Business Mentor NY
Improving Access to Resources. Driving Statewide Economic Growth.
Business Mentor NY is a statewide mentoring initiative designed to help entrepreneurs across New York State find the critical support they need to start and grow successful businesses.
Find out how MicroMentor partnered with New York’s chief economic development agency, Empire State Development (ESD), to create and launch this powerful initiative—the first statewide mentoring program of its kind in the U.S.
Helping Small Businesses Thrive Statewide
In the program’s first year:
New Yorkers participated
60 out of 62
counties in New York State served
"Helping small business owners overcome obstacles and achieve greater success will in turn strengthen local economies and spur job creation."
Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York
volunteer hours contributed at an estimated value of $120/hour
estimated value of support for small businesses across New York State
Creating a Successful Statewide Mentoring Initiative
New York State already had a number of resources in place to support the small business community—from loan and grant programs, to partner organizations like the Entrepreneur Assistance Program (EAP) and Small Business Development Center (SBDC). However, the state lacked a centralized, statewide solution for streamlining their various resources and helping more people gain access to support.
Empire State Development also recognized the power of one-on-one mentoring in driving small business growth and wanted to add this capability to the state’s existing offerings. Unfortunately, they lacked the staff resources to manually execute a mentoring program on the scale required for statewide success.
The MicroMentor platform provided an ideal solution, as it provided ESD with an online mentoring platform that could reach thousands of citizens statewide—even in typically underserved counties. Meanwhile, it provided one central hub for entrepreneurs to gain access to a wide variety of available resources, helping the state maximize the impact of its existing programs.
- Support Governor Cuomo’s objectives for small business growth, outlined in his State of the State Address
- Consolidate the state’s small business resources into one central platform
- Expand reach to impact more counties and people across the state
- Improve access to critical business resources for underserved counties, women-owned businesses, minorities, and low income households
- Seamlessly incorporate key partners like the SBDC and EAP
- Make it easy for volunteer organizations like Turnaround Management Association to participate and make a difference
- Gain recognition and press for their efforts
- Set an example for other states on how to roll out a statewide mentoring program
Meeting the Unique Needs of New York State
MicroMentor helped ESD build and implement the custom technology and programmatic strategy needed to make Business Mentor NY a success—engaging thousands of entrepreneurs and mentors statewide and driving considerable growth across New York State’s small business community.
Working with ESD staff and key stakeholders across New York State, MicroMentor’s staff and development team identified what technological requirements were needed to leverage the state’s existing, on-the-ground small business resources, while making it even easier for entrepreneurs statewide to gain access to support.
- Design and discover session with key stakeholders to determine what customizations were required
- Custom branded portal that matched statewide branding requirements
- Tailored language for the New York audience
- Facilitated matching to allow staff from the SBDCs and EAPs to assist their clients in finding the right mentor and maximizing their mentoring relationship
- Expanded reporting capabilities to ensure that ESD could meet their state funding requirements
Comprehensive Onboarding Process:
- Custom training curriculum to educate partner organizations on how the platform worked, how it could best serve their clients, and how to facilitate matches through the platform for greater impact
- Co-hosted In-person trainings at SBDCs and EAPs across the state
- Crafting newsletters and other tools required for building relationships and creating ongoing success
- Blog and email templates
- Comprehensive programmatic strategy to ensure the right resources were devoted to the right places
- Mapping out long-term communication strategy
- Mentoring best practices
- Helping to incorporate new volunteer partners into the platform, like Turnaround Management Association
- Looping existing MicroMentor users based in New York State to participate in Business Mentor NY’s new platform
- High-impact launch event to spreading the word about the program to the state’s business community and potential mentors
- Curated panel of successful entrepreneur and mentor pairings to demonstrate the potential impact of the program and the power of small business mentoring
- Event attracted more than 100 business leaders, pro bono officials, entrepreneurs, and other key stakeholders throughout the state
- Garnered attention from local and national newspapers and other media outlets
- Ongoing weekly support to ensure the platform’s continued success
Business Mentor NY Success Story
From Fledging Startup to Profitable Business
Susan BooseOwner, The Olive Branch Soap Company