SPARK Seeks Executive Director

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The Greater Holyoke Chamber Centennial Foundation is now seeking an organized, goal-oriented professional to fill the position of Executive Director who will oversee the SPARK (Stimulating Potential, Accessing Resource Knowledge) Entrepreneurial Education Program for Holyoke, Massachusetts.



SPARK (Stimulating Potential, Accessing Resource Knowledge) is an entrepreneur accelerator program based in Holyoke, MA, funded for three years by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Working Cities Challenge (see for more information). SPARK will strive to both grow the local economy with newly trained entrepreneurs and instill an environment of “entrepreneurial thinking” into the Holyoke community that will have impacts in entrepreneurial business activity, employment, government, education and non-profit activities.

SPARK is formally a program of the Greater Holyoke Chamber Centennial Foundation and represents a partnership of over ten community partners who collaborated to establish the framework for entrepreneurship education in Holyoke. The goal of SPARK is to strengthen and grow the Holyoke economy from within its own residents, which are often under-represented and have untapped potential to increase business and social ventures in the City and region.

A secondary goal is to strengthen the role of Holyoke and the Holyoke Innovation District in the larger entrepreneur ecosystem of Western Mass.


Position Overview:

We are seeking a leader with both business and community experience to serve as an Executive Director to the SPARK Entrepreneurship Education Program in Holyoke, MA. The Executive Director will be the architect of the program, coordinating with program partners to launch, operate and provide for the sustainability of an entrepreneurship accelerator. The Executive Director will drive SPARK’s growth in Holyoke and the surrounding region, initially designing and then ensuring the success of a Holyoke-based entrepreneurship accelerator program.

The selected individual will be tasked with:

  • Leading the overall program strategy in partnership with the SPARK governance board and program stakeholders
  • Overseeing operations including:
    • the program budget
    • fundraising
    • recruiting mentors
    • designing a curriculum and related program initiatives
    • coordinating community events
    • evaluation and grant reporting
    • learning workshops
  • Facilitating leadership opportunities for the program’s participants
  • Designing a fundraising strategy through institutional channels and other appropriate methods and grant writing

In general, the Director will be responsible for developing relationships with internal and external constituencies, and the creation of a dynamic environment of entrepreneur-driven innovation within the Holyoke Innovation District that impacts the City and the larger geographic region.

It is expected that the Executive Director will manage the delivery of exceptional resources for future entrepreneurs and the future entrepreneurship ecosystem of Holyoke, Massachusetts having community involvement and alumni outreach in mind.


  • Entrepreneurial experience including starting, running, and harvesting ventures, at least two years or the equivalent
  • Knowledge of traditional and non-traditional business financing programs desired
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent combination of education and experience
  • Demonstrated experience working in communities with a diverse network of stakeholders, including income, gender, age, education, racial and ethnic diversity
  • Professional maturity and business savviness to attract, cultivate and establish relationships that will produce program participants, mentors, advisors, investors and funders
  • Demonstrates ability to mentor and guide early stage “start-ups”
  • Experience in strategic planning and execution, project management, personnel supervision and budget oversight
  • Excellent organizational and facilitation skills with a “self-starter” mentality
  • Pays strong attention to detail
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills to prepare and present information in multiple formats; ability to work effectively in public settings and through digital methods
  • Spanish fluency is preferred

Please send the following:

  • Cover Letter
  • Resume
  • Business
  • Reference Letter
  • Personal Reference Letter to:

FAX: 413-534-3385, or
MAIL: 177 High Street, Holyoke MA 01040

no later than Monday August 25th 2014. Thank you!
— Katie Stebbins
Project Manager, Holyoke Innovation District

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