SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Governor Baker continued his visit to western Massachusetts Tuesday, joining Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and other city leaders for a roundtable discussion at Valley Ventures.

The discussion centered on the vital role entrepreneurs play in building up the western Massachusetts economy. The Western Mass Economic Development Council, Valley Venture Mentors and Western Mass Founders Network were among attendees.

The discussion was aimed at bringing awareness to successful economic developments in Greater Springfield, like the EDC’s anchor collaborative. This initiative, as Chief Development Officer Tim Sheehan explains, connects larger anchor institutions, such as universities and other big-employers, with small-business owners.

“And what we’re focused on, is trying to share wealth and basically opportunity in terms of jobs that are available within these institutions, and also contracting opportunities so that we can help these emerging businesses grow their business,” said Sheehan.

The hope is that this can particularly assist underserved communities, like minority, women and LGBTQ entrepreneurs.

The EDC says that as this anchor collaborative continues to grow. It will partner with foundations and organizations to fund local business development, skills trainings, and job creation.