Entry to Entrepreneurship (E2E), a 10-week business-planning course for 14 to 25 year-olds focused on fostering community entrepreneurship. The third year of this course will be offered from the end of January 2017 to mid April 2017 (dates to be announced) at the Great Barrington campus of Berkshire Community College.
Jane Jacobs identifies import replacement as a key strategy for regional economic development in her book Systems for Survival. Inspired by her thinking, Berkshire County, Massachusetts-based non-profits BerkShares, Inc. and the Schumacher Center for a New Economics have partnered with local organizations, community members, and companies to offer Entry to Entrepreneurship (E2E).
Each lesson is taught by a different volunteer member of the community, who brings his or her own unique skills, experience, and voice to our classroom. From lawyers and accountants to retired executives, shop owners, and food producers, the mentors, advisors and reviewers are all locally-based and offer a future support network for E2E graduates.
In the class, students are introduced to the concept of import replacement and are asked to identify what might be produced in the region that is currently being imported from elsewhere. This sets the tone for the course, and encourages students to write plans for businesses that will address practical needs in their community.
Each student who completes a business plan earns a prize of 200 BerkShares (the local currency of the Berkshire region). Plans not implemented are shared on the BerkShares website, to serve as a starting point for future community entrepreneurs.
Videos from the Winter 2016 session are available to view at: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJJCnEIQjMRQoNvXbq3dpBbzsvkYjbxz2