Alumni Results


Our Founder, Paul Silva, helped hundreds of entrepreneurs before starting the Institute. Some of our favorite testimonials from current and past students include:

From Innovation Accelerator Alumni

Three of our staff from the last accelerator group have been promoted within the organization. This process is not only a necessity for nonprofits to consider, additionally it develops people who go through the process. Very grateful!
— Carla Gaouette, Vice President, Viability
Ideas are the currency of progress and good ideas have the potential to change the world. Coming from government and being new to philanthropy, at first, I was deeply skeptical of applying startup methodologies for social change. However, innovation is built on ideas, feedback, moments of failure and breakthroughs. Through lean, Paul turned a skeptic into a believer. Halfway through the course, I discovered my project needed to pivot quickly. Paul helped me identify the gaps in my analysis, refine my pitch, and create a project that inspires and improves communities.
— Pierre Joseph, Program Director, Solidago Foundation
All of us nonprofits are struggling to find different ways to accomplish our mission in changing environments with tightening budgets – just like entrepreneurs! There is a lot we can learn from each other. We have found Paul to be an enthusiastic teacher, coach and partner.
— Ruth Banta, Executive Director of Pathlight

From Pre-Innovation Accelerator Alumni

The training taught me how to discover what really mattered to my customers and then focus obsessively on it. Within 6 months of graduation I secured new contracts that doubled by firm’s revenue.
— Andrew Walmsley, owner of Volo-Aero (Manufacturing Accelerator Alum)
Every day I work IN my business. This program was the first real opportunity I’ve had to work ON my business.
— Susan Kasa, owner of Boulevard Machine and Gear (Manufacturing Accelerator Alum)
He tells you exactly what you need to hear and gives you tips on how to get to where you want to be. He has an amazing sense of humor which makes getting tough love that much smoother. He helped me and my cofounders feel at home in Springfield and connected us selflessly to people relevant to what we are doing. I am forever grateful for Paul and his wicked duck tie. If you are looking for support from someone who will always find ways to help and be more persistent at it than yourself, Paul is your guy!
— Ali Al Jabri, founder of Kwema (Startup Accelerator Alum)
Paul is dedicated to helping others and is always willing to go the extra mile. He is practical and grounded in real-world experience and this allows him to earn the admiration and respect of everyone with which he comes in contact.
— Jim Mumm, CEO of Sunlight Energy Group (Lean Launchpad Alum)
Every class session, as hard as it was, opened my eyes to opportunities I would never have found otherwise.
— Scott Decker, owner of Decker Machine Works (Manufacturing Accelerator Alum)
Paul is not just an ignitor of ideas, he also has the experience, tools, and network to help you launch your next big idea. He sees the big picture while also keeping the important details in mind. His energy and “why not?” attitude is contagious and inspiring. He’s the perfect partner to help build, launch and grow anything - the bigger, the better.
— Angela Lussier, owner of Speaker Sisterhood (Startup Accelerator Alum)
Paul is one of the most creative and driven individuals I’ve come across. He often leverages his deep knowledge and expertise of startups to ask informed questions about growth, scale, structure and planning to kick your business model back into shape. We’ve had several meaningful conversations that all resulted in crucially necessary changes to our business that allowed us to thrive in our first year as a startup. His passion and dedication is second to none in Western Massachusetts and I fully recommend any startup looking for direction to seek out his advice.
— Will Colón, co-founder of OpenPixel (Startup Accelerator Alum)
Paul Silva was instrumental to helping us start Ernest Pharmaceuticals. Through the VVM Accelerator program, he taught us how to do customer interviews and the importance of selecting a target market. This research later helped us obtain two SBIR awards from the NIH and the NSF. His mentoring also helped shape our pitch deck from a scientific presentation to a business pitch. He is a great asset to any entrepreneurial team.
— Dr. Nele Van Dessel, co-founder of Ernest Pharmaceuticals (Startup Accelerator Alum)