New York state has launched Business Mentor NY, its first hands-on mentoring program geared to help entrepreneurs and small businesses across New York state overcome challenges and spur growth.
First mentioned in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's State of the State address, the initiative builds on the volunteer mentoring efforts that assisted businesses in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.
"Our Business Mentor NY initiative aims to help small businesses turn a good idea into a sustainable business so that they can create new economic opportunities in communities across the state," Cuomo said. "Business Mentor NY helps small business owners identify and overcome challenges so that they can continue to grow and strengthen local economies. When fully operational, it will function as one of the largest integrated networks in the country that will meet the needs of all businesses across New York state. I applaud our volunteer mentors who are dedicating their time to help their fellow New Yorkers."
The free mentoring program, funded in part through the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development and administered by Empire State Development, connects volunteers working in the private sector to small businesses and minority and women owned businesses to help them address specific challenges and obstacles to success. The one-on-one guidance and counsel will complement the state's current network of financial and technical assistance providers that help owners and communities realize their full economic potential.
"Business Mentor NY is quickly proving to be a tool of success for small businesses across New York state," said Kenneth Adams, Empire State Development president, CEO and commissioner. "Through this innovative, interactive program, we are harnessing the skills-based volunteerism movement and the very best of New York's skilled business professionals to give a boost to our entrepreneurs who are facing obstacles and challenges to business growth. While Business Mentor NY is already actively matching mentors to businesses today, the program is also looking toward the future as we work to expand the network to businesses across the state."
The mentoring network includes lawyers, accountants, business consultants, entrepreneurs and experts in the field of finance, retail, communications and information technology, human resources and staffing, public relations, and sales and marketing who are volunteering their time to help businesses with everything from reviewing insurance policies to managing cash flow. The program is being conducted in partnership with MicroMentor, an initiative of Mercy Corps, to leverage its track record of success nationwide, which has found that businesses that participate in formal mentoring programs, such as Business Mentor NY, are more likely to increase their annual revenue, create jobs and launch successful businesses compared to business that do not participate in mentoring programs.
As part of the second stage of the program, in the spring of 2014, New York state will launch the Business Mentor NY website, allowing small businesses to register for the program online, review mentor profiles and engage with mentors directly. Program administrators will also be available to assist small businesses identify suitable mentors and ensure program quality. In the final stage, Business Mentor NY will be available to small businesses throughout New York state.
The Business Mentor NY initiative is just one of several initiatives that the state has initiated to support entrepreneurs and jump-start local economic activity. Other efforts that aim to create a supportive environment for businesses to thrive include a manufacturer's tax credit, the lowering of the corporate tax rate and the START-UP NY Global Immigrant Business Support Program, an initiative that will provide outreach, export assistance, and mentoring services to first-generation American small business owners.
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