Center for Advancing Entrepreneurship, has offered free Information Sessions on subjects of great importance to entrepreneurs starting new and building existing small businesses.  In addition to the ongoing 1 2 3's of Financial Literacy for Small Business Series and the Mini Law School for Small Business Series, information 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. Here is a listing of those previous events.

2010-2011 Information Sessions

Products Liability Law and Risk Management 
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
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
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.

How to Handle an IRS Audit
Presented by Paul Mancinone, CPA, Esq.; Professor Fred Royal, Western New England University School of Law on November 5, 2010. 

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.

2009-2010 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.

Second presentation given 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.

2008-2009 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.

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

2007-2008 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.

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.

2006-2007 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.