Case Study:
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


connections made

60 out of 62

counties in New York State served

Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York

"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


$1.44 million

estimated value of support for small businesses across New York State


MicroMentor's cost per small business connection



Average cost of supporting a small business

*Source: MicroTracker, “EntrepreneurTracker
Client Outcomes Survey Highlights – 2013,” Issue 8, May 2015
Read More

Program Overview

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.

Program Goals:

  • 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

Program Features

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.

Custom-Branded Portal:

  • 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:

  • Webinars
  • 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

Marketing Materials:

  • Crafting newsletters and other tools required for building relationships and creating ongoing success
  • Blog and email templates

Strategic Guidance

  • Comprehensive programmatic strategy to ensure the right resources were devoted to the right places
  • Mapping out long-term communication strategy
  • Mentoring best practices

Mentor Recruitment

  • 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

Launch Event

  • 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
"The MicroMentor team helped us think critically, at every step, about what we needed to make a mentoring initiative take hold and be successful. From its initial pilot phase to its availability statewide, MicroMentor has continued to act as our partner in making Business Mentor NY a success."
Steve Cohen
Deputy Commissioner
Empire State Development

Post-Launch Support

  • Ongoing weekly support to ensure the platform’s continued success

Business Mentor NY Success Story

From Fledging Startup to Profitable Business

Susan Boose

Owner, The Olive Branch Soap Company

Jacob Smith

Management, Growth, and Development Executive
Based in the Bronx, Susan was encouraged to join Business Mentor NY by her local EAP center. Operating as The Olive Branch Soap Company, Susan had developed a line of organic soaps and skincare products, but she needed help developing a concrete marketing plan. Through the platform, she was matched with Jacob Smith, a seasoned executive with 15+ years of experience in management, growth and development.
jacob-smith Jacob helped Susan build an effective marketing strategy and through his connections, helped her start a conversation with the procurement department at the Bellagio Hotel chain. After trying out Susan’s soaps, the Bellagio Hotel decided to become an ongoing customer—propelling her sales and business forward.


"Selecting MicroMentor as a partner was a great decision, as they not only provided technical expertise—they also provided the programmatic support that we needed to make the program a success. I can't imagine another service provider who would have the depth of knowledge of what the small business community needs. They've been a great mentor to us and a fantastic sounding board."

Ben Howard-Cooper

Project Associate, Empire State Development
"The web-based portal that MicroMentor designed for Business Mentor NY helped streamline our partnership with Empire State Development, making it easier for our members to connect with struggling entrepreneurs and make a meaningful impact."

Jeffrey Gaynor

Director/Chair Pro Bono, Turnaround Management Association, New York Chapter
"Business Mentor NY is a fantastic new service for the small business community and we are excited to be a part of it. The SBDC is dedicated to helping small businesses thrive, and providing access and guidance to this program allows us to bring a high level of support to business owners."

Brian Goldstein

Director of Operations, Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
"ESD had a limited team of four people working on this effort, but because of MicroMentor's technology, we didn't have to devote any of our staff resources into manually facilitating mentoring. Our team has been able to spend 100% of their time on outreach and helping mentors and entrepreneurs make the most of the system."

Rachael Dubin

Director of Community Economic, Development Programs, Empire State Development

Contact Us

Contact MicroMentor's Sales and Partnerships Manager
Contact Us