BerkShares Inc. executive director Rachel Moriarty at BerkShares' 2018 Entry to Entrepreneurship showcase at Dewey Hall in Sheffield. This year's E2E showcase will take place Wednesday, Nov. 20, at Dewey Hall. Photo courtesy BerkShares Inc.

Business Briefs: E2E showcase; ‘Green Inspiration’ check presentation; homebuying workshop; Hawthorne Valley acquires Oliva Provisions; nonprofit Census preparation

On Nov. 14, Davis Gregory Art presented a check to the Friends of the Great Barrington Libraries and Berkshire Grown for over $2,000.

Entry to Entrepreneurship program to showcase business plans

Sheffield — BerkShares Inc. invites the community to experience and participate in “community supported entrepreneurship” Wednesday, Nov. 20, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Dewey Hall as participants from its Entry to Entrepreneurship program present their business plans to the public. After the presentations, audience members will be invited to ask questions of the students and join a conversation about business opportunities in the Berkshires.

This is the fifth consecutive year that BerkShares has offered E2E, its seven-week business education experience. This year’s participants come from throughout Berkshire County and range in age from 20 to 60. E2E guides students of all ages through the process of writing a business plan while maintaining a special focus on the local economy. Participants are asked to consider what is being importing to the region that could be produced locally, and are encouraged to look at these “gaps” in the local economy as business opportunities.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact BerkShares at (413) 528-1737 or


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Left to right: Sharon Gregory of Davis Gregory Art, Margaret Moulton of Berkshire Grown, Hope Davis of Davis Gregory Art, and Holly Hamer and Ed Abrahams of the Friends of the Great Barrington Libraries at the Nov. 14 check presentation. Photo courtesy Davis Gregory Art

‘Green Inspiration’ exhibit raises over $2,000 for Great Barrington Libraries, Berkshire Grown

Great Barrington — On Nov. 14, Davis Gregory Art presented a check to the Friends of the Great Barrington Libraries and Berkshire Grown for over $2,000. The donation is the result of DGA’s art exhibition “Green Inspiration: A Celebration of Regional Farms, Food and the Green Economy,” which was on view at the Mason Library from mid-August through Indigenous Peoples’ Day weekend.

Spearheaded by an opening reception attended by 150 art enthusiasts, “Green Inspiration” brought new visitors as well as local residents to the library over its two-month run. Related events included a robust artists’ forum plus a screening of environmental artist Andy Goldsworthy’s “Leaning into the Wind,” which highlights the convergence of art and the green environment and drew a record crowd of 125 people.


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Greylock to offer workshop for first-time homebuyers

Pittsfield — Greylock Federal Credit Union will offer a class for first-time homebuyers Wednesday, Nov. 20, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Greylock Insurance Agency, Allendale Shopping Center, 5 Cheshire Road.

The class will provide information to help first-time homebuyers enter the real estate market. Presenters include a realtor, a home inspector, an appraiser and Greylock team members. The course will cover creating a budget, understanding credit and financing options, and reviewing the home-buying process.

The workshop is free and open to the public. Space is limited and registration is required. For more information or to register, call (413) 347-6114.


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Hawthorne Valley Farm Store acquires Oliva Provisions

Oliva Provisions pesto. Photo courtesy Hawthorne Valley Association

Ghent, N.Y. — Hawthorne Valley Farm Store has acquired Oliva Provisions.

Oliva Provisions was founded by Annette Chambers and Sarah Culmer in 2012. Hawthorne Valley Farm Store was one of many stores in the region that carried Oliva Provisions’ lacinato kale and walnut pesto. When the company closed its doors in December 2018, Hawthorne Valley took note of customers asking for and inquiring about the product. The store approached Chambers in spring 2019 about the possibility of acquiring the company and resuming production.

“We always enjoyed working with Annette as a vendor and saw the value in her high-quality pesto,” said store manager Jeremy Laurange. “We are thrilled to keep this local brand going and continue Annette’s work to broaden out the distribution region so more people can taste the deliciousness of this kale pesto.”

A vegan variety of the pesto is in development, with an anticipated launch after the new year.


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New report helps nonprofits prepare for 2020 Census

Boston — On Thursday, the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network released the latest edition of Commonwealth Insights: “The Census is Coming: How Nonprofits Can Make Sure That Everyone Counts–and Why They Should.”

The new report calls on nonprofits to prepare now to mobilize their communities in support of a complete count. The report urges nonprofits, regarded as trusted messengers in many communities, to leverage existing assets and take advantage of new ones to raise awareness, help individuals complete the Census, and coordinate efforts with organizational partners to maximize collective impact.

The report contains practical tips and resources for nonprofits to encourage participation in the Census, including a list of key steps and dates, case studies of three Massachusetts-based nonprofits, talking points, and a list of resources including public and philanthropic funding available to support outreach around the Census.

The most recent edition of Commonwealth Insights comes as community-based organizations, government agencies and the U.S. Census Bureau ramp up their efforts in preparation for a census facing unique challenges, including the first all-digital census, declining federal support for census promotion, and a climate of fear and uncertainty in hard-to-count communities.