ANN ARBOR – A new Entrepreneurs-in-Residence program will provide one-on-one mentoring services to clients of the Entrepreneurship Center at Washtenaw Community College, a resource hub for the college’s students and anyone in the community interested in pursuing business ownership or growing an established small business.
“Utilizing our connections with successful local business owners and experts to create the Entrepreneurs-in-Residence program brings a deeper level of consulting to our clients when they come to the Entrepreneurship Center for business resources and advice,” said Entrepreneurship Center Director Kristin Gapske. “This furthers our ability to support our students in building their businesses, and ultimately our local economy as our clients go out into the world and their businesses thrive.”
Gapske said the program, funded by a private grant, is a natural progression for the center, which has long been supported by local entrepreneurs willing to assist aspiring business owners by volunteering to participate in various free panel talks, events and workshops.
“The leaders in our entrepreneurial community have been exceptionally generous with their time and expertise by giving others a helping hand,” Gapske said. “Because so many people are willing to volunteer their time and efforts, we’ve accomplished many great things over the last five years. I look forward to watching our clients benefit from the advice and guidance our Entrepreneurs-in-Residence offer in this new program.”
Each Entrepreneur-in-Residence is a current or former local business owner who will mentor clients in their particular area of expertise. (Click names for complete bios.)
Partner, Do:Better brand studio
Milner says: “I really wanted to be a part of the Entrepreneurs-in-Residence program because I believe each of these amazing individuals pursuing their great ideas and big dreams has something important to contribute to this world. If lending my background and experience can help support someone else in their journey and make sure their idea sees the light of day, then our community is stronger for it. In the end, I think that’s what this program will create – a community of entrepreneurs who lift each other up, each in their own unique way.”
Expertise: Business coaching, idea validation, networking
Newman says: “Being an entrepreneur allows a person to make a difference, pursue their passion and put dollars in their pocket. I’ve founded many organizations, learned from my mistakes and understand the process to be successful, so I enjoy mentoring others on the path.”
President and CEO, C.D.R. Consulting, LLC
Expertise: Customer discovery, pre-business plan writing
Roach says: “I know how difficult it can be to start a business; to try to put together all the pieces while working and not having support to help you or direction to help move you forward. I can offer patience, a different way of looking at their idea and passion to help them believe and launch their business.”
Founder, Art Meets Business
Xenakis says: “I’ve worked with artists and other creative entrepreneurs for many years and have seen that they often don’t take themselves seriously as business people. By helping them to increase their confidence, learn new skills like marketing and pricing, and taking advantage of all the resources the Entrepreneurship Center offers, I’ve seen their businesses grow.”
Individual, 50-minute consulting appointments with one of the four Entrepreneurs-in-Residence can be made after the aspiring entrepreneur or current business owner has completed a Business Assistant Request and a one-on-one session with the Entrepreneurship Center at WCC.
Along with the Entrepreneurs-in-Residence program and other free resources, workshops and events, the Entrepreneurship Center offers an open co-working space available for people to work on business ideas, do business research and use shared computer and printing resources.
To learn more about Washtenaw Community College, visit wccnet.edu.
To learn more about the Entrepreneurship Center at WCC, visit ec.wccnet.edu.