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Lever Seeks Applicants for Mohawk Trail Entrepreneur Challenge

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Entrepreneurs have about two weeks to apply for a grant program that looks to support sustainable, woodland-related businesses.
 
Lever Inc. in North Adams is hosting the Mohawk Trail Entrepreneur Challenge, which offers a prize of $25,000 to the winner and guidance in developing a business plan to all who apply.
 
It is the latest in a series of challenges organized by Lever, which has helped launch 46 new companies in the Berkshire regions since its inception in 2014.
 
This time around, Lever is partnering with the Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership, a collaboration of 16 municipalities in Franklin and Berkshire County's Mohawk Trail (Route 2) corridor whose core mission includes "natural resource-based economic development."
 
Lever's workforce programs manager Jade Schnauber told the Williamstown Select Board recently that unlike past challenges, this one will be completely virtual, with training sessions and judging held remotely.
 
She also said the organizers have five applicants but are hoping for at least twice that many.
 
"We're looking for entrepreneurs who meet three criteria," Schnauber said. "First, they're able to create jobs in one of the Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership communities. Second, that they have a business or idea that relates to woodland natural resources in some way. … Third, we're looking for start-ups only -- companies that are less than two years old or have less than $500,000 in revenue."
 
Some examples of the kinds of businesses Lever has in mind for the challenge are Charlemont's Zoar Outdoor, which offers whitewater rafting, zipline canopy tours and kayaking, or Tennessee's Mullican Flooring, which makes flooring from fallen trees, Schnauber said.
 
At a meeting of the MTWP Board of Directors earlier this month, Lever Executive Director Jeffrey Thomas, a member of the partnership board, told his colleagues that the first five applications in the door were in the ecotourism field, but the challenge is open to all sorts of initiatives that utilize forest resources in a sustainable manner.
 
"We will work with the entrepreneurs and get them ready for the pitch competition," Thomas said.
 
Priority will be given to business ideas that have a high potential to create jobs and that can attract funding from other sources.
 
An application for the Mohawk Trail Entrepreneur Challenge can be found here.

Tags: business competition,   forestry,   

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Williams College Announces Tenure for Eight Faculty Members

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Board of Trustees of Williams College voted to promote eight faculty to the position of associate professor with tenure.

Promotions will take effect July 1, 2021, for Jeremy Cone, psychology; Christine DeLucia, history; Matthew Gibson, economics; Lama Nassif, comparative literature; Christina Simko, sociology; Owen Thompson, economics; Emily Vasiliauskas, English; and Zachary Wadsworth, music.

Jeremy Cone, psychology

Cone is a social psychologist whose research explores how attitudes are formed unconsciously. His research has demonstrated that these implicit evaluations are far less indelible than was once believed, challenging conventional thinking in this field. He has published widely in top journals, such as Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Psychological Science and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, including a number of works co-authored with his students. He has given talks and presentations in the U.S. and abroad, and he was interviewed on NPR's Morning Edition, where he spoke about the nature of gossip and its connection to believability and its role in implicit impression revision. Cone earned his Ph.D. from Cornell University. Before joining the faculty at Williams, he was a post-doctoral associate at Yale University. He currently serves on the Faculty Steering Committee.

Christine DeLucia, history

DeLucia's areas of interest include early American history, Native American and Indigenous Studies, and material culture. Her first book, Memory Lands: King Philip's War and the Place of Violence in the Northeast (Yale University Press, 2018), received the New England American Studies Association's Lois P. Rudnick Book Prize and the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians book award, among others. She has published widely in top journals, including the Journal of American History, William and Mary Quarterly, Early American Studies, Los Angeles Review of Books. She recently held a fellowship at the Newberry Library in Chicago to work on her second book, a study of Native American, African American, and colonial relationships in the Northeast in the period before, during, and after the American Revolution. DeLucia earned her Ph.D. from Yale University. Before coming to Williams, she taught at Mount Holyoke College. At Williams, she has taught the seminars From Wampum to Phillis Wheatley: Communications in Early America and The Afterlives of Objects: Telling American Histories through Material Culture and Museums. She currently serves on the Committee on Diversity and Community.

Matthew Gibson, economics

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