10.22.19

Grantee Spotlight: Entrepreneurship for All

With a singular goal to advance diverse, untapped entrepreneurial communities across the country, Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) selected Longmont as its first site outside Massachusetts. 

 
“I became aware of the Community Foundation through Pledge 1% Colorado,” says EforAll Executive Director Harris Rollinger. Pledge 1% Colorado – launched by your Community Foundation – is a network of entrepreneurs who share a common commitment to give back to their communities. “It soon became evident that the foundation and EforAll share similar values.
 
“Boulder County has its challenges, and the Community Foundation raises awareness of communities that have been left behind [see the recently-released TRENDS Report]. The foundation understands what it takes to lift people out of poverty. 
 
“We’re similarly focused to close the gaps where inequities exist – including helping entrepreneurs overcome hurdles like affordable housing and access to capital, which are at the forefront of wealth creation for disadvantaged communities.”
 
Continues Harris, who’s also a participant in the current class of Leadership Fellows Boulder County, a joint leadership development and networking program of the Community Foundation and the Boulder Chamber: “We exist to help people turn their dreams into businesses. EforAll and the Community Foundation are both dedicated to ensure that everyone has equal opportunities to be successful.”
 
While EforAll is new to Colorado, the nonprofit organization – a grantee of the Community Foundation’s Millennium Trust – has been around since 2010. EforAll offers a free accelerator program (also in Spanish) comprising immersive business training, mentorship, and access to an extended professional network. EforAll further facilitates pitch contests that are fun, fast-paced community events, enabling early-stage entrepreneurs to gain valuable exposure and feedback on their business ideas at no cost.

[Related reading: EforAll Grand Prize Winner Gives Back To Longmont]

 
According to EforAll Marketing Director Julie Smith, some 350 businesses have been started by EforAll alumni creating more than 680 jobs, and generating nearly $20M in revenue in 2018 alone. “We’re truly about inclusive entrepreneurship, prioritizing women-owned businesses, businesses owned by people of color, immigrant-owned businesses, and businesses owned by previously unemployed individuals,” she says. “We operate a high-support, high-impact model where volunteer mentors really set us apart.”
 
Indeed, participating entrepreneurs each have access to three mentors – all of whom offer a high degree of expertise. “We’re very community-based, and we believe it’s optimal to have more than one person to bounce ideas off of,” Julie says. “Being an entrepreneur can be a lonely road. We provide the tools and support to remove barriers for anyone with a dream to start a business, and to create lifelong professional community networks.”

[Learn more about becoming an EforAll mentor, or to teach workshops.]

 
Adds Harris, “The Community Foundation immediately understood that we’re here to make an impact, and that our model is replicable and makes sense.”
 
Meanwhile, he’s looking forward to the Leadership Fellows program. “At EforAll, it’s very important to us to be a part of the community,” he concludes. “We don’t just parachute into communities. We really want to understand the ecosystem of each community we’re in, and get to know the people and the issues, the challenges and the opportunities.”