Minority Businesses Offering Mentorship Opportunities

7/31/2013, 12:52 p.m.
On the heels of the successful graduation of more than 20 Georgia Mentor Protégé Connection (MPC) firms in June, the ...

ATLANTA —On the heels of the successful graduation of more than 20 Georgia Mentor Protégé Connection (MPC) firms in June, the prestigious small business capacity building program has begun its first round of interviews for the next class this week.

Small business candidates have until August 9 to submit an application to be mentored by a volunteer expert from the Minority Supplier Development Council. To learn more about the opportunity, applicants should call 404-589-4924, ext. 2113 or visit, www.gmsdc.org.

Every year, more than 50 small business candidates vie for one year of exclusive mentorship with one of Georgia’s leading corporations. The prestigious mentor-protégé program has been around since 2001, but the recent class and the next in progress are inaugural classes under the Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council’s (GMSDC’s) Georgia Education Foundation.

“The 30-minute one-on-ones this week are the first step in small business vetting, where we put a face to a name and really determine if the emerging business has the skill and the commitment to succeed in the program,” said Program Director Veronica Maldonado.

“The next milestone is our Mentor Vetting Day, where small business candidates participate in rapid fire interviewing with our corporate protégés.” The result of this series of “Shark-Tank” -like interviews is that mentors and protégés pick their top choices and are matched for one year of mentorship that begins in September.

With MPC, emerging firms get the chance to build business relationships, explore new technologies, and learn industry best practices from corporate executives committed to the long-term health and sustainability of Georgia small businesses. The one year of mentorship is designed to improve the longevity of small businesses in Georgia and throughout the region, one mentor-protégé match at a time.

“MPC is the perfect opportunity for emerging firms wanting to take their business to the next level and community-minded corporations wishing to impart their business knowledge,” said Maldonado. “Now, under the auspices of the Georgia Education Foundation (GEF), the program will continue to flourish with the sponsorship and support of GEF and GMSDC’s extensive business network.”

Corporate mentors represent a diverse cross section of the Georgia business community, spanning a broad spectrum of industries. Current mentors include Accenture, AT&T, The Coca-Cola Company, Citizens Trust Bank, Delta Air Lines, Georgia Power, Lockheed Aeronautics, PNC Bank, Skanska, SunTrust Bank, UPS and Wells Fargo Bank. MPC corporate sponsors include Lockheed Martin, Georgia Power, The Coca-Cola Company, Delta Air Lines, Inc. and UPS.

As the first state-sponsored mentor-protégé program in the U.S., The MPC has an important place in the Georgia business community. MPC is administered by the Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council (GMSDC) in partnership with the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDED) and the Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute. Learn more about MPC at www.georgiamentorprotegeconnection.org.