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Mayor Sarno and CDO Sheehan Announce Relaunch of ‘RiseUp Springfield’ - Award Winning Small Business Growth Program

|   City News

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, Chief Development Officer (CDO) Tim Sheehan, Deputy Director of Economic Development Brian Connors and the Office of Planning and Economic Development announced today the relaunch of the RiseUp Springfield small business curriculum program in collaboration with Valley Venture Mentors (VVM) and Interise. The program is set to begin in March with applications now being accepted. Additionally, an info session will be held virtually on February 10, 2022.

RiseUp Springfield is a six-month intensive program offered to help small business owners add resiliency and capacity to their business. This program teaches business owners how to scale and expand their business, and utilizes the award-winning StreetWise MBA™ curriculum designed specifically for established small business owners that provides the know-how, training and networks needed to achieve growth-orientated goals. The program had successfully operated in the City of Springfield, with cohorts, in 2017 and 2019, but had been paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mayor Sarno states, “CDO Tim Sheehan, Deputy Director Brian Connors, and the Office of Planning and Economic Development and I are pleased and excited to bring this program back into our small business toolbox in Springfield.  Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, our largest job creators, and we know how valuable this can be to take a small business to the next level.”

Over the course of six months, RiseUp Springfield will provide participants with the tools to advance their business operations, financial management, marketing and sales, human resources tactics, business strategy development, access to capital and contract development.

Eligible businesses should be three years in operation, grossing $150K-$10M in revenue with at least one full-time employee, other than the owner.  Businesses must either be located in Springfield or connected with Valley Venture Mentors.

“Valley Venture Mentors is committed to expanding opportunities for successful asset building and business ownership to build a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem, a vibrant city and a thriving local economy,” said Hope Ross Gibaldi, Executive Director of Valley Venture Mentors.  “We are thrilled to partner with the City of Springfield’s Office of Planning and Economic Development to offer this executive level educational experience in order to build the capacity of our most promising small business owners.”

"The City of Springfield's commitment to building an inclusive ecosystem is exceptional,” said Bernard Johnson, Director of Programs at Interise. “RiseUp is a critical component to ensuring business owners in the city are connected to opportunities while building capacity. Interise is looking forward to the return of this transformative program and to seeing local Springfield businesses increase confidence while creating a road map for success."

The program will also focus on preparing firms to seek potential contract opportunities with some of our large anchor institutions by exposing them to the processes, strategies, and requirements necessary to become a successful vendor and connecting them with the new Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council’s Anchor Collaborative.

Interested small businesses can begin to apply online immediately, by visiting 

Interested business owners and community partners are also invited to attend an online information session on Thursday, February 10, 2022 from 9:00 -10:00 am.  To register for the info session, visit:

Page last updated:  Tuesday, March 1, 2022 01:32 pm