LITTLE ROCK — The Venture Center, Venture Noire, Wright Lindsey Jennings, Arkansas Economic Development Commission, and Arkansas Capital Corp on Wednesday announced the launch of Woman Rise, a new statewide mentorship program bringing Arkansas’s women entrepreneurs the opportunity to develop life-changing relationships and drive professional growth. Woman Rise marks the first partnership between the organizations and brings unprecedented experience, tools, and access to resources.

Mentorship can help women navigate barriers, build confidence, and hone the leadership skills needed to own and operate a business successfully. Today, women are experiencing significant career shifts, and many are starting businesses as a result. Woman Rise’s mentorship program will support these women and women who have long been entrepreneurs but not had access to mentors.

“Arkansas’s women are bursting with an entrepreneurial spirit, drive, and talent, but navigating barriers to starting a business can feel impossible to even the most tenacious entrepreneurs. For women, access to good mentors is a key to overcoming many difficult challenges,” said Mimi San Pedro, Chief Strategy Officer of The Venture Center. “Fortunately, Arkansas has an abundance of successful women across every industry who want to serve as mentors to help remove barriers for the next generation of women. Through Woman Rise, Arkansas’s women entrepreneurs will connect with the champions they need to grow professionally.”

Applications to be a mentor or a mentee for the Woman Rise class of 2022 are open through Oct. 8, 2021. The Woman Rise committee will review applications and choose up to 20 mentors and 20 mentees. A “match” day will follow in December to connect mentors and mentees. Beginning Jan. 5, 2022, matched mentors and mentees will set goals and perform assessments monthly, and meet quarterly with subject matter experts equipped to address a range of business challenges and opportunities.

Mentees will compete for up to $10,000, earning scores based on the quality of engagement and effort throughout the year-long program. In December 2022, mentees will graduate from the program with new skills and networks to keep successfully managing and growing their businesses.

Arkansas residents from any industry are encouraged to apply by Oct. 8, 2021. To learn more about Woman Rise or to apply to be a program participant, please visit www.venture center.co/womanrise.

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