My main project at the organization I’m working at, ProsperUS, is to create a Graduate Network for graduates of the Entrepreneur Training Program. The Entrepreneur Training Program is a 15-week class taught by professional business consultants and designed for people with minimal business experience. It is designed to teach fundamental business management skills on how to register a business, create a business bank account, manage finances, and market a business. Our goal is to create a platform that allows graduates of the program to connect with each other and help one another in their business ventures.
In order to make the group as accessible as possible, we are doing it through Facebook, a platform that most people are already familiar with. In planning this network we first began by considering if the group should be public, closed, or secret. We decided on a closed group that can be found through a Facebook search but requires membership to access. This will allow for the members to have a safe space to share their thoughts and ideas. We also felt that this would help foster a greater sense of community. I think a group simply requires common interests. The graduates that join on Facebook will be part of a group of individuals in Detroit starting small businesses in under-resourced areas. However, they will only form a community if they engage with one another and find value in connecting with the other members. Our goal is to create a community. Right now I am spending a lot of time thinking of ways to foster engagement within the group so that this can happen. Having common interests is wonderful but being in a community that launches off of commonalities to develop a feeling of fellowship. ProsperUS focuses on working with minorities and historically disenfranchised individuals. Especially in today’s distressing climate, it is important for people o feel a sense of support and community. A group brings people together, but when a community forms that group becomes powerful. We hope to foster a community among graduates of the Entrepreneur Training Program.