Built in Broward: META Workforce Development
Broward County Library, Fla.
Built in Broward is part of the grant-funded Making Entrepreneurship in Tech Accessible (META) initiative focusing on the underrepresentation of people from low-income groups in the tech business sector. It addresses this inequity by improving participants’ technical skills through workshops and incubators to help them launch their businesses.
Underrepresented/low-income groups have traditionally been kept out of the tech business sector. To combat this, Broward County Library received funding from Libraries Build Business (LBB), an initiative of the American Library Association funded by Google.org. The challenge was to create a program series/entrepreneurship model complementing and enhancing the library’s extensive portfolio of free business-related resources and provide valuable training opportunities for the initiative’s targeted audience.
In July 2020, Broward County Library was one of only 13 public libraries to receive funding via LBB. The grant was used to launch a series of three monthly instructional online workshops as well as a series of incubator meetings. Workshops provide instruction on skills related to tech entrepreneurship such as user experience design, sales, digital marketing and branding. The online incubators provide participants with advice and coaching from peers, local experts and librarians.
There were over 78 participants at the online Built in Broward: META Workforce Development kickoff event on August 27. Attendance at the four September workshops ranged from 55 guests at a branding workshop to 17 at a coding class for non-programmers. There were 16 participants in the two incubators held in August and September. It is anticipated that program outcomes will be used to develop successful entrepreneurship programs in other public libraries.