It’s been more than a year since the EforAll Buffalo project launched with Juweria Dahir at the helm.
It’s the local chapter of Entrepreneurship for All, a national nonprofit that offers free programs to small business and entrepreneurs.
Since that time, EforAll Buffalo has run two cohorts through its flagship accelerator program, with 30 companies in total. It has also run a series of pitch events and workshops.
Through that experience, Dahir says EforAll is learning about keeping entrepreneurs on the pathway of achieving their dreams. Not a single company has dropped out of the program and about 90 mentors have signed on.
“Many of these companies start from someone’s kitchen or porch, and it’s a way for them to make a way for themselves and their families,” Dahir said. “But what’s always missing is that exposure to people who know something that you don’t, who know how to put a business plan together and to find capital. That is enormously impactful.”
Dahir was born in East Africa, grew up in Switzerland and the United Kingdom, and moved to Western New York in 2013 with her husband, a Buffalo native. She earned a master’s degree from the University at Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning and was working as the City of Buffalo’s external affairs manager when the EforAll opportunity arose.
EforAll has also been actively hosting events from its home base in the Innovation Center at 640 Ellicott St. in Buffalo. It recently held a “Simple Steps to Turn Your Idea into a Business” panel hosted by EforAll program manager Sonya Tareke and including Malkijah Griffiths, co-founder and CEO of Real Talk; Steve Ambrose, founder and CEO of appetit; Delon Cannon, founder and CEO of Hood Taste of Buffalo; and John Kappel, founder and CEO of Innosek.
EforAll is preparing to host its Buffalo Fall 2022 All Ideas Pitch Contest. And it is also accepting applications for its third accelerator cohort, which begins in January.
Dahir said it’s important to continue the work being done to support local entrepreneurs, especially in minority communities, where they face steeper challenges.
“The biggest issue a lot of entrepreneurs have is they don’t have an integrated network,” Dahir said. “They’re in the same circle of friends in their own communities, and that can be limiting depending on the circle or community you’re a part of and your socioeconomic status. The way our mentoring is set up is you could have a barbershop owner, or the VP of a bank, or an attorney. People who wouldn’t normally do life together end up hanging out and expanding their roots.”
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