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 Department of Economic Development — Small Business Mentorship Program

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To learn more about the programs and services of the
Department of Economic Development, please
call (240) 777-2000

Piloted in 1991, The Montgomery County Small Business Mentorship Program wasted no time meeting its goal of improving the success rate of local entrepreneurs.

Originally designed to provide outreach to start-up companies owned by minorities, females, and disabled persons - the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development (DED) expanded the program's scope in 1993 to include existing businesses, as well. The innovative, yet common sense, program continues to operate at virtually no cost to the County government (except for a minimal amount of staff time) and enthusiastic participation has grown by leaps and bounds since its first year. By 1995, Montgomery County's Mentorship Program was hailed as the National Association of Counties' Achievement Award Winner. The program is now just one of the services offered by DED.

Many of the program's highest accolades come from within. Participants are eager to point out that the merits of the partnerships don't stop at the boundaries of the program's defined roles. Sometimes, the mentee becomes the mentor. Those who start out giving advice often end up gaining fresh new perspectives along the way. It's a win-win situation for both sides of the equation. Trust is a vital element, because sometimes proprietary business information is being shared. Many participants in the program agree that the fiduciary relationship between mentor and mentee has helped forge friendships that last well beyond the program itself. The real success of the program is evidenced by the number of mentees that return to the program as mentors.


One of the most critical elements empowering any entrepreneur to make his/her business successful is the ability to take advantage of all available resources.

Sometimes the resources are obvious. Other times, a mentor can point out useful short-cuts, helping a new-comer maximize their time and often limited financial resources.

Whether it's information on finding the right space for an office, getting bank loans, hiring the right staff, or anything else in the scope of running a business, the key ingredient is teamwork. No one succeeds entirely on their own.

Montgomery County is uniquely specialized in offering services to persons seeking advice about business development. The cooperative spirit of teamwork continues with nearby Montgomery College playing an active role in helping to train business leaders. An array of courses and seminars are especially geared to help businesses prosper in our economy.

Montgomery County remains especially committed to helping women, minorities, and disabled residents enjoy success, and mentioned herein are just a few of the many avenues available to help achieve business success.

Mentorship Program Definition:

To create a relationship between the mentor, who has wisdom and experience in successfully operating a business, and the mentee, who is at the beginning of a business career, in an effort to enhance the personal and professional development of both.





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