Business Mentoring Program

Starting and leading a successful business takes decisive thinking, adequate capital and a product or service that meets the needs of a niche in the marketplace.  We know that minority- and women-owned businesses face unique challenges that make it more difficult to start and thrive in today’s economy.  Therefore, we have created a mentoring program specifically for minority- and women-owned entrepreneurs and early-stage companies to increase their chances of long-term growth and profitability.  Our mentoring program provides access to a network of business owners and experienced business professionals that have knowledge about every aspect of owning a business from setting up your business structure to succession planning and more.

Mentors and entrepreneurs are required to allocate at least six hours per month to the mentoring program for one-on-one meetings, reporting progress and other program related events/activities.  Generation E and the mentoring committee will provide an orientation/training session for all mentors and entrepreneurs.  Mentors/entrepreneurs must participate in a Pitch and Partner to facilitate the matching process.

The BC Vision Small Business Action Team recently completed a bench marking study, conducted by JumpStart located in Cleveland, OH, which indicated business mentoring as a need for entrepreneurs and small business owners in the Battle Creek area.  There are approximately 2,809 businesses with less than 100 employees in the City of Battle Creek.  Of those numbers, there are about 120 minority-owned businesses and 235 women-owned businesses.

Mentors

We are seeking volunteer mentors that:

  • Commit to volunteering at least 6 hours per month to mentor or co-mentor one entrepreneur or small business.
  • Commit to participation in the mentoring program for at least 6 months.
  • Commit to reporting progress and milestones on a monthly or bi-monthly basis.
  • Have 3-5 years of industry experience (e.g. manufacturing, retail, IT, food services, etc.).
  • Have considerable business knowledge in at least one of the following areas: Financing/Capital Formation, Financial Management & Accounting, Human Resources & Talent Management, Legal, Sales and Marketing, Business Strategy and Planning, Insurance, Government Contracting, Exporting/Importing or another skill relevant to business growth.

Entrepreneurs

We are seeking women and minority businesses that:

  • Commit to meeting with their mentor(s) at least 6 hours per month.
  • Commit to participation in the mentoring program for at least 6 months.
  • Commit to reporting progress and milestones on a monthly or bi-monthly basis.
  • Have a fully developed business idea (business plan) or are currently operational.
  • Have a physical location and/or conduct business online or in a home environment.

Questions?  Call or email us at 269.441.1238 or staff@genei.org.

We also have additional services available to entrepreneurs including one-on-one consulting, workshops, access to a service provider network and more.

Mentor Application

Have business experience?  Are you willing to volunteer at least 6 hours per month?  Please consider submitting an application to mentor.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, although the first round deadline is March 31, 2017.

Entrepreneur Application

Our first round cohort is full and will begin in April. Please contact us if you’re a woman- or minority-owned business interested in participating.  We will be accepting applications for the second round in early summer!