Programs / Events

    • Tuesday, February 06, 2018
    • 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
    • Colleen C. Barrett Center for Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 80 William Street, Worcester, MA

    Businesses across central Massachusetts are doing well by doing good. Join us on February 6, 2018 to learn how organizations are creating social innovation: new products, services and approaches to social challenges. We’ll explore how to manage a social for-profit business, share with you examples of the social business community in Worcester and discuss how we may better develop partnerships combining business principles with social objectives to transform the lives of people for greater good.

    The event will take place at the new Colleen C. Barrett Center for Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship at 80 William Street, Worcester, MA - which houses the Yunus Social Business Centre at Becker College.

    The event will feature:

    Debra Pallatto-Fontaine, Ph.D.

    Debra is the Executive Director for Global Initiatives and the Yunus Social Business Centre at Becker College in Worcester, Massachusetts. She is responsible for all global projects, globalizing the curriculum, planning and leading service learning trips for students and managing the Center for Global Citizenship. She also directs the Yunus Social Business Centre @ Becker College, the first-ever Yunus Centre in the country. She also coordinates and teaches in the Women’s Emergent Leadership Institute. Debra has been working at Becker for 21 years.

    Prior to these two leadership positions, Debra taught courses in teacher education, psychology, and global studies while coordinating global citizenship programming. She developed a minor, concentration, and a B.A. in Global Citizenship, the only such degree in the U.S.

    Debra developed a partnership with the Be Like Brit Orphanage in Grand Goave, Haiti, where she leads student trips annually. In addition, as director of training, she travels to Haiti quarterly offering professional development to day and evening staff at the orphanage, coordinating long-term volunteers, and teaching social entrepreneurship.

    She regularly presents at professional conferences, most recently at the AIEA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. (February 2017) and the Social Business Academia Conference in Paris (November 2016 and November 2017).

    Dee Wells

    Dee grew up in the US Virgin Islands, specifically on the beautiful island of St. John, where he and his family are deeply rooted in the community and promote learning, growing and sharing one’s talents with others. Dee Wells is the Chief Storyteller & Kickstorian at OSD, a multi-media and brand marketing company that works with clients in the athletic footwear industry such as Adidas, Converse, Nike, New Balance and Reebok, to name a few.

    In 2011, Dee co-founded Future Focus Media Co-op & Youth Training Institute, a photography and film production company that produces videos for clients such as UMASS, Main South CDC, and the Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island while teaching youth video production skills along with life skills.

    Dee offers workshops on the power of social media, storytelling and how to market yourself using platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat, to name a few.

    Through the SOLEcial Studies workshops he introduces youth to the athletic footwear industry and specifically to the various careers that exist in the field. The athletic footwear industry has an estimated value of $74.7 billion dollars (valued in 2011), with projections to increase to $84.4 billion dollars by 2019.

    Dee strongly believes and lives by the phrase, “We’re all storytellers, and no one tells your story better than…YOU!”

    Matt Feinstein

    Matt is a worker owner of Future Focus Media Co-op and the co-director of Worcester Roots, a grassroots co-op development and youth leadership organization that focuses on urban worker cooperatives with a social justice lens. Matt's work includes helping start the Toxic Soil Busters, Future Focus Media Co-op, Greenvitalize Urban Growers and the Worcester Co-op Academy. Matt is passionate about social and environmental justice organizing, worker cooperatives and supporting youth to become agents of change. He is also co-founder of Stone Soup Community Center, which houses 14 grassroots organizations and co-ops in Worcester. Using documentary film as a tool for connecting social movements worldwide, Matt is fluent in English, Spanish, Portuguese and French and has collaborated on film projects with groups in Argentina, Brazil and Worcester, MA. He is originally from Western, Massachusetts and holds a BA in International Development and Social Change from Clark University.

    Michael Alden

    Michael Alden is VP of Business Development for Ascentria Care Alliance. Ascentria has several social enterprises, including Language Bank, which trains and employs refugees and other new Americans as professional language interpreters. Language Bank was recognized by Classy in 2017 as one of the world’s top 100 most innovative social enterprises. Michael recently worked as a manager in the restructuring practice of Grant Thornton LLP in New York City, and previously worked at Ernst & Young LLP in Boston. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts, and has an MS from the University of Virginia as well as an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. He is a member of the Worcester Economic Club, and is a Certified Insolvency and Restructuring Advisor (CIRA). Michael also completed a social innovation certificate program at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

    • Wednesday, April 25, 2018
    • 5:00 PM - 8:30 PM
    • WPI Campus Center

    Application deadline: February 28 

    5-Minute Pitch

    Food/Wine Sponsor:

    Supporting Sponsors:

    In-kind Sponsors:

    Applications open for 2018 5-Minute Pitch Contest

    In March, eight finalists are chosen from all applicants to present on April 25. Finalists get 1-on-1 coaching to prepare for their presentations.

    All applicants eligible to participate in the Innovation Showcase April 25 during the event.

    Each of the past 2 years, over 225 investors, start-ups and service-providers have attended this event.

    Winners Get:

    1 year free space at Worcester Clean Tech Incubator (WCTI) 

    Boynton Angels 1-on-1

    More prizes to come!!!

    Cash: $2500 Judges Choice 1st place; $1500 Judges Choice 2nd place; $1000 Audience Choice

    Judges: Charlie Hipwood, Vivek Soni, others TBD.

    This is The Venture Forum’s 12th Annual 5-Minute Pitch Contest. It has been incredibly powerful in getting startups the outlet that they need to advance their business to the next level.

    Eight (8) companies will pitch for the audience and judges. In addition, the room will have approximately 20 other businesses displaying their ideas in an Innovation Showcase before the event and during networking time.

    In the last 4 years, two 5-Minute Pitch CEOs have been chosen by Forbes magazine as their "30 Under 30" award recipients. 


    Charlie Hipwood

    Vice President, MassVentures

    Charlie joined MassVentures in 2017 and is a vice president focused on early-stage and seed investment in Massachusetts high-technology companies.

    Charlie is a founder and executive with 20+ years of experience in financial services and technology start-ups (founded Fluent Fintech, STAG Capital Partners and AI Exchange) and established corporations (JP Morgan and Level 3 Communications). As an entrepreneur, Charlie has deep experience in establishing and managing operations, executing investments, developing products and markets, managing the sales pipeline, raising capital, leading teams, growing revenue, and executing strategy to achieve desired outcomes.

    Charlie earned an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth Graduate School of Business and a BA from Boston College.

    In his free time, Charlie enjoys coaching youth sports, community service, and cooking.

    Vivek Soni 

    Managing Director @ TiE Boston Angels

    As Managing Director, Vivek oversees the operation of TiE Boston Angels’ activities and partnerships. He has extensive experience as a senior corporate executive, technologist, entrepreneur, board member, start-up mentor, advisor, and investor. Vivek is Managing Partner at Boston Cleantech which advises Cleantech and emerging technology companies. Vivek is a board member of A.T.E. Group companies. He was a Venture Advisor to London-based Nomura’s expansion-stage, cleantech venture capital fund. Vivek served as President, Corporate Technology Strategy, and Services at the Aditya Birla Group in India. He has held technology roles at Polaroid Corporation and Shell USA. Vivek has a Ph.D. in Polymer Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and his B.Tech. from the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi. He is a past Board Member of TiE Boston.

    Previous Winners






    All 2017 presenters

    10 Pitches
    5 Minutes
    $2500 Cash Prize

    Where will you be?

Past events

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 Breakfast On-Site Expert Series: Charlie Hipwood
Wednesday, December 06, 2017 Volunteer Appreciation and Recruitment
Tuesday, November 14, 2017 Commercialization Opportunities from WPI Research
Wednesday, October 18, 2017 Craft Brewer Entrepreneurship: Dual concepts and shared spaces
Monday, September 11, 2017 Legal 101 for Entrepreneurs
Tuesday, June 13, 2017 Volunteer Appreciation and Recruitment
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 Virtual Companies
Tuesday, April 25, 2017 5 Minute Pitch
Tuesday, February 28, 2017 Start Up and Commercialization Opportunities From WPI Research
Tuesday, November 15, 2016 Exit Planning
Wednesday, October 19, 2016 What’s Brewing With Craft Beer Entrepreneurs
Tuesday, September 13, 2016 Conversations With a Corporate American Entrepreneur
Tuesday, June 14, 2016 Conversations with a Venture Capitalist co-hosted by The Venture Forum (TVF) and Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives (MBI)
Monday, May 23, 2016 The Venture Forum Volunteer Appreciation and Recruitment Night
Tuesday, May 10, 2016 Entrepreneur’s Lounge: What’s It Take to Develop a Consumer IoT (Internet of Things) Product and Ecosystem?
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 5-Minute Pitch Contest
Tuesday, March 08, 2016 Innovation Month Symposium on Women and Entrepreneurial Leadership co-sponsored by TVF/Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives
Tuesday, February 09, 2016 Emerging Technology Series #4 -- Optics, Lasers and Photonics
Tuesday, January 12, 2016 Entrepreneur’s Lounge: What’s It Really Like to Start a Tech Firm?
Tuesday, December 08, 2015 Entrepreneurs Demo Night with VentureMeets
Tuesday, November 10, 2015 Robotics: What’s Next?
Tuesday, October 13, 2015 Bringing the Passion and Loyalty of Gaming to your Product or Enterprise: What Games Teach Us About Engagement
Tuesday, September 08, 2015 Making the Digital Physical: Industrial, Biomedical, Consumer: What's New in 3D Printing
Tuesday, June 09, 2015 Your First Five Sales
Tuesday, May 12, 2015 Reinvent Your Market Strategy and Your Company Too
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 Five-Minute Pitch Contest
Tuesday, March 10, 2015 Grant Funding 101 – Gain funding without giving away the store
Tuesday, February 10, 2015 Network with a New Crowd
Tuesday, January 13, 2015 Your IP Plan – from Idea to Execution
Tuesday, December 09, 2014 Attract Investor Attention in Innovative Ways
Tuesday, November 11, 2014 Choosing Your Target Market…Let It Choose You
Tuesday, October 14, 2014 Build Your Team to Create Together
Tuesday, September 09, 2014 War Stories from Successful Entrepreneurs
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 Guy Kawasaki on Getting Your First Investment
Tuesday, May 13, 2014 Manufacturing How-tos for Startups
Tuesday, April 08, 2014 Battling Diabetes and Obesity with Technology and Exercise
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 Five-Minute Pitch Contest
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 Stages of Social Innovation Growth
Tuesday, January 14, 2014 Innovation Fair
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 Personalized Medicine
Tuesday, November 12, 2013 Business Plan Contest
Tuesday, October 08, 2013 Lean Startups
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 "Visions of Growth" with Tim Murray and Michael O'Brien.
Saturday, September 07, 2013 Jim Fee Start-up Clinic
Tuesday, June 11, 2013 Ask the Experts
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 Go To Market: Market, Sell or Perish - The Most Critical Phase of a Fledgling Business
Tuesday, April 09, 2013 Building the Team - The Most Critical Part of a Nascent Business
Tuesday, March 12, 2013 Networking Event at Metso Automation
Tuesday, February 12, 2013 5 Minute Pitch Contest

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