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How Open4’s Support of UB’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Launched its Emerging Entrepreneur Accelerator

Funding from Open4 allowed us to launch the Emerging Entrepreneur Accelerator (EEA) in partnership with the Buffalo Urban League. EEA is a nine-month entrepreneurial training program that matches each participant with an experienced business coach for customized attention. Open4 support also allowed us to add individual coaching sessions, networking events, credit repair counseling, and other services to our existing MWEE program. We hope participants will accelerate the growth of their businesses and remove any personal roadblocks that stand in the way of their success.

I would like to ensure that the MWEE program is the flagship program for women and minority entrepreneurs throughout Western New York.

The Impact of Open4 Support

Through the generous funding of Open4, we are providing services that we otherwise could not afford to provide and still keep the price point within the reach of emerging entrepreneurs. The enhancements to the program and the ability to fund a part-time program director have allowed us to grow enrollment in MWEE by 135% from last year; redesign the curriculum to add more value to participants; develop a working relationship with the Buffalo Urban League; and make other program improvements. Open4’s regular convening sessions have allowed me to get to know the other BSOs, thus expanding the array of services we can direct our participants to for their unique needs/issues.

Final Thought

The positive comments from our participants about the additional services through the Open4 funding have been uplifting to hear. The impact on individual lives of this program, much less the WNY economy, cannot be overstated. The work we are doing on behalf of traditionally under-represented entrepreneurs has the capacity to impact generations to come.

Susan Steffan, Executive Director, UB Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership – October 20, 2022