Get Ready. Get Set. Launch!
before you apply...
Participants must have a well defined business idea they have begun to research or have recently launched.
Applicants should be committed and ready to open their doors after graduation
Must be willing to accept advice, able to work with others, and open to change
Must be able to attend class every Tuesday night 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.
Next Class: TBA
Deadline to apply: TBA
Every person who applies by the deadline will be given an opportunity to interview- no more than 15 students will be accepted
Launch Class Information Session: TBA
Get in touch!
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.
Every person that applies will have an opportunity to interview with the Launch Class Committee.
Shortly after you will be contacted to let you know if you have been accepted into the class. If you have not been accepted, don't worry! We'll refer you to additional resources to get you ready to take the class in the future.
The 9 Week Run Down
Knowing Your Customer
Getting the Relationship right
Marketing and Message
Getting, Keeping and Growing Customer
Building the Model to Scale
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.
Discovering Your Bottom Line
Startup and Ongoing Needs
Fixed and Variable Costs
Accounting for Growth
Planning for the Future
Celebration Night/Sharing Your Story
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. Learn more about the grant opportunities .
Stronger relationships with a passionate and supportive community of entrepreneurs and innovators