Get Ready. Get Set. Launch!

 
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SPARK taught me the steps I needed to take to take my business idea into reality!”
— Timothy Harrington, Launch Class Graduate

What You Need to Join a Launch Class

  • Participants must have a business idea they want to start or have already launched.
  • Must be willing to accept advice and open to change
  • Must be committed to attend class every Tuesday from 6-9PM for 10 weeks (includes graduation).
  • Enrollment fee can range from $200-$300 and must be paid in full by the first day of class.

The Details

  • Next Class: April 17-June 19,2018
  • Deadline to apply: March 20, 2018
  • Interviews will be held during the week of April 3
  • Every person who applies by the deadline will be given an opportunity to interview- no more than 15 students will be accepted

SPARK Launch Information Session

  • TBA

Contact

  • Email: hello@sparkholyoke
  • Phone: 413-534-3376
  • Location: 177 High Street Holyoke, MA. 01040

Want To Get Started?

  • Fill out the launch class application in order to be considered for the program.
  • If you are pre-approved, we will contact you to set up an interview with the Launch Class Committee.
  • Shortly after you will be contacted to let you know if you have been accepted into our next Launch.

The 9 Week Run Down

Week 1

Knowing Yourself

  • Assumptions
  • Canvas
  • Working Styles
  • Team Building
  • Obstacles

Week 2

Knowing Your Customer

  • Customers
  • Problem
  • Alternatives
  • Solution
  • Benefit
  • Advantage

Week 3

Getting the Relationship right

  • Marketing and Message
  • Getting, Keeping and Growing Customer

Week 4

Building the Model to Scale

  • Starting Small
  • Distribution
  • Revenue
  • Typical Sale
  • Price

Week 5

Pitch Camp

The fifth week we have a pitch camp which is meant to help you create a pitch for your business and catering it to your audience. Your facilitator and class mates will help you hone in on your pitching skills.

Week 6

Discovering Your Bottom Line

  • Startup and Ongoing Needs
  • Fixed and Variable Costs
  • Breaking Even

Week 7

Accounting for Growth

  • Break-Even Point
  • Sales Projections
  • Cash Flow
  • Accounting

Week 8

Planning for the Future

  • Raising Capital
  • Growth Plans
  • Goal Setting
  • Pitch Prep

Week 9

Celebration Night/Sharing Your Story


To learn more about the curriculum click the image above.  

To learn more about the curriculum click the image above.

 


Q and A

I heard you have money available for businesses! How do I apply?

After completing the Launch class, graduates are able to apply for grant funds to cover various startup costs. However, opportunities to apply for small grants are limited and may have certain restrictions based on income eligibility and location. We are here to help you start and grow your business the best we can, but please know completion of the program does not guarantee grant funding.

 

What about residency - is this limited to Holyoke businesses and residents only?

We love Holyoke and always encourage and support businesses to open up shop here, however we understand the importance of supporting the region’s economy and do accept applications from other communities to apply for the Launch Program. Priority is given to Holyoke residents and businesses and grant eligibility is often only available for those who start their business in Holyoke. 

 

What are the next steps? How do I apply?

Fill out the application or stop by the office and we will help you fill it out!

 

How do I find out if I've been accepted?

Everyone who applies for the SPARK program will be given an opportunity to interview.   If you aren’t accepted, have no fear! We will help you figure out the steps you need to take to get ready, and connect you with one of the many partners within our Holyoke Small Business Ecosystem to prepare you for taking the Launch class.

 

Is the space limited to a certain number of participants?

Yes, seats are limited. Applicants will be selected according to their ability to demonstrate readiness to launch as well as the timeliness of applications submission.  Priority will be given to Holyoke businesses and residents. 

 

Are we working independently or in teams?

BOTH!  You will be responsible for doing research and weekly assignments on your own. In class you will be working on topics as a team with other participants.

 

What are the expected outcomes?

At the end of the class you will have a well developed business model, gain a better understanding of your product and customers and be able to pitch your business to a crowd.  We finish class with a celebration night where you will pitch your idea to your friends and family.

 

What happens after I graduate?

We'll continue to work with you after graduation in collaboration with our partners: Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce, SCORE, Small Business Administration, Holyoke Community College, the City of Holyoke, the Holyoke Public Library, Nuestras Raices, Holyoke Creative Arts Center, CareerPoint, HolyokeWorks, OneHolyoke CDC, and the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center.  Each of these organizations and agencies offer resources for entrepreneurs and are here to help. 

Graduates from the program will receive:

  • One year membership to Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce, free of charge
  • Discounted rates to participate in Holyoke Farmers' Market 
  • Opportunities to pitch at Holyoke Soup and other events hosted through Chamber of Commerce
  • Scholarships and early registration for continued learning opportunities
  • Access to mentors and technical assistance through SCORE, Massachusetts Small Business Development Center, Small Business Administration and others. 
  • Grant opportunities for those who qualify (priority for Holyoke businesses and residents!). Keep in mind funding is limited and completion of Launch class does not guarantee grant funding.
  • Stronger relationships with a passionate and supportive community of entrepreneurs and innovators