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Grant helps Worcester’s EforAll expand program to Spanish-speaking entrepreneurs

Oftentimes, when you look at the “Our Story” section on a company website, it will start with something along the lines of “it all began with an idea,” or a “spark” or something equally intangible. While ideas and sparks are certainly necessary, what it doesn’t mention is the required funding, business training and consumer research needed to get any venture off the ground.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 20% of small businesses fail within their first year. If every aspiring entrepreneur with a great idea succeeded in realizing their vision, this statistic would be very different. More often than not, even with the best resources, the odds are stacked against you. Now, include factors such as lack of education, being a non-English speaker and a global pandemic with its attendant supply chain issues and economic fallout. Clearly, it takes more than an idea to overcome these hurdles.

Worcester resident Pooja Vishal started out with mixing spice blends for the local farmer’s market, where a co-vender told her to apply to E for All. The “E” stands for “Entrepreneurship” and true to its name, the organization aims to allow anyone acting on a new business venture to have an even playing field.

The organization uses a network of seasoned professionals to pool knowledge and expertise to help entrepreneurs by providing business classes and mentorship. After pitching their ideas, participants are placed in a one-year accelerator program, the first three months of which is intensive business 101, often taught by professors from local colleges, followed by the implementation and evaluation phase. This consists of regular meetings with assigned mentors to work with the participants to refine and focus their ideas.