Podcast: Rep. Vargas Enjoyed a Front-Row Seat Watching EforAll Help Haverhill Startups

From the 2022 Digital Equity Challenge. Haverhill iHub Associate Director Stephanie Guyotte, second from right, and EforAll’s Sophan Smith, right, present a first-place check to MakeIT Haverhill’s Tim Haynes. (Courtesy photograph.)

Lowell-based Entrepreneurship for All, which is opening a Haverhill office, has already helped launch Haverhill startups.

As only WHAV reported last week, the group plans to celebrate Thursday its receipt of a $242,779 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration for its Haverhill satellite. State Rep. Andy X. Vargas, a former employee of EforAll, told WHAV he had a front row seat to observe the group’s successes.

“I was fortunate enough out of college to have worked for them, for some time, as their marketing and communications lead, and saw all the amazing work that they did in getting entrepreneurs off the ground. There are several in Haverhill, actually, who have gone through the program already because they’ve gone to Lowell, or they’ve gone to Lawrence, where they have their offices and their programs,” he said.

Vargas, appearing on WHAV’s morning show last week, noted some Haverhill businesses launched with the help of EforAll.

“When you think of, for example, Triana’s Real Mexican Food, she’s an EforAll entrepreneur that came through the accelerator program, got mentorship, got some grant funding and she was able to launch and scale her business and now she’s got a storefront, she’s got employees, she got her liquor license and things are going well for her business. When you think of another Haverhill entrepreneur, Goodie Krunch, for example, HamdAllah, which you guys are highlighting in your story, she also came through EforAll,” Vargas said.

For entrepreneurs to be accepted, each must apply to get it, “pitch” their product and take part in the six-month accelerator program.

“The accelerator is a program that, basically think of it as a condensed MBA. Students, entrepreneurs will learn everything from accounting basics to marketing to who’s your customer and really drilling down into understanding what’s your unique value proposition is for your product. So, it’s really a condensed mini-MBA that gets entrepreneurs ready to hit the ground running,” he explained.

EforAll begins operating this fall at Coco Brown’s incubator space at 293 Washington St., in Haverhill. Vargas and Congresswoman Lori Trahan will be on hand Thursday to celebrate the federal grant. The award will be supplemented with contributions from Pentucket Bank, Haverhill Bank, Haverhill Community Development Block Grant program and Essex County Community Foundation. The Haverhill operation is expected to generate 35 jobs and generate $1.1 million in private investment.

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