Building the Future Businesses of Montgomery County

Montgomery County business mentors help young entrepreneurs bring successful new ventures to our region.

Aspiring Entrepreneurs Find Business Guidance At Launch Montgomery

WorkSource Montgomery (WSM), the workforce development resource for Montgomery County, MD, announced its newest initiative, Launch Montgomery—with funding for 100 young adults to participate at no cost in this mentorship and experiential learning program.

“We are thrilled to launch innovation through our entrepreneurial program, convening creative concepts with strong mentorship and best practices leading to the development of new businesses and contributions to our economy." –Ellie Giles, CEO of WSM

Open to 18 to 25-year-old residents of Montgomery County, Launch Montgomery utilizes the Quest Forward Learning platform, a digital tool based on the latest learning science, designed to develop skills rather than teach information. Through a specially developed app, entrepreneurs will research, create, collaborate and design components of their future business with the support of their peers and the guidance of their mentor. Participants will complete the program independently online, in-person with their mentor and peers, and amongst the local business community. 

The conception originated from Launch Academy, a youth entrepreneurship program founded by Shahab Kaviani, a serial entrepreneur who previously founded CoFoundersLab, as an idea to address the local county’s 22 percent rate of non-graduated or non-college pursuing students.

“Students are speaking with potential customers and has a working product. Who knows if they would have blazed the entrepreneurship trail had they not been shown the building blocks and invested in developing the skills that are crucial to building a new business.” –Shahab Kaviani, Founder of LaunchAcademy

Launch Montgomery is an entrepreneurship program committed to teaching highly specialized skills and transform its participants into the next wave of leaders—ready to tackle problems with innovative, socially driven solutions.

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WorkSource Montgomery Partners with County Employers And Workers

WorkSource Montgomery, Inc. was established with the goal to promote job training and career services for County workers, as well as meet the workforce needs of County employers. In partnership with Montgomery County’s business leaders, they help serve local industries of the region.

As part of a state-wide system of employment centers, WorkSource Montgomery provides an array of services to entrepreneurs and job seekers—including workshops, assessments, career counseling, job training and placement support. Some of the groups they offer specific training and guidance to include:

  • Youth
  • Veterans
  • 50+ Workers
  • Long-Term Unemployed

The Summer R.I.S.E. (Real Interesting Summer Experience) program is a unique opportunity for Montgomery County youth to explore potential careers, and for local businesses to develop a future talent pipeline. The initiative is led by WorkSource Montgomery and Montgomery County Public Schools—and is supported by County, State, and non-profit partners. Mentors bring rising high school students into their workplaces to provide hands‐on, real-world career experiences.

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The Maryland Tech Council Venture Mentoring Services Helps Tech Start-Ups

By matching experts from the business community with carefully selected entrepreneurs, the Maryland Tech Council Venture Mentoring Services (MTC VMS) brings employment opportunities and capital to the technology and life science fields by helping new companies grow.

MTC VMS is based on a team-mentoring approach, and modeled after the highly successful MIT mentoring program, which has been implemented in more than 60 communities around the globe. Mentors and entrepreneurs (mentees) participate by invitation, and there is never a fee.

Mentors are carefully selected based on their professional experience, and come from many different backgrounds—including founders, CEOs, chief technical officers, and executives. The program is focused on companies that are preparing to raise their first or second round of venture capital or institutional financing.

Entrepreneurs whose applications are accepted will have the opportunity to present to potential mentors at a monthly VMS meeting, after which the VMS will facilitate the matches.

Our team will provide the start-up with:

  • Matching to an appropriate team of mentors
  • Guidelines to support the relationship 
  • Assistance in the ongoing management of meetings

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SCORE Offers Help To Those Who Wish To Start A Business

The Washington, D.C. Chapter of the Service Corp of Retired Executives (SCORE) has significant experience in the ownership, operation and management of both small and large businesses. More than sixty members, both retired and working, have a background in a variety of industries.

They offer free counseling and mentoring to those who wish to start or build existing businesses in both Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties in Maryland. They also operate a main office in Washington, D.C. and 12 branch offices in the Maryland and Northern Virginia suburbs.

SCORE offers workshops and team visits to conduct business reviews. SCORE teams provide counseling designed to assist your business with:

  • Increasing the value of your business by growing sales, earnings, and cash flow
  • Identifying and solving operating problems
  • Recognizing and capitalizing on new business opportunities
  • Making needed operational changes and adding new systems
  • Developing business plans
  • Finding sources and qualifying for needed financing
  • Understanding the Federal procurement process

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TEDCO Provides Businesses With Mentorship Resource

The Maryland Technology Development Corp. (TEDCO) is continuing to make investments in small businesses to help entrepreneurs grow their companies. From their Columbia headquarters, they provide Maryland’s entrepreneurs with solid, practical advice.

The Maryland Entrepreneurs Resource List (MERL) offers far-reaching business and technical expertise that help guide entrepreneurs in areas of business development, marketing, law and regulation. For information, potential members can contact Anne Balduzzi at abalduzzi@tedco.md.

“MERL is a pool of business experts across industry verticals and skill sets who offer pro bono time to meet and advise companies facing unique challenges as startups.” –John Wasilisin, TEDCO President

Entrepreneurs and mentors who are interested in assisting a start-up company often have the following criteria:

  • Raised money from sophisticated investors as a C-level executive
  • Participated in the exit of a company
  • Have two years of start-up experience
  • Have five years of executive experience in an industrial sector
  • Have five years of business experience such as regulatory affairs, product development, manufacturing, business development, or marketing and sales

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