Stamford Advocate 08.14.2020
Ferguson revamps entrepreneur assistance in response to COVID
By Meredith Guinness
The Ferguson Library is looking for 25 small businesses to sign on for a year of free assessment and strategies designed to help them weather the COVID storm.
The library’s revamped Entrepreneur-in-Residence program (EIR) hopes to optimize the success of new and existing small businesses and startups, said Elizabeth Joseph, associate director for community engagement.
“We really will be providing more structure to our program this year,” she said. “We want people to use it as a springboard for ideas, for pivots and that sort of thing.”
The EIR program matches business owners and founders with professionals who are recognized for small business savvy and connections. The service — funded by a Connecticut State Library grant — provides counseling, referrals and assistance with financial and legal documentation, business plans and pitch decks among other things. This year’s program is supplemented by monthly workshops and topical presentations, some of which are open to the general public.
The library is particularly interested in working with restaurants and other brick-and-mortar retail sites and business and start-up owners in immigrant communities, Joseph said.
Interested owners will commit to a yearlong relationship beginning with an introductory session assessing client needs. Those who are selected will be required to submit feedback forms, including current and forecasting reports.
In September, the library will host a public presentation on using Google tools, YouTube, data analysis tools and collaboration tools for small business.
The library has seen a surge of interest in its programming since the state shutdown with residents activating library cards and perusing online movies and e-books and attending live online story sessions and more.