Massachusetts-based nonprofit Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll), whose mission is to accelerate economic and social impact through inclusive entrepreneurship, announced Tuesday (March 23) the launch of a free, year-long business accelerator program in Northwest Arkansas.
According to a news release, EforAll helps under-represented individuals successfully start and grow their businesses or nonprofits across a wide range of industries, including personal and professional services, food, retail, manufacturing, and technology.
The program offers a unique combination of immersive business training, dedicated mentorship from local business and community leaders, and access to a large professional network —with the opportunity to win seed money.
Funding from Bentonville-based Walton Family Foundation is backing the Northwest Arkansas accelerator.
“EforAll will provide vital resources and creates access to entrepreneurial opportunities for everyday Northwest Arkansas residents striving to launch new businesses,” Yee Lin Lai, a program officer for Walton Family Foundation, said in the release.
To meet Northwest Arkansas’ growing diverse population, the EforAll programs will also be available in Spanish.
“We are thrilled that our proven program is expanding to Northwest Arkansas. This region has enjoyed tremendous economic success, but community and business leaders recognize the need to create a more inclusive entrepreneurship ecosystem to meet the needs of all its residents,” said David Parker, CEO, EforAll. “We believe EforAll and EparaTodos will fill that void by helping those who may not have access to the right resources or tools start a business and have their own opportunity to flourish in the local community.”
Among the over 500 businesses started by EforAll participants, 74% are owned by women, 58% are owned by people of color, 46% are owned by immigrants, and 39% are owned by people who were previously unemployed. These businesses generated over $25 million in revenue and created 720 local jobs in 2019.
“EforAll’s bilingual business accelerator programs will offer Latinx entrepreneurs in the region the confidence, support and networks they need to start their businesses,” said Jeannette Balleza Collins, entrepreneurial development director at the Northwest Arkansas Council. “It’s energizing to consider the power of more inclusive engagement and representation in our diversifying community.”
EforAll’s business accelerator programs as well as its first community pitch contests — a free event open to everyone that offers an opportunity to validate a business idea, win cash prizes, network with local business owners, and meet potential customers — will launch this summer in both English and Spanish.
EforAll is looking for an executive director and two program managers for the Northwest Arkansas accelerator.
More information about the Northwest Arkansas programs is available at this link.