We're delighted to announce our merger with the East St. Louis Initiative, a student run venture supporting small-scale businesses and individual entrepreneurs in the underserved community of East St. Louis. The venture shall now be known as the BALSA Foundation’s East St. Louis Initiative.
The East St. Louis Initiative was founded in 2015 by students from the Olin Business School and the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, to support small-scale businesses and individual entrepreneurs in the underserved community of East St. Louis. ESLI offers entrepreneurs the support of 2-3 member student consulting teams over a 4-6 month timeframe with a wide variety of expertise in areas of business, finance, marketing, legal and nonprofit management, free of charge.
The BALSA Foundation is a volunteer-run organization founded in 2014 as the philanthropic arm of the BALSA Group, a student-run consulting organization. The BALSA Foundation’s mission is to promote social equity and prosperity in the St. Louis region by empowering first-time entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses. We fulfill this mission by (1) maintaining an online, step-by-step guide to starting a business, (2) providing free feedback from experts to anyone with a business idea, (3) providing cash grants, mentorship, and donations of professional services to first time entrepreneurs who need and will benefit from them the most.
The BALSA Foundation’s East St. Louis Initiative will continue the work of serving East St. Louis entrepreneurs with focused consulting services while taking advantage of the BALSA Foundation's network and expertise.
We invite entrepreneurs from the East St. Louis area to participate in our 2017 Annual Pitch Competition. The Pitch Competition provides entrepreneurs a stage to pitch their idea to a panel of experienced judges, and the opportunity to win attractive cash prizes. Up to 5 entrepreneurs will be offered the services of a team of business consultants from the MBA program at Washington University, who will work with the selected entrepreneurs for up to 6 months to realize clearly defined business goals, free of charge.
The competition will be held on Friday, Oct 27, at the Skandalaris Center at Washington University in St. Louis. For more details and updates, please click here. All interested entrepreneurs are requested to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.