Becker graduates selected for StartUp Worcester
Published on: July 15, 2019
Becker College alumni Cody Lavallee and Avyay Chaganty, and their business ACCL Marketing, have been selected to take part in StartUp Worcester.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Lavallee said. “It’s really going to help us to build a foundation for our business.”
“It was the easiest decision we’ve ever made,” Chaganty added. ”It will give us the tools we need to grow and succeed.”
StartUp Worcester is an initiative of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Higher Education – Business Partnership, The Venture Forum, and Worcester CleanTech Incubator. The program is designed offer support as well as provide work space for the region’s young entrepreneurs, with the goal of helping new businesses succeed and retaining the graduates of the area’s college and universities.
This is the sixth year in a row that, current or past Becker College students have been accepted into the program. Previous Start Up Worcester participants with Becker College roots include: Racquel Knight, Class of 2018, the founder of One Chair 4 One Child; Tyler Haddad ’18, Psychoactive Entertainment; Rejon Taylor-Foster ’17, Maximum Crash; Ryan Canuel ’15, Petricore Games; and Breeze Grigas ’13, Zephyr Workshop.
Lavallee and Chaganty recalled first hearing about the program from Tim Loew, executive director of MassDiGI (The Massachusetts Digital Games Institute). They also talked with several of the Becker alumni who had previously been involved, including Petricore Games co-founder Ryan Canuel.
“Ryan told us a lot about the program and said it really helped to jump start his business,” Lavallee said.
“When I realized what great opportunity it is, I knew we needed to do it,” Chaganty said. “If we want to grow from being just another start up, we need to do this.”
StartUp Worcester participants are chosen from a pool of applicants whose business proposals are ranked based on the companies’ potential for viability and growth, readiness and business model strength. Finalists must pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges that selects the winners.
Those who are selected are given access to work space, publicity, business resources and a network of professionals. Additionally, they receive a one-year membership in the Chamber of Commerce.
“We’re very excited,” said Lavallee. “It’s almost like a stamp of approval.”
Lavallee and Chaganty graduated from Becker in 2018. They both majored in business administration with a concentration in marketing. When they decided to start their own business, they knew they wanted to locate it in Worcester.
“I have roots in Worcester,” Chaganty explained. “My parents came here when they moved from India. I’ve seen the growth and increasing opportunities here. “
“There really has been massive growth,” agreed Lavallee, who hails from Rhode Island. “I’ve seen it in my four years here and I just wanted to be a part of it.”
ACCL Marketing offers a wide array of services including analytics, branding, consulting, drone technology, email marketing, event planning, logo design, photography, social media management, search engine optimization, videography, web design, and website management.
“In a year, we’ve gone from having zero clients to having three clients to being part of Start Up Worcester,” Chaganty said.
Both Chaganty and Lavallee credit their educational experience at Becker for helping with their early business success.
“Our business professors really propelled us,” Chaganty said. “They went out of their way to teach us about the ins and outs of business.
“Becker has a supportive network that has really helped us,” Lavallee said. “They gave us the early guidance we needed.”
While the pair expect to invest a great deal of time and effort into the Start Up Worcester program, they said they are thrilled to be part of this year’s group and are focused on their business’s future success.
“The growth of our company is really important to us,” Lavallee said.” But we also want to be able to give back. We want to play a role at Becker and we want to be able to highlight the talents of the companies that work with us.”