Fast Company

Startup America Launches Entrepreneurial Mentor Corps for Budding Business Owners

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Wondering how President Obama's just-established Startup America program will grow businesses and create jobs? The Entrepreneurial Mentor Corps (EMC), a pilot program for entrepreneurs and early stage companies, will help.

The EMC, launched this week by U.S. Small Business Administrator Karen Mills, will provide funding to four clean energy-focused private business accelerators with the expectation that the accelerators will mentor 100 small companies.

"As we emerge from the recession, we see a new crop of entrepreneurs poised to build high-growth firms, drive innovation, and create good jobs, but they need some help," explained Mills on a conference call. "We picked clean energy [to start] because we have worked with the DOE through the process in the Recovery Act where they funded over 400 small [cleantech] firms."

Now 100 of those firms will receive mentorship (two mentors for each startup) from the four accelerators--Cleantech San Diego, the Clean Energy Trust, the Cleantech Open, and the Nevada Institute for Renewable Energy Commercialization. Once startups have completed their mentor partnerships, they will be expected to mentor the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Ultimately, the EMC hopes to mentor 1,000 startups in a variety of sectors. Mills hasn't yet revealed how much money will be given to the EMC for mentorships, and she admits that the EMC hasn't yet figured out how it will interact with each accelerator. But the seeds of a successful mentorship program are there.

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  • Phil Gainley

    This is great, we are starting to see something similar over here in the UK, they are calling it the social fund (that provides some money), but the incubators as they are known here are scattered around