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Entrepreneurship Boot Camp Series

This webinar series is open to all ULC members and is completely free!

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Libraries are a critical support for small business owners and entrepreneurs in communities, providing access to a wide range of programs and services that can bolster their work. With two separate tracks designed for library staff of differing levels of expertise, ULC’s new *FREE* boot camp series provides resources for libraries to effectively support entrepreneurs.

View the recording of the ULC Entrepreneurship Boot Camp Information Session to get more details about each track and which may be right for you.

Watch Recorded Webinars in the Boot Camp Series

    Entrepreneurship Boot Camp | Track 1, Session 1: Foundations

    In the first of two highly interactive webinars, the first Entrepreneurship Boot Camp session for Track 1 aided participants in understanding what opportunities exist for their local entrepreneur audience. This webinar took place on Thursday, February 15, 2024.

    Boot Camp Tracks and Session Descriptions

      Track One: Designed for library staff who are new to working with local entrepreneurs.

      Using strategies from ULC’s Closing the Entrepreneurship Gap: Tools for Libraries toolkit, participants in track one will understand the needs and desires of different people, a key when working to serve diverse audiences. Participants will learn how to take an inventory of existing library programs, services and resources, but also assign an economic value to them. This can serve as a key asset in securing new partnerships, funding and resources as libraries look to build their work with local entrepreneurs. You will complete the bootcamp with a value proposition pitch that can be used to inform community outreach, staff engagement and library programming in this area of service. The deadline to register for track one is Thursday, February 8, 2024. You must register for each of the two sessions in the track separately.

      Session #1: Foundations pt. 1 | February 15, 2024, 2:00 - 3:30 pm ET

      In the first of two highly interactive webinars, the session will aid participants in understanding what opportunities exist for their local entrepreneur audience. This first session will include the following activities:

      • Mapping your library’s existing entrepreneur support assets and services that can help entrepreneurs build on their business goals.
      • Researching community and online resources for entrepreneurs.
      • Reviewing data, news and trends to build a deeper understanding of the needs, challenges and focuses of contemporary entrepreneurs in your community.
      • Identifying your target audience(s) for library outreach through a custom segmentation exercise.
      • Completing a worksheet that outlines what entry points at the library such as programs, spaces or technology that already exist to advance work with local entrepreneurs

      This webinar has passed.

      Session #2: Foundations pt. 2 | April 18, 2024, 2:00 - 3:30 pm ET

      Building on the understanding about the local entrepreneurship ecosystem from part one, this session will focus on developing programmatic outcomes, building community partnerships and promoting the efforts of the library. Participants will develop and share pitches that can be used to build support among library staff, attract new library customers and engage external partners and funders. This second session will include the following activities:

      • Developing targeted outcomes for local entrepreneur programs and services at the library.
      • Understanding how to build strong relationships with local government agencies, business leaders and entrepreneur support organizations.
      • Determining opportunities to maximize strategic alignment with potential partners through a partnership matrix exercise.
      • Writing an “elevator pitch” that succinctly sells your library’s unique value proposition for the role the library plays in the local entrepreneurship ecosystem.

      REGISTER

      Track Two: Designed for library staff who already have experience working with local entrepreneurs or manage an established business services program.

      This track will combine peer learning, guest speakers and goal mapping to amplify and supercharge how your library works with local entrepreneurs. Using advance strategies from ULC’s Closing the Entrepreneurship Gap: Tools for Libraries toolkit, participants will learn how to deepen regional partnerships to advance economic opportunity and how to tailor outreach to entrepreneurs at specific points in their business development journeys. Participants will also learn how to use ULC’s Business Value Calculator to capture data points and establish benchmarks about the library’s entrepreneurship efforts on the surrounding community or business ecosystem. The deadline to register for track two is Thursday, March 14, 2024. You must register for each of the two sessions in the track separately.

      Session #1: Assessing the Work | March 21, 2024, 2:00 - 3:30 pm ET

      The first of two sessions for more experienced library staff will begin with a moderated panel discussion with guests from entrepreneurial support organizations who are doing work at a national scale. The conversation will address emerging trends in the field and highlight new approaches to supporting entrepreneurs, creating robust partnerships, funding streams and current advocacy efforts.

      The second half of this session will focus on discussing how your library will make an impact to support entrepreneurs this year. Participants will be guided through an exercise that will help them uncover new ways of understanding the social and economic impact of their current services, programs and offerings such as access to technology and equipment.

      As a prerequisite to this session, participants will be asked to submit 2-3 best practices that were used to support entrepreneurs (outreach, programming, etc.) in 2023, and be prepared to share one of those practices during the session. Submissions will be used to build a freely accessible knowledge base in the weeks following the webinar.

      REGISTER

      Session #2: Communicating the Value | May 16, 2024, 2:00 - 3:30 pm ET

      This session will highlight strategies to assess and refine current programming and services for entrepreneurs, develop communications strategies and techniques to demonstrate the value of those programs and services to various stakeholders, and establish 2024 goals to support entrepreneurs. As part of this process, participants will develop and share quick pitches that can be used to build support among library staff, attract new library customers, and engage external partners and funders.

      REGISTER

      Related Resources

      • Toolkit | Closing the Entrepreneurship Gap: Tools for Libraries

        Strengthening communities is the business of libraries — and support for under-resourced entrepreneurs is key to that role. By addressing support gaps for high-need entrepreneurs, libraries are critical drivers for local economic recovery, resilience and equity, which is more vital than ever in the COVID-19 era.

        View the Resource
      • White Paper | Entrepreneurship: Where Urban Libraries Fit

        Knology, a social science research organization, with the support of the ULC and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, assessed the range and impact of entrepreneurship programs offered by urban libraries across the US and released a white paper in April 2022. This study documented the ways that libraries currently support entrepreneurs. It also identified areas where the demand for business-related programming is increasing.

        Read the White Paper
      • Leadership Brief | Strengthening Libraries as Entrepreneurial Hubs

        This Leadership Brief focuses on the public library’s role as an essential resource for entrepreneurs and core component of local entrepreneurial ecosystems. It highlights the exciting work already underway in libraries to advance the entrepreneurial spirit and identifies seven strategies for library leaders to become more intentional about implementing programs that support local economic development goals and reach potential entrepreneurs most in need of guidance and encouragement.

        Read the Leadership Brief
      • Article | Public Libraries as Critical Spaces for Convening

        Hear from ULC President and CEO Brooks Rainwater about the importance of libraries as physical convening spaces. Through creative development of these spaces, libraries can contribute to the wellness, civic engagement, and productivity of their communities.

        Read the Article

      Thank you to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation for supporting this initiative.

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