It’s not easy to get a small business up and running, especially with the economic volatility we’re currently experiencing in the US. But for Wisconsin entrepreneurs, the Packers are here to help.
The Packers initiated their Mentor-Protégé program in 2010, matching up established companies (mentors) with small businesses, especially those run by people of color, women, veterans, and people with disabilities, though the team encourages other regional small businesses to apply. The protégé businesses meet monthly with their mentor businesses throughout the program, and they participate in other events and presentations to learn and grow their businesses.
The program has had a significant impact on Wisconsin entrepreneurs.
“Every business owner faces unique challenges, and the Mentor-Protégé Program provided unique solutions tailored to the struggles I was facing,” said Kim Swisher of Kim Swisher Communications LLC, a 2021 Protégé business, via the Packers’ website. “A year later, I feel I have tools and knowledge that eluded me prior to joining the program.”
“The Mentor-Protégé Program was an amazing experience. It helped us increase the quality of our brand, and triple our monthly revenue,” said Dr. Kwadwo Owusu-Ofori of Satori Food Project Inc., another protégé business from the 2021 program. “It was great working with a team of business owners and academics to take our company to the next level. The huddle meetings were priceless.”
And Lisa Reynolds of Reynolds Packaging, a protégé company in 2020, echoed those sentiments.
“I can’t tell you how grateful I am to have been a part of the Packers Mentor-Protégé Program…the resources I could access through the program and the network of other businesses who were also going through the same rollercoaster that we were provided an incredible support system…it gives us more opportunities that we wouldn’t have otherwise had and resources we wouldn’t have had exposure to,” Reynolds said via the team’s website.
The goal of the program is to foster Wisconsin business growth and economic development, and spur job creation in Wisconsin’s small business community. The program recently expanded to include businesses in the southeastern, southwestern, and central regions in Wisconsin, and the Packers are currently seeking more mentor and protégé businesses to participate in its next cycle. To apply to participate in the program, visit the Packers’ website.