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Dialogue Hosted by UMass Lowell, Merrimack Valley Sandbox

Tuesday, April 24, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kristina Moy
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By Edwin L. Aguirre

A little over a year ago, the Merrimack Valley Sandbox — one of only three programs of its kind in the world — was launched at the first Development Dialogue at UMass Lowell. Since then, the Sandbox has worked in Lowell and Lawrence to promote entrepreneurship and leadership among students and members of the community.

Development Dialogue 2012, which will be held Wednesday, April 25 and Thursday, April 26 at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center, will unveil the initiative’s next step: launching startups in the region. More than 300 people are expected to attend this conference.

The Sandbox was founded by the Deshpande Foundation in partnership with UMass Lowell, Merrimack College and Middlesex and Northern Essex community colleges.

Wednesday’s program includes a session called Federal Government "Entrepreneur in Residence Office Hours” from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Nishith Acharya, director of the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and senior adviser to the U.S. secretary of commerce, will discuss federal resources for local entrepreneurs. Acharya will be joined by Theresa Park and Patrick Blanchette, directors of economic development for the cities of Lowell and Lawrence, respectively.

The session will be followed by the Campus Catalyst Showcase and Pitch Contest from 6 to 9 p.m. Nearly 200 student entrepreneurs from area schools, colleges and youth programs will showcase and pitch their projects and ideas. The winner will receive a top prize of $1,000.

Thursday’s program includes the Sandbox Forum from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The forum, which will discuss the first 15 months of the Sandbox Initiative and its future, features UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan and Desh Deshpande, co-founder of the Deshpande Foundation as well as chairman of Sycamore Networks, Sparta Group LLC and A123 Systems and co-chair of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Read more about what else to expect from this event

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