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Smart Business at Your Library

Cuyahoga County Public Library

Innovation Leader: Fatima Perkins, Adult Services Manager, fperkins@cuyahogalibrary.org

Problem Statement

Entrepreneurship requires a tremendous amount of hard work. Potential entrepreneurs with a firm grasp of their industry still need help developing their business ideas from initial start-up to long-range planning. Cuyahoga County Public Library needed to encourage and assist those who could bring innovation – and jobs – to our region.

Innovation

Cuyahoga County Public Library developed the Smart Business at Your Library series for potential entrepreneurs and small business owners. The yearlong schedule of programs was open to all who have a passion for business, with topics like Introduction to Entrepreneurship; Developing a Solid Business Plan; Financing Your Business; and Business at Noon: Women’s Networking Lunch. Smart Business at Your Library also featured a lecture series. Jeff Bauer of Giraffe Inc. and Jeffrey Jones of the Law Office of Jeffrey P. Jones LLC led Communicating Your Company’s Value, which explained conveying a company’s value to potential clients. In Product Globalization, Bob Chalfant of NEO Management LLC introduced a checklist of guiding strategies for product globalization and shared some success stories and some not-so-successful endeavors. For Immigrant Inc., participants met with Richard Herman, a business and immigration attorney, and Bob Smith, a Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter on international cultures. They are the authors of Immigrant Inc.: Why Immigrant Entrepreneurs Are Driving the Local Economy (and How They Will Save the American Worker).

Progress

To provide the best resources to our customers, Cuyahoga County Public Library partnered with diverse organizations that included the Cuyahoga Valley Chamber of Commerce and TiE, a global network of entrepreneurs. We ensured participants reconnected with reading by incorporating helpful books like Fierce Leadership by Susan Scott and The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness by Stephen R. Covey. Budding entrepreneurs learned, networked and even read. Now, an increasing number of people are using library resources to operate their small businesses, with Cuyahoga County Public Library providing needed capital.