Cabarrus Center Launches Team-Based Entrepreneur Mentorship Program
10 local ventures and 25 mentors join the pilot of Cabarrus Center VMS, licensed by MIT
After months of planning, training, and recruiting, the Cabarrus Center Venture Mentoring Service (VMS), licensed by MIT, has launched its pilot program with 25 local mentors and 10 new ventures and existing small businesses.
The Cabarrus Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, located in historic downtown Concord, has been the hub of entrepreneurial development since it opened in March of 2021. However, key stakeholders in the Center quickly recognized a gap in services – mentorship.
“Local entrepreneurs were soaking up the workshops, trainings, courses, and grant programs,” said Peter Marsh, Flywheel Co-Founder and a partner at the Cabarrus Center. “However, after the end of a program, they would ask the question of ‘Now what?’ A structured mentorship program was the answer.”
Flywheel, the Cabarrus Chamber, Cabarrus Economic Development and the Small Business Center began collaborating and established a steering committee intended to find a solution that would provide ongoing support. MIT’s VMS program was quickly identified as the gold standard because of its strong operations, ethics and team mentoring approach.
Thanks to funding from Cabarrus County and a Wells Fargo Foundation grant, Flywheel Foundation was able to secure the license to use the MIT VMS model and immersive trainings by the MIT VMS outreach staff to ensure its success.
Following training, the VMS steering committee recruited the highest quality mentors across all industries in the Cabarrus County region. Those 25 mentors completed 6 hours of mentor training conducted by MIT.
Terrell Turner, co-founder of TLTurner Group, felt compelled to join Cabarrus Center VMS as a mentor after hearing of its mission. “After creating a podcast that has interviewed over 400 entrepreneurs, I noticed a common trend. We are surrounded by potentially successful entrepreneurs that could have a better chance at realizing their success if they had access to the right mix of insight, relationships, and resources.”
The program is in pilot mode and is serving 10 early and growth stage companies ranging from retail products, to restaurants and even vertical farming. These entrepreneurs will meet with their teams of three mentors on a monthly basis with the goal of helping them overcome barriers and achieve both their short and long term goals.
“Starting a small business can be hard. You have no one to really point you in the right direction. I now have a group of hand picked mentors looking over every single line in my business plan and helping me become better. It is truly amazing!” said Juan Irby, owner of local cookie company, Mason’s Mixer.
Once Cabarrus Center VMS exits pilot mode in late summer, it will seek to expand its impact and onboard more companies and mentors.
To learn more about the Cabarrus Center VMS program, visit www.cabarruscenter.com/vms.
About the Cabarrus Center:
Located in the heart of downtown Concord, the Cabarrus Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation offers professional workspace, meeting rooms, event space, educational workshops, networking events, business resources, mentorship services, and a host of amenities to support entrepreneurs who are launching or growing their businesses.