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What Is The EMPIRE Mentors Program?
The EMPIRE Mentors Program is a free, voluntary, community-based program that will be piloted in 2015 by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in cooperation with the Center for Economic Growth (CEG). Its goal is to develop a corps of committed, engaged mentors who support high-technology startups in Tech Valley and beyond.
Why Become A Mentor?
The rewards of becoming a mentor are threefold:
Paying It Forward. Some mentors do it simply to pay forward the help they received along their path to business ownership and for the satisfaction of seeing a fledgling business navigate the many hazards of the startup process.
Keeping It Fresh. Others do it because they find that sharing their knowledge keeps their own ideas fresh and their enthusiasm strong. It can be invigorating and stimulating to work with inventors, most of whom have tremendous enthusiasm but lack critical skills and knowledge.
Networking Opportunities. Finally, many mentors report that they enjoy the networking opportunities provided by participating in RPI’s EMPIRE Mentoring Program. There are multiple opportunities throughout the year to meet with other business leaders who are Mentors, both through the Monthly Mentor Meetings and through ongoing work with other mentors in small teams to advise mentees through regular get-togethers.
The EMPIRE Mentors Program (EMP)
EMP is a volunteer program designed encourage experienced business people to share their expertise and support with fledgling business startups in the Tech Valley community. Each volunteer mentor will provide guidance to mentees in one or more critical area of enterprise development, such as:
- Concept and product development
- Prototyping and proof of concept
- Intellectual property protection
- Financial management
- Marketing & sales
- Information technology infrastructure
- Risk management
- Human resources
- Founders’ issues
Mentoring services will be made available to inventors who have demonstrated thoughtful efforts to devise a solution to a meaningful problem and want to get help at any of the following stages of enterprise development:
- Create: Assessing the viability and commercial potential of an innovation.
- Assess: Verifying the feasibility of building a business around the innovation.
- Prepare: Identifying key people and financial resources needed.
- Launch: Finalizing planning and launching the business.
- Manage: Grow the business and optimize performance.
- Prosper: Celebrating and perpetuating the firm’s impact on personal, local, and global ecosystems.
Who Is Behind It?
The EMPIRE Mentor Program is offered free of charge and without any equity or other contractual obligations with the startup company. It is a free, voluntary, community-based program organized by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in cooperation with the Center for Economic Growth (CEG). Its goal is to develop a corps of committed and engaged mentors who provide support for high-technology startups throughout Tech Valley and beyond.
EMP is coordinated and managed through the Rensselaer Emerging Ventures Ecosystem Accelerator Laboratory (REVEAL) under the leadership of Esther Vargas. We see the program as a critical component of the continuum of entrepreneurship support available in the Capital Region, to encourage the application of technological research and knowledge to the marketplace.
Whom Do We Serve?
We will provide assistance to any potential technology entrepreneur who has demonstrated a sincere commitment to vetting and formulating his or her business idea and a willingness to work diligently to shepherd it through the stages of business development.
In 2015 we are piloting the program in the greater Capital Region of Albany, Troy, Schenectady, and Saratoga New York. However, we will be expanding the program far beyond this region in future years. Interested entrepreneurs and mentors from all locations are therefore encouraged to contact us at any time.
Become a Mentor: Join the Pilot Program Today!
Sign up online or contact Esther Vargas, Director, Emerging Ventures Ecosystem, at the phone and email below:
ENPIRE Mentor Program
Esther Vargas, Director, EVE