Boston Mayor Marty Walsh Joins Desh Deshpande and Entrepreneurship for All to Launch Roxbury Initiative

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ROXBURY, MA – Entrepreneurship for All, a nonprofit organization known as EforAll that partners with communities to help all residents start and grow businesses, held a private event on Monday, to celebrate its launch in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston.

Desh Deshpande, founder of the Deshpande Foundation, the initial funder for EforAll when it began as the Merrimack Valley Sandbox in 2010, said, “I started EforAll because I strongly believe that the best way to close the income inequality gap and create employment in cities that are economically challenged is to change from the inside. The people who live in the community itself know what kinds of businesses will prosper there. And it turns out that in every community, there are would-be entrepreneurs. A neighborhood like Roxbury, with its rich history, is an ideal partner for EforAll.”

Desh Deshpande

Mr. Deshpande and EforAll team were joined by Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh and local entrepreneurs. Event sponsors included Santander Bank and J.P. Morgan as well as Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) and Venture Cafe Foundation, two of EforAll’s program key partners in Roxbury.

EforAll’s programming includes a free, one-year Business Accelerator program featuring intensive business training, a 3:1 Mentor/Entrepreneur ratio, modest grants to the entrepreneurs, and an extended professional support network to assist budding entrepreneurs who might not otherwise have the support they need to start a business.

“Roxbury is the perfect fit for a program like EforAll because our mission is to motivate and support individuals who want to start a business but lack the support system and tools to get started,” said David Parker, CEO of EforAll.  “We look forward to collaborating with Roxbury’s terrific network of community leaders, small business owners, and neighbors to start and grow businesses and foster a community-wide spirit of entrepreneurship.”

Through 2018, EforAll alumni have started nearly 350 businesses and generated nearly 700 jobs, with 83 percent of alumni still actively pursuing their businesses. Among EforAll businesses, 75 percent are owned by women, 56 percent are owned by people of color, 56 percent are owned by people who were previously unemployed, and 54 percent are owned by immigrants.

EforAll launched a pilot Accelerator program in Roxbury in June 2019 with eight entrepreneurs and 24 mentors. Its Winter 2020 Roxbury Accelerator will kick off in early January with applications due by November 7th for interested candidates.

Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) is a nonprofit organization that partners with communities nationwide to help under-resourced individuals successfully start and grow a business through intensive business training, mentorship and an extended professional support network.  EforAll programs are currently offered in the following MA communities: Cape Cod, Fall River, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, New Bedford, Berkshire County, Longmont CO, and Roxbury. To learn more about EforAll, visit eforall.org.

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