What happens when you connect twenty motivated, entrepreneurial students with twenty Greensboro business owners and community leaders? A new program launching this fall aims to find out.
September 10th marked the kickoff of the 2012-2013 Growing Entrepreneurs by Mentoring Students (GEMS) program. Nearly 50 guests including students, mentors, sponsors, and representatives from Greensboro-area colleges joined the North Carolina Entrepreneurship Center (NCEC) for an evening of networking and dinner at the O. Henry Hotel.
The GEMS program matches the most entrepreneurial students of the Greensboro-area colleges with local entrepreneurs who agree to help them through mentoring and connections in the greater Greensboro community. Last spring, upperclassmen and graduate students from Elon University, Greensboro College, NC A&T, and UNCG all competed for the opportunity to participate in the rich new NCEC offering.
The elite set of selected students came from fields ranging from sports science to religion and business and communication. Based on personal interests and goals, each was matched with a mentor from a group including presidents, owners, and founders of area businesses. The businesses represented architecture, entertainment, health and wellness, community advocacy, and more.
Bryan Toney, Director of the NCEC, created the program based on one he initiated at Appalachian State. From his past experience, he predicts,“lives will change as a result of this effort. GEMS one-on-one mentoring and networking will accelerate young people down the path to becoming successful entrepreneurs.”
GEMS thrives on the generous support of the Greensboro Partnership Entrepreneurship Initiative, Quaintance-Weaver Hotels and Restaurants, and others. The NCEC is excited about the enthusiasm that the business community has shown for GEMS. Said Toney, “Everyone is eager to support the next generation of entrepreneurs who will create new companies and jobs in Greensboro in the years to come. Stay tuned. We expect some real magic from unleashing the creative talent and energy of our campuses and getting students better plugged in with the business community.”