The Rochester Economic Development Corporation (REDCO) has been awarded a $1 million Small Business Administration grant to continue to improve Rochester’s entrepreneurial ecosystem through its innovative Resource Partner Enhancement Program (RPEP).
RPEP is a two-year peer learning cohort program designed to provide developmental support and collaboration opportunities that increase the cultural relevance of services and resources offered by local entrepreneur support organizations (ESOs). The program leverages public investment and a team of organizational coaches to build and maintain a cooperative network of support services for the region’s diverse small business community.
Cohort two is scheduled to launch during the winter of 2021 and will include Rochester Institute of Technology’s Center for Urban Entrepreneurship, Venture Jobs Foundation, Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Rochester and the Business Insight Center at the Rochester Public Library among its participating organizations. Each organization will be assigned an organizational coach who will assist with the development of an evidence-informed enhancement plan, piloting new and improved programs and resources. They also will attend an annual convening, participate in an Undoing Racism Workshop and collaborate with their peers during monthly meetings to develop cohort-wide enhancements.
“I’ve never seen this before. This is the beginning of a new era of collaboration between our partners in service to our local entrepreneur community, and ultimately their families,” said Baye Muhammad, CEO of REDCO.
Cohort one launched in November 2020 with $1.5 million in support from Empire State Development as part of REDCO’s Revitalize Rochester Fund. Cohort one participating organizations include Urban League of Rochester, Ibero-American Action League, the Rochester Commissary, JustCause, Walker’s Legacy Foundation and Greater Works Collaborative.
“I am overjoyed by the SBA’s transformational investment in our second cohort of the Resource Partner Enhancement Program,” said Lomax Campbell, president and CEO of Third Eye Network. “Our first cohort has been able to accelerate the evolution of their organizations and increase the relevance of their offerings for our diverse small business program community in the first year of the program.”