The Boston Public Library Fund (BPLF) received a grant from the Nasdaq Foundation to launch the Boston Public Library’s (BPL) inaugural Entrepreneur-in-Residence program.
Based in the Central Library’s Kirstein Business Library & Innovation Center (KBLIC), the Entrepreneur-in-Residence program will be available free of charge for one-on-one mentoring appointments and group workshops to motivate and guide Greater Boston Area entrepreneurs and small business owners as they prepare their own innovative endeavors.
One of the most significant hurdles for entrepreneurs and small businesses is the lack of peer expertise and available mentorship between established thriving business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. Data from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation shows that roughly 25% of Black and Hispanic owned first-year startups only have access to one peer business owner at most in their networks. To address this issue, the Boston Public Library will introduce one Entrepreneur-in-Residence with experience in starting a business or launching a product. An Entrepreneur-in-Residence with personal experience navigating existing disparities and challenges in starting and scaling a business will provide valuable advice while guiding individuals from historically underrepresented populations to succeed in their own ventures. To create a more equitable start-up environment for Greater Boston Area entrepreneurs, the Entrepreneur-in-Residence will support building business plans, accessing capital, and developing professional networks, which are just a few of the ways the Resident will seek to reduce barriers for new entrepreneurs to thrive.
Funding from the Nasdaq Foundation will support the stipend for one Resident for eight months. “We are grateful to the Nasdaq Foundation for their commitment as we launch this inaugural program at the Boston Public Library. The Library now has a unique ability to create a hub for entrepreneurship and serve as a catalyst to advance equity in Boston’s business community,” said Paula Sakey, Executive Director of the Boston Public Library Fund.
The services and programs offered by the Resident will be one component in the BPL’s system-wide workforce development programming through the KBLIC. The KBLIC provides technology, co-working space, and more to build business skills and foster creativity and innovation. All services offered are free to all.