As we discussed in our post from last week, the City of New York offers minority and women business owners a number of free learning opportunities. For many MWBEs, the Corporate Alliance Mentorship Program — a joint venture between NYC Small Business Services and allied private sector partners — has proven to be one of the most useful of these. The program offers qualified NYC-certified MWBEs in various industries the opportunity to learn from corporate executives and work with experienced mentors to develop a customized strategy for continued growth. As of 2018, CAP corporate partners include Accenture, BNY Mellon, Capital One, Citi, Colgate-Palmolive, Columbia University, Con Edison, Goldman Sachs, IBM, InterPublic Group (IPG), National Grid and New York University.
How the Corporate Alliance Mentorship Program Works
The Corporate Alliance Mentorship Program is a 32-week program that pairs NYC-certified MWBEs with experienced mentors from the Entrepreneurs Organization, a networking organization whose members are experienced business owners generating at least $1 million in annual revenue. Mentors meet with small groups of mentees from a variety of industries to discuss business management challenges, set goals and create action plans for growth. In some cases, participating MWBEs will also have the opportunity for one-on-one coaching from business executives with specific types of expertise. The focus of the program is on helping emerging MWBEs grow their businesses through private-sector opportunities.
During the program, MWBE participants are divided into small groups of between one and four mentees. The number and composition of the groups are based on a the availability of mentors and other criteria, such as industry, business size, and the specific business challenges of each mentee. Each group is assigned one mentor.
At the start of the program, mentees will meet with their group and the assigned mentor to develop a list of goals, an action plan and action steps. During the ensuing weeks, mentees meet with their group and/or mentor on a regular basis to review progress, identify challenges and revise action plans as necessary. Additionally, all mentees are required to attend at least two seminars, which are developed by CAP partners based on challenges identified during the interview process (see below.) They must also attend one mandatory class on corporate procurement.
How to Qualify for the Corporate Alliance Mentorship Program
The CAP program is open to all eligible NYC-certified MWBEs. However, admission is not guaranteed. Applicants are screened by the SBS and only a select number are invited to participate.
To be eligible to apply for the program, you must:
- Be the owner of a Professional Services, Standard Services or Goods firm
- Have been in operation for a minimum of three years
- Have experienced continual growth over the last two years
- Have annual revenues of between $150,000 and $1 million
- Have at least two employees including yourself (preferred)
- Provide a business plan, business profile, business growth plan or capabilities statement
When enrollment is open, the SBS emails qualified businesses and invites them to apply online. After reviewing the appliations, the SBS will invite a select number of business owners for an in-person interview.
How Participating in the Coporate Alliance Mentorship Program Benefits MWBEs
Participating in the CAP mentorship program prepares minority and women entrepreneurs to position their businesses for growth. Although participation does not guarantee you will procure a contract either with the City or a private sector firm, you will come away with increased access to CAP partners and a better understanding of how the corporate procurement process works. Additionally, you will have received invaluable guidance in developing a plan for strategic growth an gained access to an expanded network of fellow entrepreneurs.
About The Carmoon Group
At the Carmoon Group, we are committed to helping MWBEs grow their businesses and succeed long term. We offer risk management solutions for small and large businesses and a suite of insurance products that can be tailored to their individual needs. We also offer surety bonding and access to capital through our Small Business Capital Growth Fund. To learn more about how we can help you, give us a call now, or reach out online and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.