Earlier this year Amy and I, along with a number of other local friends, supported the rollout of a new organization in Longmont called Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll).
EforAll is a nonprofit organization that partners with communities nationwide to help under-resourced individuals pursue their dream of starting a business. They believe everyone should have the opportunity, resources, and support they need to successfully start their business. Its programs include a free, full-year Business Accelerator that utilizes a cohort model and includes intensive business training and mentorship as well as quarterly community pitch contests.
Since I first wrote about their launch, EforAll Longmont has hosted two pitch contests featuring over 50 entrepreneurs. To get a feel for the activity, take a look at the article about Lorne Jenkins after he won the top prize at one of the pitch competitions.
EforAll Longmont is accepting applications for its first Accelerator program which will start in early January. To help these entrepreneurs, EforAll is looking for experienced professionals across a wide range of industries to serve as mentors for these entrepreneurs. I’ve written extensively about the importance of effective mentorship and one of the things that I love the most about EforAll is their mentorship model.
After spending time with a few EforAll entrepreneurs, I came away excited by their ideas and aspirations. What they need now are mentors who can serve as their champion, coach, and support network as they navigate the challenges of starting their own business.
If you are an entrepreneur or business leader living near Longmont, Colorado, especially in an adjacent town like Boulder, and you are interested in becoming a mentor for EforAll, please reach out to Harris Rollinger, the Executive Director of EforAll Longmont or volunteer online to become a mentor.
EforAll’s mission is to accelerate economic development and social impact through inclusive entrepreneurship in emerging communities. They are focused on fostering small business development and entrepreneurial activity amongst under-networked and under-resourced populations in communities that have been traditionally overlooked for economic investment.
The decision to support EforAll was easy for us as they focus on two distinct issues that we care about: building entrepreneurial ecosystems and supporting underserved entrepreneurs. Their metrics speak for themselves as their entrepreneurs have been: 57% unemployed or underemployed (when they started the program); 70% female; 41% immigrant; and/or 55% minority.
They also locate their programs outside, but near, communities that are traditional hubs for entrepreneurship. In Massachusetts (where they are based), they run programs in cities like Lawrence, MA, and Lowell, MA – both recovering factory/mill towns that lost their economic driver years ago when most of the factories closed down. In these two cities, EforAll has launched more than 130 small businesses and startups which have created almost 400 jobs in the community.
While there’s been tremendous growth in Colorado, it has been uneven across the state. We believe the importance of investing in the types of entrepreneurs and communities that EforAll works with is crucial, especially as the wealth inequality gap in our country continues to grow.
I’m particularly excited that EforAll has decided to launch their first Colorado site in Longmont. I’d like to invite you to come to an event on April 17th from 8:00am-9:
If you are interested in getting involved or supporting the effort, email Harris Rollinger who is the Executive Director of EforAll Colorado.