City Councilor John R. Connolly today proposed the creation of an entrepreneurship center in Roxbury, aimed at helping more Bostonians launch and grow their own businesses.
“I want to make sure we have a focus on supporting businesses owned by people of color and women across the city,” said Connolly, surrounded in John Eliot Square by about two dozen entrepreneurs and members of the business community. “We have immense talent in this city. Our question and challenge is, ultimately, are we going to connect that talent to all of Boston so that all of Boston can truly succeed?”
The proposed Roxbury Entrepreneurship Center would be developed through a public-private partnership, hopefully with a local college or university.
Connolly said he would house the center in city-owned property in Roxbury that is close to public transportation. The center would provide office and incubator space, a portal for a “Made In Boston” program that would help small businesses find capital, entrepreneurship training and networking, and industrial co-working space.
The candidate stressed the need to support start-ups and small business ventures in minority communities, and several prominent Boston entrepreneurs spoke in support of both the proposed center as well as Connolly’s candidacy.
“I’m supporting John Connolly because John Connolly has the courage to put together a vision and announce it before he becomes mayor,” said Clayton Turnbull, president of the Waldwin Group, who supported the campaign of Charlotte Golar Richie during the preliminary race. “That’s what it’s going to take to lift the ceiling that’s been on this city when it comes to economic integration.’’
Also in attendance were Darryl Settles, president of D’Ventures Limited; Greg Selkoe, CEO and founder of Karmaloop; Val Hyman, radio host with N.E. Audio Rental; Glynn Lloyd, CEO of City Fresh Foods; Caltor McLean, owner of Four Corners Pizza; Gary Webster, owner of Down Home Delivery and Catering; Terryl Calloway, CEO of Calloway Graphix, Printing, Marketing; Liz Miranda, coordinator of Bunker Hill Community Entrepreneur Center; Brendan and Marcel Boyd of Boyd and Marcel Angol, founders of SocietySop; and Abdulkadir Hussein, owner of Juba Market.
“I can make a commitment right now that, once this center opens, Karmaloop will be there to be financially supportive of the center,” said Selkoe. Karmaloop is a successful and nationally renown Boston-based streetwear company.
“We’ve got to get this guy elected,” Selkoe added, pointing to Connolly.