By: Karen Morales
Nonprofit organization EParaTodos recently selected a cohort of 14 budding entrepreneurs for its 14-week accelerator program, including a Puerto Rican former business owner who was displaced by Hurricane Maria.
EParaTodos is the Spanish-language version of Entrepreneurship for All (EForAll), a nonprofit program dedicated to advancing economic and social impact through entrepreneurship in small cities throughout Massachusetts.
With headquarters in Lawrence and Lynn, EParaTodos operates the nation’s first Spanish-language business accelerator and mainly serves Latino immigrant communities.
EParaTodos launched in 2013 to “help the community become more financially independent and reach the American Dream,” said Duran.
There are two main programs: the “Negocios Exitosos” or “Successful Businesses” accelerator program and the “Lanza Tu Idea” or “Launch Your Idea” pitch contest.
“Negocios Exitosos” is a 14-week program where participants can develop their businesses through technical assistance, mentorship, access to a co-working space and the opportunity to compete for $20,000 of seed money.
“The mentors are all volunteers, people in the community, business owners, business professionals who donate their time,” said Andres Silva, program manager.
Anybody with a business idea is encouraged to apply. Applicants are then interviewed by the EParaTodos team to be chosen as finalists.
“Lanza Tu Idea” is a chance for eight to 10 entrepreneurs to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges — “Shark Tank”-style — in front of an audience. Cash prizes are then awarded to the best pitches.
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