From this week’s BusinessWeek (link & excerpt):
The Library: Next Best Thing to an MBA
Across the country, public libraries are giving would-be entrepreneurs a helping hand with resources and expert guidance…
Five years ago, Farid Ali was a Web designer for a
Manhattan law firm when a friend, George Constantinou, suggested they
open a restaurant together in Brooklyn. For Ali, however, there
appeared to be a couple of small hurdles. First, his entire restaurant
experience amounted to a brief stint as a busboy some 20 years before.
Second, he had never owned his own business.
"I had always worked for other people," he says. "To
become an entrepreneur was very challenging, I wasn’t in that mindset."
So he enrolled in an online workshop for budding entrepreneurs and came
across a librarian who told him about the resources available at the
For the next two years, Ali spent three hours a
day, four days a week, poring over reference material, databases, and
digital tools at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Business Library.
Constantinou joined him frequently. Together, they learned how to write
a business plan, create a Web site for their business, and, as Ali
says, "open a restaurant." Moreover, he says, "I realized by scanning
the shelves that owning a business takes a lot more than just raising
money and finding a location."