Broward County Library Awarded Libraries Build Business Grant

Tech Sector Opportunities for Minority/Low-Income Entrepreneurs Created

 

BROWARD COUNTY Broward County Library has received funding in the amount of $122,692 from the American Library Association (ALA) to build capacity and expand their programming to small businesses and entrepreneurs from low-income and underrepresented groups.

Broward County Library is one of 13 public libraries around the country to receive this funding from Libraries Build Business (LLB), an initiative of the American Library Association funded by Google.org. Google.org has invested $2 million in the initiative.

This grant – made as part of the tech company’s Grow with Google initiative to create opportunity to all – will also create learning resources for any library to support entrepreneurs in its community.

Broward County Library Director Kelvin Watson.

Broward County Library Director Kelvin Watson

“It is an honor to be a recipient of this grant, and we know that the local business community will benefit immensely from the programs and skills that will come to them as a result,” said Broward County Library Director Kelvin Watson. “There is a particular need for technology training in the underrepresented/low income community.”

Broward County Library has shown a commitment to building business in Broward County.

The library system offers free business services through its free small business incubator, Creation Station Business Coworking Hub. Services include free meeting rooms, free classes and workshops and a free to use Patent & Trademark Office. The grant’s funds will expand these services, and allow Broward County Library to meet the changing needs of its community by providing services focused on tech businesses.

“Libraries are cornerstones of our communities. With the COVID-19 crisis, there has never been a more critical time to support our small businesses and ensure they can survive and thrive,” said Jacquelline Fuller, president of Google.org. “Libraries play a vital role in ensuring this support gets to the small business leaders and entrepreneurs who need it most and we’re proud to be supporting their efforts.”

“ALA is thrilled to support and work collaboratively with Broward County Library and the entire LBB cohort,” said ALA Associate Executive Director, Kathi Kromer. “We are impressed by the innovation and institutional commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion Broward County Library has demonstrated in developing their small business offerings.”

The LBB initiative is driven by the following question: What library-led entrepreneurship models will best help low-income and/or underrepresented entrepreneurs start and grow small businesses? With the goal of identifying promising practices and models for library-led entrepreneurship initiatives, the LBB cohort, in collaboration with the ALA project team, will develop and evaluate practical resources for the field to ultimately scale successful entrepreneurship programs in all 17,000 public libraries.

U.S. Representative Ted Deutch (FL-22)  said, “Libraries are essential hubs of our communities. Regardless of a person’s income or education level, libraries offer access to information and resources for everyone. I’m proud of the Broward County Library System and look forward to the partnerships they form with community members to lift up future entrepreneurs.”

In Broward, the LBB initiative will focus on Making Entrepreneurship in Tech Accessible (META). Traditionally, underrepresented/ low income groups have been kept out of the tech business sector.

Broward County Library will address this inequity by improving participants’ technical skills through introductory and advanced tech workshops, and by offering quarterly incubators to help these groups launch their businesses.

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