Upper Shore Regional Council launches business mentoring program

CHESTERTOWN — The Upper Shore Regional Council is looking for experienced business professionals interested in mentoring new and established small businesses in Kent, Queen Anne’s and Cecil counties.

The newly announced USRC business mentoring program is a community-driven initiative designed to guide local business owners through critical decision-making processes, assist them in recognizing and seizing opportunities and offer strategies to navigate challenges, according to a news release.

In a written statement, USRC Executive Director Susan O’Neill said: “In partnership with each county’s office of economic development, we saw a need to provide a mentorship program at the grassroots level. This program will focus on connecting local business mentors with new and existing community businesses and help them achieve their goals and reach new heights. Our longterm goals for this program are to help Cecil, Kent, and Queen Anne’s Counties become robust places to live, help to create more job opportunities for everyone in the community, achieve workplace and business goals, and enhance the overall quality of life in each county.”

Zane Carter of Worton, an organizer of the USRC business mentoring program, has been mentoring current and prospective small business owners for more than 15 years. He said the work that he’s done with local entrepreneurs has been the most rewarding of the many volunteer activities he has been engaged in.

“We’re pleased to be working with USRC and county business development folks who ensure that local businesses are our central focus. Our business mentors all live here in the Upper Shore region, so we recognize our unique business climate and are familiar with the requirements of state and local governments,” Carter said in the news release. “We not only offer experience-backed business guidance but frequently serve as an objective sounding board for our clients when they’re trying to figure out the best way forward.”

Eligibility for this volunteer role requires business professionals to be based in the tri-county area, and to have a flexible schedule to accommodate their mentorship commitments.

Mentors begin by collaborating with mentees to develop a realistic and practical business plan for achieving objectives. The plan outlines  priorities and establishes a timeline for tracking progress, serving as a comprehensive guide for managing operations, finances and marketing strategies.

The mentor’s role extends beyond merely helping to launch a business; they also offer continual support throughout the business’ growth.

All mentoring services provided are free of charge and confidential.

To support the growth of the business mentoring program, the USRC is seeking mentors from every industry to advise and guide aspiring entrepreneurs and established small businesses in the Upper Shore.

To find out more, and to apply as a mentor, see https://usrcmd.org/businessmentors/.

Since 2003, the Upper Shore Regional Council has fostered planning and development in Kent, Queen Anne’s and Cecil counties.

Kent County Commissioner Ron Fithian is chair of the USRC Executive Board and Kent County Commissioner Albert Nickerson is 3rd vice chair.

The USRC affords federal, state, county and local governments a regional forum to identify issues and opportunities. To learn more, visit its website, https://usrcmd.org/.

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