Department of Economic
— Small Business Mentorship Program
MONTGOMERY COUNTY MENTORSHIP PROGRAM BECOMES
A NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED MODEL OF EXCELLENCE
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.