Entrepreneurship for All – Northwest Arkansas kicked off its first year-long accelerator programs last month, one for Spanish-speaking and another for English-speaking entrepreneurs.
“The hope is that, by the end of the program, they are either ready to launch the product or business, or they have already launched their business and it’s already generating revenue,” Executive Director Rodrigo Salas told Arkansas Business. “At the end of the day, what we’re trying to do is help people have a better life, improve their economic situation, improve their social situation” for themselves and future generations, he said.
Only about half of small businesses survive their first five years, according to the Small Business Administration. Salas said his nonprofit is trying to help those in northwest Arkansas beat the odds.
An office of national organization EforAll of Lowell, Massachusetts, EforAll NWA opened in July with a $350,000, three-year grant from the Walton Family Foundation that allows it to offer its accelerator for free, as well as Spanish and English pitch contests in which entrepreneurs compete for cash prizes ranging from $500-$1,000.
There are numerous accelerators in Arkansas, but EforAll NWA’s is unique not only because it’s offered in Spanish but also because of its length, focus on local entrepreneurs and lack of focus on a particular industry.