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Mentoring the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

Karen Mills, Administrator of the Small Business Administration, announces a request for information about mentoring programs that are helping high-growth small businesses.

Over the years, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has played an important role in helping the two kinds of small businesses: Main Street small businesses as well as small firms that are poised to become the next great American companies.  In regards to the second kind, the SBA has played a role in the early stages of companies like Intel, FedEx, and Staples.

What we’ve learned, though, is that the entrepreneurs who are building these high-growth small firms sometimes need specialized help.  That’s why,earlier this week, we published what’s called a Request for Information to find out more about the mentoring and education programs that are working at colleges, universities, nonprofits, and businesses around the country. 

Perhaps the most important thing about these high-growth small companies is that they create the lion’s share of net new jobs each year in America.  Often, the reason is because their customers aren’t just in the local area, but they could be anywhere – across the country or around the world.

With that huge potential in mind, we want to make sure that they have access to the right tools to succeed.  For example, they might need more specialized entrepreneurial education programs that cover topics like research and development, long-term financing, or exporting.  In addition, they might need to tap into specific networks and mentoring relationships with seasoned entrepreneurs who have been successful.

By responding to our Entrepreneurial Mentoring and Education Request for Information, you’ll help us find out why certain models succeed and why others fail.  We’ll also start to explore the strategies for possibly scaling the most successful models.  Importantly, your input will also help shape the SBA’s and the Administration’s policy discussions on how to empower this community of entrepreneurs.

We already know that small businesses – as a whole – create two out of every three new jobs in America each year.  A key reason that happens is because our country continues to foster the development of entrepreneurs who create small businesses that are poised for growth and economic impact.  Let’s make sure they have the right knowledge, training, and tools to continue building great American companies and creating well-paying American jobs.

Karen Mills is Administrator of the Small Business Administration