I have found the first organization that I plan to work with. It is Entrepreneurship for All (www.eforall.org). EforAll has a proven method of unlocking the entrepreneurial ambitions of individuals and then guiding them through a twelve-week accelerator process to successful launch. They use pitch contests with cash awards to discover and inspire potential entrepreneurs, who are then encouraged to apply to the accelerator. Once in the accelerator, every entrepreneur gets a team of personal mentors who they meet with weekly. There are also weekly classroom-style sessions where experts teach the basics of business across a wide spectrum of topics from identifying your target customer to pricing to online marketing to how to incorporate your business and more. The accelerator uses a structured schedule of activities and deliverables to take the entrepreneur from idea to business concept to launch.
EforAll’s accelerator model produces an above-average success rate. To date (with more than 7 years of experience in our launch city), 83% of EforAll graduates are still in business. In Lowell and Lawrence, Massachusetts they have created 115 businesses and 305 jobs.
EforAll focuses on underserved mid-sized cities. They are in 5 cities (as of October 2017) and ready to add more cities across the US. They have a very efficient model, requiring only 2 full-time staffers per city, with a total annual budget per city of roughly $330,000. They then use volunteer mentors, local topic experts and business leaders to bring the accelerator to life. There are roughly 300 economically struggling mid-sized cities in the US that could use a program like this to grow their local economy.
EforAll is ready to scale. They have a strong leadership team, and board of directors, as well as an funding support from The Deshpande Foundation, The Kauffman Foundation and the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation. I will be helping EforAll refine its expansion plan and raise the necessary money. They are embarking on a capital campaign and I have made a significant financial commitment to their success. I will also be joining the board and working with the team helping them navigate the inevitable growth challenges.