Meet Our Team

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Our founder & lead instructor, Paul Silva, is a lifelong entrepreneur and educator passionate about helping people and teams create economic prosperity through innovation. During his career he has inspired thousands of people to innovate, helped hundreds of startups launch, and proudly watched as those businesses significantly increase local employment rates.

After completing his education as a physicist at UMass Amherst Paul started his entrepreneurial journey when he co-founded a socially responsible internet company that helped the blind connect with their fully-sighted friends and families as equals. The company’s products touched the lives of the visually impaired community globally.

While at UMass Paul co-founded the UMass Amherst Entrepreneurship Initiative to help students become exposed to an entrepreneurial career path. With the help of an amazing team of fellow volunteers he grew it to serve 400 students per year.

Paul served as interim president of Click Workspace, the first coworking space in Hampshire & Hampden counties. There he doubled membership.

Paul is the manager of the River Valley Investors (RVI), a network of executives and entrepreneurs who invest in innovation (think of it as the local version of the TV show Shark Tank). RVI has invested in over 40 startups, including a number of local companies. At RVI he created an alliance of similar investor groups from throughout New England that invest in each other’s companies.

In 2014 he co-founded Valley Venture Mentors (VVM), a nonprofit dedicated to helping entrepreneurs turn their dreams into scalable businesses and nonprofits. There Paul developed the curriculum at the heart of Innovation Accelerator. In 2017 The Global Accelerator Network recognized VVM as one of the top 100 programs of its kind in the world.

In 2017 Paul founded Innovation Accelerator to bring his experience to help nonprofits increase their financial independence and impact.

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Our Innovation Scout, Kelly Minton, brings a delightful mix of experience from the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. She has worked as a marketing associate in the corporate world, launched two startups and has worked in nonprofit advancement. She is well versed in traditional fundraising and board governance. She is immersed in entrepreneurial life, often finding dinner conversations with her family centered on that subject. Contact Kelly to find out how Innovation Accelerator can benefit your organization.

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Our Program Manager, Ethan Ferris, keeps our programming running and improving. He brings his experience as a program manager for Valley Venture Mentors, assistant manager of the River Valley Investors, and an entrepreneur himself,