Pairing Students with Successful Entrepreneurs is Goal of WCE Investor Mentor Program
Imagine that you are an entrepreneurship student, and Steve Jobs decided to help pay for your education and at the same time guided you through the formation of your business idea.
This is the basis of what the Investor Mentor Program in the Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Houston C. T. Bauer College of Business, strives to achieve — a mentor for every entrepreneurship major.
The program recently held an event to honor the mentors who have given their time and resources to students and to introduce this year’s group of students to their mentors. Some of the city’s foremost entrepreneurs and business leaders attended, both as returning and first-time mentors.
“The mentoring program is all about who’s got your back,” said David Cook, director of mentoring programs, who lead the event.
Since its inception more than a decade ago, the Wolff Center has worked to pair students with experienced entrepreneurs. Some of the first mentors for the program include Star Furniture chairman Melvyn Wolff (’53), now namesake of the center, as well as founding professors Bill Sherrill and Keith Cox.
As the entrepreneurship program at UH Bauer grows, the college plans to expand the mentorship program to match each student with an “Investor Mentor,” Cook said, committing $5,000 a year for three years to provide students with financial support to complete their education. The pairings also allow students to meet with their mentors regularly to develop their business plans, develop a “Personal Purpose Program,” and have a real world perspective.
“During the Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship experience, our students are asked to take a look inside themselves,” Cook said. “Our hope is that along with their mentor, they are able to share their dreams and their goals for their future and through that, better understand themselves and their business plan.”
The recent event allowed the Wolff Center to recognize longtime contributors with the Excellence in Mentoring award. Honorees included Logan Brown, Ron Farmer, Monte Pendleton and Beth Williams. Each of these mentors had remarkable stories of their lives, but their recognition came for the contributions they’ve made year after year with aspiring entrepreneurs.
“In every endeavor, there are some people who operate at a level of passion and commitment that are truly extraordinary,” Cook said as he distributed the plaques of recognition.
“My hope is that people in this program will come out of it with lifelong relationships,” he added. “We want to connect quality people and we want our students to be able to say, ‘My mentor was someone who helped me become better than I thought I could be.’”
For more information about the WCE mentoring program, click here.
By Ryan Tang