Libraries stand as entrepreneurial hubs

Libraries stand as entrepreneurial hubs

Key measures of a healthy economy include, among other things, new businesses that create jobs and attract skilled workers. And while community leaders count on the corporate sector to stimulate economic growth, many experts are pointing to entrepreneurship as a means to build and support thriving local economies.

According to a report by the Kauffman Foundation, by 2020, approximately 50 percent of the workforce will be independent workers rather than salaried employees. As workforce trends shift, libraries are uniquely positioned to promote entrepreneurship, serving as hubs that connect individuals to the people, programs, tools and resources to develop a 21st-century workforce.

Librarians have strong connections to the communities they serve, including communities that have been historically disenfranchised. By creating entrepreneurial “ecosystems,” libraries can help individuals take control of their economic success, especially those who don’t know where to begin or have difficulty navigating multiple sources of information. Public libraries level the playing field by providing well-coordinated resources — often in partnership with other organizations — that support entrepreneurship every step of the way.

For example, KCLS has partnered with the Startup 425 Foundation to offer a series of workshops conducted by leaders and innovators who share their expertise on starting a business. Classes are held at five eastside libraries and cover six topics: ideation, business plans, licensing, financing, marketing and networking. Participants can register for as many workshops as they want in whatever order and location they choose.

Similarly, patrons can take advantage of free counseling sessions with volunteers from SCORE (Service Core of Retired Executives) who offer advice on how to successfully run a small business. As a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration, SCORE is the nation’s largest network of business mentors and has helped millions of budding entrepreneurs across the United States.

King County has a strong philanthropic community and many individuals and organizations take advantage of KCLS’ Nonprofit and Philanthropy Resource Center (NPRC) at Redmond Library to access free databases and other resources to obtain grants to support their cause. NPRC is a member of the Foundation Center Funding Information Network and provides an outstanding collection of philanthropy resources in the Northwest and nationally.

Emerging technologies and the growing maker and gig economies offer numerous opportunities for entrepreneurial success. Patrons who visit the ideaX Makerspace at Bellevue Library can explore a variety of STEAM concepts through hands-on activities such as 3-D printing, digital music composition, robotics, and virtual reality. KCLS will open a second Makerspace at the Federal Way Library in 2019. The Makerspaces are supported by grants from Google and The Boeing Company, underscoring the high demand for STEAM training throughout job markets.

KCLS has always played an important role in helping individuals develop job skills. We are excited about expanding that role by offering programs and services that promote entrepreneurship and help build equitable and resilient local economies.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@covingtonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.covingtonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Opinion

Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He is a former president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and lives in Vancouver. Contact thebrunells@msn.com.
Tell these politicians about the value of hydropower | Brunell

Gov. Jay Inslee and Sen. Patty Murray, both Democrats, issued a draft… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Closer look at South King County legislative candidates | Roegner

There is plenty of excitement ahead in South King County legislative races… Continue reading

Robert Whale can be reached at rwhale@soundpublishing.com.
Seems we didn’t see what we saw, or so say the gaslighters | Whale

Like others lately, I have been avidly following the Jan. 6 Committee’s… Continue reading

Robert Whale can be reached at rwhale@soundpublishing.com.
So much in me, good and bad, I trace back to my old man | Whale’s Tales

This Sunday, like many folks across this nation will do and each… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
The importance of independence in police investigations | Roegner

There have been many people of color harmed by police officers. While… Continue reading

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
Behind the appointment of King County’s new sheriff | Roegner

King County Executive Dow Constantine had three finalists to choose from when… Continue reading

Robert Whale can be reached at rwhale@soundpublishing.com.
Roe v. Wade and the road we have been down before | Whale’s Tales

I have been thinking a lot lately about the Prohibition Era in… Continue reading

Robert Whale can be reached at rwhale@soundpublishing.com.
Here’s a theory on why people embrace all those crazy theories | Whale’s Tales

Not so long ago, one could have called me a dyed-in-the-wool, hard-core… Continue reading