South to Leverage MIT Mentoring Program

Posted on July 14, 2017
Marketing and Communications

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently trained a team of business leaders, led by Dr. Michael Chambers of the University of South Alabama, in its team-based business mentoring method. The MIT-powered mentoring program was licensed to and will be administered in Mobile by USA. This program will be the first one of its kind licensed in Alabama and one of the few in the Southeast.

Members of the team included Chambers, USA’s assistant vice president for research innovation; Dr. Don Mosley, executive director, Melton Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at USA; Hayley Van Antwerp, executive director of Innovation PortAL; Dr. Todd Greer, chief catalyst at Exchange 202 and Mel Washington, director of the Small Business Development Center.

“MIT’s Venture Mentoring Service program is known worldwide,” said Chambers. “Featuring team-based mentoring, this approach has built more successful entrepreneurs everywhere it has been deployed and we are incredibly excited to bring this extraordinary program to Mobile. We now turn to the important job of selecting and training world-class mentors in this method for our local entrepreneurs.”

The University will facilitate mentoring for qualified entrepreneurs at the Innovation PortAL/Exchange 202, the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce and USA, including the Melton Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Mitchell College of Business and the Small Business Development Center housed on South’s campus. Chambers said recent graduates of the Minority Business Accelerator program will be some of the first beneficiaries of the initiative. All of the mentoring will be powered by the MIT Venture Mentoring Service model.

“This program has several core tenets: team-based mentoring, best practices for mentor recruitment and retention, strict ethics to ensure a safe environment for entrepreneurs, formal processes and procedures, and a decided focus on building entrepreneurs,” Chambers said.

Funding from Mobile’s mayor’s office, city council, county commission and chamber of commerce was provided to send the team to MIT, which has trained more than 70 teams in the last 15 years from more than 20 countries.

The Mobile program is targeted to launch in January 2018.  For more information, contact Chambers or Angela Jordan, coordinator of research development at USA.

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