Reach, Take, Lead


Opportunities are everywhere.  You just need to learn to live your life in a ready state.  Walk with energy in your life thinking fruitful things.  

The only difference between the almost successful to realizing their dreams is just the notion of sticking to it.

Take responsibility

Take A Chance

Take the Initiative

If you’re sitting on that precipice, thinking of taking the leap, and you’re waiting for courage to come?

Let me tell you, Courage comes AFTER the ACT.

Lead Responsibly, as a role model and pay it forward.

The Wachusett Business Incubator.We believe in YOU.

Mike Greenwood  is a Professor, Inspirational Speaker and  Strategic Consultant .  Find out more how Mike can work with you

Carol Jacobson

Pennies From Heaven: Financing Your Business?


The Wachusett Business Incubator is producing a series of informative events in 2020 in partnership with the Center for Women and Enterprise.

The series launches on March 13, 2020 from 9:00AM-11:00AM with a panel discussion entitled, “Pennie from Heaven: Financing Your Business.”

Join us to learn about financing options for your business!  Our panel of experts will speak to the different types of financing available for your business.  We will discuss how to pick the right type of lending institution, and how best to prepare for that conversation.  You will also learn about resources available to help you plan or grow your business.  We will answer topical questions that get to the heart of why you would consider outside financing in the first place.  Register for this Event

But you do not need to identify as a woman to be a part of this event, or to take advantage of anything else we offer!  Entrepreneurs and experts of all genders are welcome.


Our Featured Panelist: The Center for Women & Enterprise (CWE) is a nonprofit that helps women start and grow businesses. CWE offers one-on-one consulting, workshops, and networking opportunities for those looking to start or grow their business.  CWE will be represented by Michelle Miller, CWE Central MA Director. Michelle holds an M.A. in International Development and Social Change from Clark University. She ran a coffee shop for five years, in which she helped to shed light on working conditions in South America and provided vocational training to people with disabilities.  Michelle has managed economic development and rehabilitation programs in Massachusetts as well as in Colombia, Peru, and Nicaragua. These programs assisted victims of conflict in rebuilding their lives, providing such services as prosthetic donation and fitting, psychosocial rehabilitation, and microfinance.

Additional Panelists

David Lubelczyk, ImageIdentity, LTD: Known as the “Brain For Rent“, Dave is a one-man think-tank who converts obstacles into actions. He specializes in helping entrepreneurs, management teams, and business owners get unstuck.  He is a core member of the mentor team at the Wachusett Business Incubator where alongside executive director Scott M. Graves he assisted in the development of WBI’s Leadership Candidate Program and is developing a unique business planning tool, the Playbook.  Dave is a branding columnist, business author, brand strategist, idea incubation consultant, and President of IMAGEidentity, LTD.  For twenty five years, he has provided creative and consulting services to large corporations, non-profit organizations, and small start-up companies.  Dave’s book, MYOB: mind your own brand is a collection of articles designed to make the reader think differently about their brand.  Dave holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Marketing from Bryant University, and has completed several advertising design courses at Rhode Island School of Design.



Sandie Cataldo, Manager of Economic Development North Central MA Development Corporation: Sandie works with non-profits, state agencies, banks and credit unions as well as small business community to strengthen economic development on a regional level by encouraging job creation and retention.  Prior to the Development Corporation Sandie held the position of Business Development Coordinator for the City of Leominster for nine years.  She serves on the Board of Directors for Wachusett Business Incubator, a member of the North Central MA CRA Coalition, as well several economic development advisory committee.


Our entrepreneurial Ring-Leader: Scott M. Graves is currently the Executive Director of the Wachusett Business Incubator.  In this capacity he directs the organizations economic development programs, develops new pogromming and funding sources along with the team of mentors, staff, interns and board members assembled to tackle the most critical economic issues for North Central Massachusetts.  He is the host of the new podcast “WBI’s Are We Here Yet?” and offers a variety of public presentations on a number of tip-of-the-tongue social and economic issues.  He is a business owner in his own right, founder of the Arts Innovation Center and the New England Playhouse, a multi-disciplinary performing arts curriculum currently under development in Andover, MA.  His formative career years were spent as a performing artist and jazz educator.


Register for this Event






What We’re Watching in 2020

The Year 2020 is shaping up to be a period of great growth for the Wachusett Business Incubator.  It is our hope we can play our role in the development of new opportunities for the citizens of Gardner and the region we call home; from Devens to Orange and every community in between.

Here’s what we’re watching for 2020.  These sectors are currently playing out in various ways in our programs or are industries really topical and show promise for the region(in our humble opinion).

We look for: industries that promote independent ownership, diversified revenue streams, promote health and wellness, work within a supportive ecosystem, are a benefit to the planet, are essential, that spread happiness and encourage a sense of community.

Urban Agriculture/Food Systems: What’s more essential than the food eat and the people who grow, process and market that food?  And in post-industrial revitalization zones such as ours, there is a tremendous interest in various solutions being introduced to the marketplace.  A look at existing resources, properties and community interest shows Gardner and the surrounding region is ripe for growth in various ways.  We recognize potential for our region in food processing, food distribution, social justice projects, community gardening, farmer’s market development, AG innovation (think research and development efforts), production or development of nutri-sudicals and more.


Experiential Services  I’m using this generic term to mean any business concept that involves clients required to experience the product and service offered.  This generally means a physical destination environment but can also include a virtual space.  Point being: the resiliency in such a business plan is that people interested in your product/service have to come to you for the unique experience.  This type of business when executed well pays off for its owners.  The WBI has services to assist those interested in developing unique experiences for their would-be or current clients.

Renewable Energy Opportunities abound for entrepreneurs in the renewables space.  We particularly are watching new developments in waste to energy here at the WBI.  There are few guarantees in life: one is the continuation of human population growth and therefore the expansion of human bio-solids and that of the animals we eat. Technologies and their resultant products and services in Pyrolysis, Composting and Anaerobic Digestion.  Execution of financial models in these segments have a profound influence on many of our other major systems such as the aforementioned food systems and can also address issues with energy resiliency and the de-centralizaiton of the grid known as microgrid development.  These segments are top of mind for state and national officials, researchers, funders and many in our community.


Hemp Production/Processing  With the surge in marijuana production, retail and products industry here in New England nearly everyone is excited in the entrepreneurial sector about Cannabis.  The WBI is particularly focused on various solutions utilizing strains of Cannabis Sativa generally referred to as Hemp.  In addition to medicinal opportunities the plant product has potential for use in a number of other industries such as textiles and the building materials.  A successful industry across the board would be a benefit to regional farmers, indoor growers, oil processors, researchers and other entrepreneurs.  The this end, the WBI is currently engaged with its first Hemp processing business within its Leadership Candidates Program.

HandCrafted Products (Feature Wood and Natural Fibers)  In an age of Amazon, hedge fund liquidation of major retailers and consumer apathy there exists an ever growing cadre of consumers eager for quality over quantity, who desire a relationship with the people making their higher end products and a connection to the ecosystem that bore him.  So too exist the craftsmen and women capable of delivering to market goods and services that match this need.  Closer to home the WBI has two such companies currently under our Leadership Candidate Program.  Wood You Build It delivers custom cabinet products with national distribution and all hand made in Gardner, MA.  Another sector to watch for big things in 2020 in Gardner is the Natural Fibers segment.


Village Style retail Given Gardner proximity to locavore movements, it’s population of centrally located citizens, trends in localized retail opportunities the development of numerous, small-box retail spaces, pop-up experimental spaces and other mixed-use village style retail or commercial opportunities would transform the way our local population makes its purchases.  Watch for opportunities in pop-up or shared retail followed by larger village-style opportunities


Independant Music (Content) Distribution The trend towards commodification (devaluing) of musical, literary and other artistic creation is fast coming to end.  The technology exists for widespread readily available distribution of music.  Where innovation is needed for recorded music, music merchandise and untold other industries who can license to use such innovation is in the financial distribution to artists and entrepreneurial developers.  Injecting equity into the equation will spur on new growth in artistic creation as the incentive to both create and make public increases.

Education Services  The world of education is quickly transforming.  At the higher ed level, the pathways in which people engage colleges and universities (where, when, how and why) is rapidly changing as are the ways student efficacy is being measured.  The expansion of k-12 data-driven curriculum, innovations in public funding formulas, the debate over test-based education and more has created tremendous instability where stability and efficacy are need most to benefit society.  But this has also created serious opportunity for entrepreneurial educators, researchers and more.

Local Journalism Few industries play the central role in our democracy that a robust, local journalism infrastructure plays.  With the dissolution or reduction of editorial and reporting staff at numerous regional papers in North Central MA recently, the WBI feels its critical to instigate the conversation regarding what role we and other entities might play in developing new financial models that can maintain and better still expand current reporting capacity.  The fundamental health of our democracy is no less at stake.

Don’t let our meager list stop you from engaging in any number of Wachusett Business Incubator’s Programs, Events, Seminars and Classes now beging offered at wachusettincubator. com.


Scott M. Graves is Executive Director of the Wachusett Business Incubator and founder of Smash Music, an independent music education and merchandising company in Massachusetts.  Find out how you can benefit from the WBI’s Leadership Candidates Program.


First WBI Intersect Series Weaves Artists & Consumers Together

A full house enjoyed the comfy confines of the Wachusett Business Incubator on January 17 for the first event of their Intersect Series.  ‘I am extremely pleased with the turnout this evening’, recounted Executive Director Scott M. Graves.  ‘Once again, our staff, Board of Directors and citizens can be proud of themselves for the ever-increasing critical mass of interest this organization is creating for the region.’

Audience members hailed from a variety of backgrounds and came from the Pioneer Valley, Berkshires, Southeastern MA, NH and VT.  It was an excellent opportunity for the WBI and panelists from Gardner to present our city’s story of de-industrialization, innovation, perseverance and craft to a broader group of interested people.

The Wachusett Business Incubator wishes to thank its panelists as well as the featured artists of our ongoing exhibit provided by Gallery Sitka of Shirley, MA.  A thanks goes to all of our audience members who came prepared with insights, ideas and inquisitive minds.  We say thanks especially to Katie Cavaccio of Free Ramblin’ Kids and Gretchen Laise, two producers who also made use of the first batch of textiles made in this project.

Panelists Michelle Parish and Peggy Hart recounted the process of sourcing and processing wool into yarn, then spinning the yarn into textiles on Peggy’s circa 1940’s loom.  Gardner Entrepreneur Erin Keiwel recounted her experience turning their fine and locally sourced textile into finished high-end hand crafted wool clothing.  Keith Tetreault, Owner of Plainview Farms of Hubbardston, MA took his audience into what it takes to lead a small freehold, diversified and destination farm including the care and breeding of alpacas. We also thank Keith and his wife for providing our guests with some quality time with a pair of their beautiful animals.

Their process was part of a grant-funded project to demonstrate the viability of such a craft-quality based process.

Working in conjunction with the Wachusett Business Incubator such a project could go from proof of concept to a viable business as together, we experiment to discover the viable financial model(s) that profit each member of the ecosystem and in turn provide consumers with a long-lasting, valuable product and art piece.

Discussion also included the importance of converting our current consumer culture through education and experience, so more people see real value in clothing whose price reflects the real cost of production and marketing.

The Intersect Series, a discussion series of the Wachusett Business Incubator seeks to instigate compelling discussion on topics the meet at the intersection of art and commerce.  Future topics/disciplines will include challenges faced by dealers and artists of fine art, changes in music merchandising and how they have effected indigenous american music and others.  Complete updates to the WBI events schedule can be found by clicking here.



Register Now for upcoming WBI Events and Classes

Skills Series: Defining Your Brand w/ Paul Gaj

Sewing Level (B) class w/ Erin Keiwel 

Accounting for Entrepreneurs w/ Paul Crowley