Councilors Welcome EforAll to Haverhill Following Grant Celebration at UMass iHub

Congresswoman Lori Trahan shepherded EforAll’s federal grant through the House in 2022. (WHAV News photograph.)

(Additional photograph below.)

Haverhill City Councilor John A. Michitson. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Haverhill city councilors Tuesday night welcomed Entrepreneurship for All—a small business start-up accelerator program.

As only WHAV reported a little more than two weeks ago, the Lowell-based program—called EforAll, for short, and EparaTodos in Spanish—received a $242,779 federal grant to open a branch in Haverhill. City Council Vice President John A. Michitson attended a celebration of the grant award last week, describing its benefits for his colleagues.

“It offers business accelerator programs to start-ups with a combination of practical business training, dedicated mentorship from business and community leaders, all for free,” he said.

Michitson said EforAll partnered with Merrimack Valley Planning Commission to seek the more than $200,000 grant paid as part of the American Rescue Plan Act. Additionally, he pointed out, the money is supplemented locally with a 25% match donated by Pentucket Bank, Haverhill Bank, City of Haverhill and Essex County Community Foundation.

WHAV also covered last week’s celebration, where Congresswoman Lori Trahan discussed why she got behind the group.

“EforAll has the unique ability to recognize that there are individuals from across our great state who possess tremendous ambition and great ideas, but they need a hand to overcome some economic and social barriers that prevent them from successful launching their own business,” she said.

On hand last week was Raj Melville, executive director of Deshpande Foundation, who described the vision of the Merrimack Valley Sandbox which evolved into EforAll.

“We wanted to tap into that latent entrepreneurship that we knew existed in all of those communities—to rebuild those communities from within so that people would go out and create jobs as opposed to looking for jobs,” he said.

Other speakers and guests gathered at UMass Lowell’s iHub last week included EforAll Executive Director Sophan Smith, Reps. Andy X. Vargas and Christina A. Minicucci, Mayor James J. Fiorentini, Merrimack Valley Planning Commission Executive Director Jerrard Whitten and Peachbox Co. founder Alvania Lopez.

In his recap for the City Council, Michitson said EforAll has opened many doors for Merrimack Valley residents since launching in 2013.

“Today they have 407 graduates who, collectively, have generated over $43 million in revenues and created 1,050 local jobs,” he said.

EforAll plans to open up shop at the COCO Brown’s incubator space at 293 Washington St., Haverhill. The co-working space also partly owes its start to EforAll as founder Katrina Hobbs-Everett told WHAV.

Some of the roots for the vision for Coco Brown actually did come out of some of the mentoring that happens with EforAll and, obviously, EforAll’s mission and purpose is the same as COCO Brown,” she explained.

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