MCLA Innovation & Entrepreneurship Challenge Announces Three Winners

May 10, 2021

NORTH ADAMS, MA—The MCLA Innovation & Entrepreneurship Challenge, held virtually from May 3–May 7, 2021, saw the College community come together to view and vote for three winning pitches. 

The finalists, who pitched their business ideas via video, were Lorenzo Cristofolini ’21, Cristo’s Consulting; Jake Ferrara ’21, Ferrara Lawn Care; Latisha Hargrett ’21, Strong Shoulders; Austin Miller ’21, Get Hooked Bait & Tackle; and Andrew Nygard ’21, Wheels Now!

MCLA President James F. Birge announced the winners in a video on Friday, May 7. Austin Miller’s Get Hooked Bait & Tackle won first place, which came with a $7,500 award. Latisha Hargrett’s Strong Shoulders placed second, for a $5,000 award, and Lorenzo Cristofolini’s Cristo’s Consulting won the $2,500 third-place award. The startup funding awards aim to cover inventory, equipment, and marketing costs for the three new businesses. 

Judging was determined by three votes from North Adams Mayor Tom Bernard and Zoar Outdoor founder Bruce Lessels, and 332 votes from the MCLA community. 

To watch the business pitch videos, visit  

For more information, contact MCLA Entrepreneur-in-Residence Amy Shapiro at