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Top Entrepreneurs Win $25k Prize Pool At Sandbox Accelerator Awards Celebration

Press Release
03/12/2013

On March 5th, the Merrimack Valley Sandbox held its Accelerator Awards Celebration in Lawrence. This concluded the Winter Accelerator, a 12-week program that has helped thirteen early-stage entrepreneurs move their businesses forward. During the event, the Sandbox awarded a $25,000 prize pool to its top entrepreneurs. Gregory Bialecki, the Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, gave the keynote address to the over 120 audience members. 

Here is the full list of winners: 

•    $7,500 - Brenna Nan Schneider (Somerville resident)
99C Manufacturing:  An apparel manufacturing social enterprise looking to locate in the Lowell/Lawrence area that produces high quality customized apparel and offers employees living wages, benefits for families, empowerment through training and education opportunities, and career pathways into the region’s growing industries.

•    $5,000 – Bill Peregoy (Lawrence resident)
Lawrence Yoga Collective: a yoga studio designed to engage the diverse Lawrence community.

•    $5,000 – Lydia Sisson & Francey Slater (Lowell residents)
Mill City Grows: creates urban food production sites Lowell and educates the local community on how to grow their own food.

•    $5,000 – Keo Rattana (Medford resident)
KEO Homemade Ice Cream: homemade premium vegan ice cream that is non-dairy, gluten and lactose-free.

•    $2,500 – Sopheak Sam & Ricky Orng (Lowell residents)
FOB Lifestyle & Apparel: an urban-alternative street apparel brand inspired by immigrant and identity.

“I am honored to take the top prize at the Sandbox Accelerator Awards Celebration,” says Brenna Nan Schneider, the CEO and Founder of 99C Manufacturing. “These funds will help launch within 45 days a build-to-order apparel manufacturing facility to help bridge the local workforce to advanced manufacturing jobs that pay family-supporting wages.”
In March, April, and May this year, the Sandbox will continue its effort to help entrepreneurs succeed through its 2013 Sandbox Spring Pitch Contest Series, which will be followed by the Sandbox’s Summer Accelerator. The Sandbox will welcome creative economy, local, and high growth/tech ideas during this series. At these pitch contests, the Sandbox will awards thousands of dollars in cash prizes and have industry pros in attendance to give feedback and advice to these entrepreneurs.

For more information, please visit: MVSandbox.org

About the Merrimack Valley Sandbox:
The Merrimack Valley Sandbox is an initiative that strengthens the ecosystem in Lowell and Lawrence, Massachusetts around entrepreneurship and leadership.
MVSandbox.org

About the Deshpande Foundation:
Gururaj (Desh) and Jaishree Deshpande have encouraged the use of entrepreneurship and innovation as catalysts for sustainable change in the United States, India and Canada since 1996. The Foundation supports organizations that strengthen local ecosystems, build leaders and entrepreneurs and catalyze innovative thinking, to accelerate creation of sustainable, scalable enterprises that have significant social or market impact.
DeshpandeFoundation.org

About UMass Lowell:
UMass Lowell is a comprehensive, national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its more than 15,000 students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, engineering, education, fine arts, health and environment, humanities, liberal arts, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be ready for work, for life and for all the world offers.
UML.edu



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