Entrepreneurs Share $30K Prize Pool a Sandbox Summer Accelerator Awards
For the last eleven weeks, sixteen early-stage entrepreneurs took part in the 2013 Sandbox Summer Accelerator Program. These entrepreneurs were able to move their businesses and non-profits forward through workshops, mentors, working space, and funding.
For many, the Sandbox Accelerator had major impacts on their business. “Three months ago, Little Leaders was just an idea,” says Leslie Rivera of Lawrence. “Because of the Sandbox, this is now a business!” For Greg Page of Lowell, the program has increased business for the Merrimack Analysis Group. “Being a part of the Sandbox Accelerator has led to a threefold increase in our client base. There’s no doubt this opportunity has taken my business to the next level.”
On September 10th, we held the 2013 Sandbox Summer Accelerator Awards Ceremony at the Everett Mills in Lawrence to celebrate the conclusion of the program and award a $30K Prize Pool to the top winners. Over 120 people from around the region came to cheer on these entrepreneurs.
The evening kicked off with a showcase. Audience members had an opportunity to connect with the entrepreneurs, learn more about what they are doing, and to offer feedback and advice. Erica Holthausen of Honest Marketing Revolution who attended the event said that, “This was one of the most inspiring evenings I’ve ever attended. I loved learning about each entrepreneur’s personal story about what inspired them to start their business. A great event and a wonderful evening!”
To start the speaking part of the program, Marianne Paley, the Owner of Everett Mills Real Estate, welcomed everyone to her mill. After that, Desh Deshpande, the Co-Founder, Deshpande Foundation and successful serial entrepreneur, talked about how entrepreneurs can inspire us all. “Entrepreneurs are always thinking tomorrow will be a better day. What a powerful way to look at life.”
Then it was time to hear from the class speakers. Greg Page of the Merrimack Analysis Group talked about how studies have shown that the most important thing an entrepreneur needs is grit. Lucky Henry of College Power reflected back on what he learned, how much support he received from his fellow entrepreneurs, and the strong network he gained through the Sandbox.
Stephen Kaufer, the Co-Founder & CEO of TripAdvisor, gave the evening’s keynote speech. Stephen talked about how the idea of TripAdvisor was born and the beginning days of starting up. He spoke openly about the challenges they faced and how for him failures have been great learning experiences.
Then it was the moment everyone was waiting for. Here is a full list of our winners:
$8,000 – Erin Freeborn, Juvenile Court Restorative Justice Diversion
$6,000 – Russ Queen & Aaron Burke, mino by Paraware
$5,000 – Leslie Rivera, Little Leaders
$5.000 – Ron Ayotte, i4class
$3,000 – Greg Page & Todd Kobus, Merrimack Analysis Group
$3,000 – Lucky Henry, CollegePower Inc.
Awarded access to Sandbox Space for 6 months – Marcia Strauss, Lowell Naturalization & Citizenship Services
Thank you to all of our entrepreneurs, mentors, and supporters for making this a successful program!
A special thanks to the sponsors of the Sandbox Summer Accelerator Program: