Holyoke-based Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) recently received a $ 277,777 grant from Facebook as part of a $ 10 million racial equity grant initiative.
The grant will allow EforAll to expand its inclusive entrepreneurship program in existing communities like Holyoke, particularly among Black and Latin American Americans.
According to Tessa Murphy-Romboletti, Executive Director of EforAll in Holyoke, the Facebook grant was given to the national EforAll organization and Holyoke was selected from 400 others for its commitment to racial justice and equity through inclusive entrepreneurship.
“We believe that promoting entrepreneurship is one of the most powerful forms of social service as it turns people in need into people who are able to provide for their own needs,” she said.
According to Murphy-Romboletti, people are turning more than ever to entrepreneurship due to unexpected COVID-19 difficulties like unemployment or changes in income.
“This grant opportunity will support EforAll’s organization-wide efforts to expand our Spanish language programming and serve emerging entrepreneurs and startups in and around Holyoke and across the state,” she said.
EforAll emerged from the Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce’s SPARK program, which began in 2015. As the three-year scholarship ended, in 2018 SPARK partnered with EforAll (Entrepreneurs for All), a non-profit based in Lowell.
EforAll launched its EparaTodos program last spring to focus on helping Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs in Greater Holyoke.
The free one-year Business Accelerator program helps underfunded individuals successfully start and grow their businesses or nonprofits in a variety of industries including personal and professional services, groceries, manufacturing, and traditional online retail.
The program offers a combination of comprehensive business training, dedicated support and access to a professional network. The organization usually offers its programs in person, but is willing to host classroom training and mentoring sessions online as needed.
Among the businesses created by EforAll participants are 75% owned by women, 56% owned by colored people, 54% owned by immigrants and 56% owned by people who were previously unemployed.
The program recently announced that 18 local entrepreneurs, startups from all four western Massachusetts counties, have been admitted to participate in two winter cohorts. Eight of these are for the Epara Todos accelerator, which is kept entirely in Spanish.
For more information on EforAll Holyoke, please visit eforall.org/ma/holyoke or email Murphy-Romboletti at [email protected] or program manager Jayne Melendez by email at [email protected] or by phone 833 -336-7255, ext. 7205.