Fayetteville Public Library startup program seeks applicants

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 695 views 

Fayetteville Public Library is accepting applications for the second cohort of From Maker to Market, an entrepreneurship program supported by the Walton Family Foundation. Application deadline is March 15.

Eligible applicants must have a viable product idea, such as jewelry, an app or custom prototype. Those selected will participate in a 12-week program with classes led by area professionals.

According to the library, on Aug. 10, the Walton Family Foundation provided $192,644 for the program. The money will support three cohorts over one year, including the staffing and presenter needs and material and equipment needs for the prototyping and micro-manufacturing phase.

The program will have up to 36 participants, with 12 participants per cohort as the ideal amount, according to the library. The program includes 11 presenters and staff.

The goal is to show entrepreneurs how to build their own product prototypes and to develop micro-manufacturing runs of their products using Center for Innovation tools and equipment. The two-phase program is designed to support startups similar to an Etsy store, website or area market seller.

According to a news release, phase one will support the business owner through product development, refinement and micro-manufacturing runs by providing expertise, training, and access to tools and equipment. Phase two will guide participants through business plan development, marketing and funding options.

“This program is the embodiment of what we hoped would take place in the Center for Innovation,” said Melissa Taylor, manager of the Center for Innovation at Fayetteville Public Library. “We are grateful to the Walton Family Foundation for such a generous support of the vision we have for the CFI. It is here to empower our community. We are especially happy with the group of instructors and participants we get to work with in this first cohort – the majority of them are women and people of color. The hope is that this diversity is present in every session.”

The first cohort started classes on Feb. 2 and meets twice weekly. They will complete courses such as Intro to 3D Modeling, Mold Making 101, Small Business Taxes, and Branding and Identity. They have been meeting with instructors from organizations such as General Mills, FORGE and Alexis Information Systems.