Free Money & Kimchi
Entry to Entrepreneurship teaches the fundamentals of a good business
“Free Money” is the only phrase that fully registered with me when I received an impressive description for “Entry to Entrepreneurship.” If I completed the program, I would receive prize money in BerkShares. I read on.
Entry to Entrepreneurship, a 10-week program hosted by BerkShares Inc. for 25 individuals between ages 16 to 30, teaches the fundamentals of creating a functioning business. In partnership with the Schumacher Center and the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center, and in collaboration with Berkshire Community College’s South County Center, the business-planning program just completed its fourth cycle. It envisions the gaps in the local economy and then develops business plans around the opportunities for local and appropriately scaled industries that could close those gaps. It features speakers who explain the different aspects of following through with such an endeavor. “The goal is to make a business plan library; the products that come out of the class will go up online so people can take it and run with it,” says Entry to Entrepreneurship facilitator and program coordinator of BerkShares, Inc., Rachel Moriarty.
I was 15 then and expected to float through the classes and reap my reward without becoming fully engaged. I realized I was quite wrong when the novella of a class guideline was placed on the table in front of me and we were asked, “What are we currently importing that we could be making here [in the Berkshires] instead?” Through the weeks, I learned everything from the basis of supply and demand to the painstaking process of making homemade Kimchi. At its completion, we were called upon to pitch our business plans to the public at Dewey Hall in Sheffield under the enthusiastic observation of our community. “It is great to see the imagination that goes into the business ideas,” says Moriarty. The E2E class was intrinsic to opening my mind to the options available to me beyond college as well as the resources that I have here in the Berkshires as a young person. And what’s not to like about free money and Kimchi?