As the birthplace of the smiley face, barbed wire, the liquid-fuel rocket, the monkey wrench and far more, the central Massachusetts city of Worcester and its environs have a storied history of manufacturing and innovation. Now, the nonprofit Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) hopes to build on that legacy by supporting a more diverse group of entrepreneurs than ever before. Launched in 2020, EforAll Greater Worcester has set out to even the playing field by helping groups — like women and people of color — that have had limited access to the resources needed to start a business.
Like many industrial cities, Worcester went into a lengthy economic decline in the decades following World War II. As it builds back, the city has attracted biotech and healthcare companies and worked to become an entrepreneurial friendly hub. To speed up that reinvention, EforAll offers novice business owners programs designed to maximize the potential of their ventures. These are entrepreneurs who know their business well but may not know how to finance or market it, or even basics like payroll and hiring.
EforAll targets midsize cities like Worcester because that’s where entrepreneurs can make the biggest impact on the local economy. The six-year-old organization runs programs in eight Massachusetts communities and has recently expanded into four other states. EforAll’s Accelerator Program is a yearlong course offered twice a year at no cost to participants. It begins with an immersive 12-week business training class, followed by nine months of professional mentorship and access to a network of established entrepreneurs.
Bank of America is helping to fund the Accelerator Program in Worcester, as well as workshops and pitch contests. These forums offer entrepreneurs candid feedback and guidance on which ideas and initiatives to pursue — and how to do it.
The support for EforAll is an example of Bank of America’s commitment to help advance racial equality and economic opportunity in local neighborhoods around the country. From entrepreneur funding and expanding home ownership, to professional skills training and healthcare access, Bank of America continues to partner with innovative leaders to help communities implement solutions to society’s biggest challenges.