On February 4th, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick visited the Merrimack Valley Sandbox to award a $150K grant to strengthen and scale up the organization’s mentorship program in the region. The Sandbox will use the funds, which will be administered through the Mass Tech Collarboarative’s Innovation Mentoring Institute, to hire two additional part-time Managers of Mentorship, including a bilingual mentor who will support the Sandbox’s new program for Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs. The award will also be used to enhance communication between mentors and entrepreneurs, and to build awareness of the Sandbox’s programs in the region.
In addition to awarding the grant, the Governor took an hour of his time to engage with Sandbox entrepreneurs and mentors. The Governor was very happy to hear the “diverse range of ventures” and more importantly see the “passion in all of the entrepreneurs in the room.” He also said, “This type of innovation is what our state is known for, but it has been done in one area of concentration. It’s time to spread that attitude outside Greater Boston.”
“The Deshpande Foundation applauds the ongoing support of Governor Patrick and his administration in fostering innovation, entrepreneurship and mentorship in Massachusetts,” said Raj Melville, the Executive Director of the Deshpande Foundation. “The Foundation has supported a mentor driven approach to growing entrepreneurs right from the start with the launch of the Deshpande Center at MIT to more recently the Merrimack Valley Sandbox and the Pond Deshpande Center. We are really excited to learn that the Merrimack Valley Sandbox was one of the awardees of the Massachusetts Innovation Mentoring Initiative grants as this helps strengthen and grow their mentoring program to reach out across all types of ideas and entrepreneurs.”