Gwinnett County Public Library (GCPL) has launched and is now accepting applications for its New Start Entrepreneurship Incubator with the goal of providing options for employment and life success for community members who have previously served time in jail or prison. The initiative is funded by Google's Libraries Build Business Grant.
This initiative will help returning citizens, who have served time, to develop business ideas, learn what is needed to run a successful business, and receive one on one support from successful entrepreneurs and business experts.
The library anticipates serving 10-30 individuals through two, six-month cohorts, with each cohort having no more than 15 participants. Each month a small business development program will be offered to participants in conjunction with GCPL's partners. Participants will be matched with an experienced entrepreneur mentor. The program will also include classes, in-person and online, and a laptop and wifi hotspot for each participant for the duration of the program.
With this initiative, GCPL hopes to serve the overall community by providing returning citizens with the tactics and tools to develop a small business and overcome barriers to professional success. Returning citizens often have a greater difficulty finding a means of support through a job or business than the rest of the population. GCPL's program is a means of leveling the playing field and helping returning citizens find their path back into the larger community.
The application process for the first cohort, which will begin in January, is now open through the library's website. Applications will be accepted until November 15.