April 13, 2022
The Library’s Square One Small Business Services team supports local entrepreneurs by connecting them with valuable business resources, offering free educational classes, and providing one-on-one guidance. Several Square One clients recently shared their experiences working with the Library and how it has helped their businesses.
Kansas City entrepreneur Eileen Bobowski is one such Square One client. Bobowski is the executive director of The Sewing Labs, a non-profit organization whose mission is teaching the legacy of sewing for employment, entrepreneurship, and enrichment.
What initially drew Bobowski to MCPL was a need for high-speed internet. As she explained, Bobowski lives in a more rural area of Kansas City where the Wi-Fi can be spotty. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, she would often visit the Library to use their internet. She had also previously used the Library’s publicly available meeting and community rooms. Through these Library services, she was eventually introduced to Square One.
“I don't have a marketing team, I don't have a development team,” she said in an interview. “So, I can tap into those resources [at the library] and build my knowledge and gain more knowledge. That's what's been so wonderful about my Square One experience.”
MCPL’s Square One program offers a comprehensive suite of online resources that are intended to help entrepreneurs learn basic skills—from building a cohesive business plan to creating reports and analyses. The Library also provides access to online versions of various business and technology publications with valuable information. But what Bobowski has found especially helpful is the one-on-one mentoring with Square One specialists, who have helped with her organization’s social media engagement and connected her to assistance with video production.
Moving forward, Bobowski plans to lean on Square One for support with fundraising and grant writing to help her secure the funds she needs to grow her organization. She plans to use the Library’s databases to find potential contacts for fundraising activities.
Her advice to other budding entrepreneurs? Reach out to the Library for help with their business needs!
This blog was adapted from materials authored by Knology, a social science research and evaluation nonprofit. These materials were produced in partnership with Urban Libraries Council for the Strengthening Libraries as Entrepreneurial Hubs initiative, a project funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Knology was the independent external evaluator for the project and is solely responsible for the content in the original material.
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