From newbies to seasoned veterans, each and every entrepreneur can benefit from a mentor.
That’s why the Sprint Accelerator is offering Kansas City-area innovators the opportunity to tap its growing Mentor Network program.
Now welcoming its fourth class, the free program connects entrepreneurs and corporate executives as part of a six-month learning experience that aims to help fledgling firms outgrow their startup roosts. The program is now accepting applications and will welcome ten firms. The deadline to apply is April 22.
“We have some fantastic mentor programs in Kansas City, but many of them are geared toward startups that are further along,” said Ari Kern, Sprint Accelerator community and programs manager. “This is more to fill a gap for early-stage entrepreneurs who are all in on their startup. We want to bring more resources to them.”
To enter the program, Kern said that founders must be pursuing their startup full-time or, at least, have a working prototype, product or service in the market. In about two years, the program has helped 28 area startups via more than 240 hours of mentoring.
Kern said that there are many opportunities that startups and corporate leaders can discover together via the program.
“We have a huge amount of resources in the area with the corporations that we have,” she said. “There’s a wealth of knowledge and expertise with the people here. We’re really trying to build a bridge between these two communities so they can meet, mix and mingle.”
The program kicks off in June. Past participants include Echo Grade, VeriQuik, MADI Apparel, The Lean Lab and many others. Another participant was Jonathan Wagner, founder of Big Bang, a tech firm that created a Software-As-A-Service platform for the Internet of things, mobile devices, and the web.
Wagner said that he’d recommend the program to founders interested in growing their startup with local experts.
“The mentor we were paired with had a tremendous amount of experience in our niche and was very helpful in identifying key features we could add to improve our service,” he said. “Our mentor also had some great insights for us regarding pricing, and terms to include in contracts.”
The 2016 program begins in June. To apply, click here.