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Release: Immediate

UI entrepreneurial program offers mentors to small businesses

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Small business owners who need help solving specialized business problems but who can't afford high-cost consultants have a new source for quality advice: a team of mentors available through the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center at the University of Iowa College of Business Administration.

The Mentor Program, begun this fall, is designed to match small business owners with experienced business people who can provide personalized, one-on-one consulting services.

Mentors include small business owners, entrepreneurs, executives, lawyers, accountants and faculty who, through their years of experience, have faced nearly every situation practicing small business owners are dealing with, says Robin Ballard Simeonsson of the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center.

"Small business owners often don't have the training or the staff to deal most effectively with some of the situations that come up in the course of running their businesses," says Simeonsson. "Sometimes business people need help with a very specific, targeted problem and would like to talk to a seasoned professional who has dealt with a similar problem. Sometimes they need a sounding board for ideas and concerns.

"Whatever the situation, the Mentor Program can give them high quality advice at a low cost on a range of issues."

Based on a program at the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland, the Mentor Program currently has 40 people available to serve as consultants to businesses. The program is one of several programs for small business owners and entrepreneurs operated by the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center.

Before matches are made, mentors and business owners are screened by the Center's staff to help ensure a good fit between the mentor and the company. Mentors and business people make their own arrangements for meeting times, schedules, etc.

The cost for the service is $35 an hour.

For more information, contact the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center, 108 Pappajohn Business Administration Building (PBAB), Suite S160, the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1000; phone: (319-335-0260.