BTCF Blog | Spurring Economic Growth in Berkshire County

BTCF Blog

Spurring Economic Growth in Berkshire County

By Darryl Gangloff / October 4, 2019 / Economic Opportunity
Spurring Economic Growth in Berkshire County
In photo, from left: 1Berkshire President and CEO Jonathan Butler, Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corporation Board President Jay Anderson, Pittsfield Mayor Linda Tyer, EforAll CEO David Parker, and Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation President Peter Taylor.

 

We believe philanthropy can play a vital role in stimulating more inclusive economic growth in our region. Through our partnership with Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) Berkshire County, we're proud to support diverse entrepreneurs as they seek to turn their promising ideas into successful businesses.

EforAll Berkshire County is an innovative nonprofit program that leverages public-private partnerships for proven economic and social impact. With its focus on the untapped potential of every resident, EforAll is determined to help all participants succeed—women and minorities, immigrants and those previously unemployed are the important faces of this work.

Civic, business and community leaders have committed over $1 million to support EforAll's operating budget for three years and help transform communities into inclusive and thriving entrepreneurial ecosystems. The program's model, which is active in multiple communities throughout Massachusetts, will be showcased during two launch events this month:

  • The Berkshire County Caravan will bring community leaders, volunteers and aspiring entrepreneurs together for free introductory events throughout the day on Monday, Oct. 7. BTCF President Peter Taylor will share the story behind the program at Great Barrington Bagels at 9:15 a.m. The caravan will then move to Framework in Pittsfield at 11:30 a.m. and Hi-Lo in North Adams at 5 p.m.
  • pitch contest will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 22, at the Berkshire Museum for budding entrepreneurs to share ideas, receive feedback and compete for seed funding. Applications are due Oct. 11 at noon.

Community members will participate in the process as judges, mentors, leadership and advisory board members, and by collaborating with other community groups. An intensive 12-week accelerator program will launch in January and provide each entrepreneur with a full year of support from three mentors, a group of peers and other local experts. After launch, participants have access to an alumni network, co-working space and financial guidance.

EforAll Berkshire County is administered by an executive director and program manager, with support from more than a dozen staff at the organization’s Lowell headquarters. [Read an in-depth report in Berkshire Trade & Commerce.]

The program is made possible by a group of partners including Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation; the City of Pittsfield and Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corporation (PERC); Greylock Federal Credit Union; Mill Town Capital; 1Berkshire; the Feigenbaum Foundation, Berkshire Bank Foundation, Callahan Dee Family Foundation and the Shah Family Foundation; Common Capital; and MassDevelopment.

[Local media, including the Berkshire Eagle and iBerkshires, have covered this partnership.]

Since 2013, EforAll alumni have created nearly 350 new startups and over 680 jobs, raised $21.2 million and generated $19.7 million in revenue. An impressive 83 percent of teams are still active. EforAll startups are 75 percent women-owned, 56 percent minority-owned and 54 percent immigrant-owned; 56 percent owned by residents who were previously unemployed; 75 percent local, 25 percent scalable, 16 percent food-related and 10 percent nonprofit; and 48 percent service, 33 percent product, 12 percent tech and 7 percent retail.

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