2022 Mohawk Trail Entrepreneur Challenge
Challenge concluded: Winner – The Cruckfather, LLC
The second annual Mohawk Trail Entrepreneur Challenge (MTEC) will support entrepreneurs and companies developing sustainable wood and forest product businesses, excluding businesses focused on wood-based fuels. The overarching goal of the program is to create jobs in the Mohawk Trail region of Massachusetts.
One company will receive a $25,000 innovation grant from Lever to launch or grow the business. To participate, companies must be located in one of 16 towns that are members of the Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership.
Companies selected as finalists will complete a four-month Lever acceleration program, including technical assistance from Lever’s experienced staff, consultation from domain experts, and a variety of additional resources. The acceleration program will conclude with a final pitch event in April 2022. A panel of expert judges will hear those pitches, review business plans, ask questions, and select one company to receive the $25,000 grant.
The Cruckfather, LLC, Shelburne
The Cruckfather is a timber frame business that uses the old New England construction tradition to create timber-framed structures of all shapes and sizes. The Cruckfather’s owner, Alan Spooner, aims to branch out into small-scale manufacturing, creating small-scale timber frames and structures on-site in Charlemont in addition to its on-location construction services.
Larkitecture, North Adams
Larkitecture is planning to address a major issue many people have with camping: uncomfortable sleep. The company plans to build and sell a “teardrop”-style camping trailer (a pod design with a retro feel) that is comfortable for overnight stays, no matter where it’s parked. Their design will feature locally harvested wood products.
Hall Tavern Farm, Charlemont
Hall Tavern Farm is the oldest privately owned tree farm in Massachusetts. Its 350 acres, used as a farm since the 1920s, have been conserved through a state Agricultural Preservation Restriction, and it also offers custom sawing and milling services. Hall Tavern’s team is planning to develop an on-site wood processing and forest education center that would serve as an incubator and equipment share for other wood-based businesses.
Coopers Wood Products, North Adams
Coopers Wood Products creates custom wood signs, mantles, beer taps, cabinets and more, frequently using reclaimed barn wood for its products. Coopers also produces large-volume wood items for other artists. Coopers’ goal is to increase the amount of reclaimed wood used in its projects.