EforAll NWA: 2022 Summer Accelerator Cohorts
15 Northwest Arkansas-based small business owners began the EforAll Summer Accelerator Progam this past July.
Fifteen Northwest Arkansas entrepreneurs in the early stages of their business will begin a year-long cohort program with Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) to build upon their idea and launch a successful business.
Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) partners with communities nationwide to help under-represented individuals successfully start and grow a business.
“Our goal is to accelerate economic and social impact in the communities we operate through inclusive entrepreneurship,” said Rodrigo Salas, executive director of EforAll Northwest Arkansas.
“It’s really important that we admit entrepreneurs who have a clear idea of what they want to do, are committed to making it happen, and have an open mind. These fifteen entrepreneurs meet that criteria to the T. I am so excited to welcome them to our EforAll family!”
EforAll’s accelerator program model focuses on five essential components to help these business owners thrive in their first years, often the most difficult for small businesses. The entrepreneurs will receive dedicated mentorship, real-life curriculum, peer support, cash grants, and bilingual support to help guide them through their journey. The diverse group of entrepreneurs includes 80% of business owners identifying as Black, Asian/Pacific Islander, and/or Latino, and 7% of a founding team identifying as Autistic.
“Northwest Arkansas is a vibrant place where everyone should have the chance to dream big about starting a business. For new entrepreneurs like me who may not fit the mold, EforAll is opening the door to this opportunity with access to training, mentorship, and a warm community of support,” said Domestique Founder and CEO Myra Epp, one of the selected members of the English Cohort.
90% of the EforAll entrepreneurs will launch their business idea. After three years, 70% of the businesses that went through EforAll’s mentorship will still be open, versus the national average of 58%.
The non-profit organization received 37 applicants for this summer cohort and chose 15. The participants had to undergo a rigorous application, review, and interview process. Their proposal was also evaluated by more than 50 community leaders, industry experts, and entrepreneurs.
“I am honored to be a part of such a grand experience,” said Tahamara Ibarra, Founder of Taha Translations.
“EforAll is providing me with a team of dedicated professionals to guide me in solidifying my idea into a business reality. I am empowered and know that by completing the program, I will be one step closer to having my own business and providing a service that will help the Hispanic community of NWA.”
The summer EforAll Accelerator class will run from July 2022 to June 2023. It will have a hybrid approach where most classes and meetings will be held virtually. Still, advance and final presentations will be held in person.
In addition, EforAll’s Accelerator program is run simultaneously in English and Spanish to help as many individuals as possible in our community, thanks to the support of the Walton Family Foundation.
As part of the 2022 summer cohort, entrepreneurs will access expert mentorship, tailored curriculum, co-working space, and opportunities to win seed money.
“Small business owners are the ones who are more connected to the needs of the community,” said Salas. “They come with solutions that will solve the needs of their individual communities.”
Research shows that for every $100 spent in a small business, 70% or $68 stays within the community. Small businesses are also crucial to job creation. In 2021 alone, companies from the EforAll program provided more than 1,734 local jobs and generated over $54M in revenue, despite the pandemic. In addition, entrepreneurship significantly impacts wealth creation in minority groups. Its been shown that people who start their own business are 12 times more likely to build wealth than those that work a nine-to-five.
“When we accept people into our program, we don’t judge the idea; we look at the person. Because the number one factor that will make a business succeed is the person behind it. If the entrepreneur is determined, committed, and has the willpower to move forward, the business will most likely be successful,” said Salas.
The businesses include various industries, including food services, eco-friendly products, cleaning services, translation, human resources tools, and lifestyle-oriented ideas such as art, make-up, and tattoos. The chosen business ideas for this summer accelerator program reflect the diverse needs and personality of the region and stand on the pillars of community, innovation, inclusivity, creativity, and ambition.