Nonprofits bring small-business support programs to communities of color in R.I.

PROVIDENCE – The Entrepreneurship for All Accelerator Program and Entrepreneurs Forever on Tuesday announced they’re launching small-business support programs that focus on underrepresented people and people of color in Rhode Island.

Nonprofit Entrepreneurship for All Accelerator Program and its Spanish-language program, EparaTodos, are one-year programs that focus on providing training and support for underrepresented people to start, grow and sustain their businesses.

The programs use a unique combination of practical business training, dedicated mentorship from local business and community leaders and access to a large professional network. They are offered at no cost and will be available twice a year.

Massachusetts-based EforAll has similar programs in place in 12 communities nationwide.

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Entrepreneurs Forever is a nonprofit that supports small-business owners and entrepreneurs who live or operate in evolving communities. It provides entrepreneurs the power to persist by providing know-how, skills, training and support in the form of professionally facilitated peer-to-peer small groups that meet monthly.

The Rhode Island Foundation has committed a three-year, $150,000 grant to support EforAll and eforever’s expansion into Rhode Island with an emphasis on small businesses in communities of color.

“We are excited to have new business support programs that have successful track records in other markets come to our state,” said Neil D. Steinberg, Rhode Island Foundation CEO and president. “This will supplement other small-business programs already here and provide additional resources.”

In addition, the R.I. Commerce Corp. awarded a $56,667 Innovation Network Matching Grant to EforAll in December.

EforAll has hired Johnston resident Laura M. Guillén as the executive director to oversee its English and Spanish languages programs in Rhode Island. Guillén joins EforAll from BankNewport and originally hails from the Dominican Republic.

“I am so excited to join this organization that already exists in over a dozen communities across the U.S.,” said Guillén. “There are many aspiring entrepreneurs in Rhode Island that just need the guidance and advice from mentors and experts, like the ones offered in our business accelerator program, to get their businesses off the ground and revitalize their communities. I look forward to contributing to their success.”

To learn more about these organizations and their program visit: eforall.org and entrepreneursforever.org.

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