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The Small Business Launchpad offers an 8-week program for potential entrepreneurs with previous state or federal convictions to learn the basics for starting and running a business. With supplies provided by SLCL, participants develop skills through expert-led presentations and workshops. This program will run every Wednesday evening July 10–August 28, 2024 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in our Small Business Center at the Clark Family Branch. Participants will pitch their business and could receive funding for their business at the end of the program.

The Small Business Launchpad is sponsored by the Clark family and the St. Louis Port Authority.

By the end of the program, the participants will:

  • Have created a business idea you are passionate about and learn the how-to’s for starting a business
  • Create a business plan
  • Understand the resources the library has to support your small business
  • Connect with organizations in the community that provide support to starting and growing businesses
  • Understand financing and marketing for your business
  • Create an elevator pitch to present to judges in a pitch competition.

Application Process

A library card is not required to apply for the Small Business Launchpad, although it is encouraged to have a current library card to have access to our small business databases.

Program Requirements

  • 80% participation in the program to complete
  • Prior conviction(s) or time-served conviction(s)
  • In-person attendance
  • Business venture idea is a plus (not required)

Don’t have a computer or internet access at home? For those accepted into the program, you will be provided a laptop and hotspot during the entire 8 weeks. 

Applications are no longer being accecpted.

Participants will be contacted if they are selected for the workshop by mid-June.

Monthly Outline



Partner Presenters

July 10th

Mindset / Reasons to Start a Business / Barriers & Fears / Generating Ideas

Dan Lauer, Lindenwood University

July 17th

Business Registration & Licensing & Laws

Legal Services of Eastern Missouri

July 24th

Draft a Business Canvas and Customer Prospecting/Competitor Analysis

Small Business Development Center

July 31st

Business Finance 

Small Business Financial Coalition

August 7th

Finding Funding


August 14th

Marketing Basics / Branding

Keisha Mabry, Grow with Google

August 21st

Pitching Your Business / Interviewing with the Media

Nathan Rubbelke, STL Business Journal

August 28th

Final Pitch Event