The newly formed Summit Venture Mentoring Service (VMS) is modeled on the highly successful methodology developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to mentor high potential startups.

RENO, Nev.(Jan. 8, 2014) – Early in 2014, the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada (EDAWN) in concert with business leaders from Carson City, Reno, Truckee and Lake Tahoe, will rollout Summit Venture Mentoring Service (VMS)–the first regional high performance mentoring program based on the proven success of the MIT Venture Mentoring Service.  Summit VMS is an initiative of EDAWN and the broader business and academic community of Northern Nevada.

The program was formed to support innovation and entrepreneurial activity throughout the region by connecting emerging high potential entrepreneurs with a team of experienced mentors. “This program is a a key component of growing our entrepreneurial ecosystem and creating the jobs of the future,” said Mike Kazmierski, President & CEO of EDAWN, “If our young companies have the resources they need to grow and succeed they will help the entire economy and contribute to a vibrant community.”

“Mentoring has proven to be very powerful in influencing the course and success of startups. This program will pair innovators with experienced professionals who are eager to commit their intellect and heart to help ventures navigate business decisions, stay motivated, connect to clients and investors,” said Jay Johnson, the new executive director of Summit VMS.

Building on the highly successful model of the MIT Venture Mentoring Service, Summit VMS uses a team-based approach to mentoring. Entrepreneurs are paired with a team of 4-5 experienced volunteer mentors who offer a wealth of knowledge, entrepreneurial business experience, and extensive professional networks. “Over the past 14 years, more than 1,200 ventures have gone through MIT’s venture mentoring program,” said Jerome Smith, Co-Director of MIT VMS. “In the process, we’ve really honed in on best practices, learning every venture is unique in its status, needs trajectory, and priorities. We are pleased to be working with organizations like Summit VMS, which bring its own expertise, and can create a customized program suited to the needs of entrepreneurs in Northern Nevada.” Summit VMS will build a network of recognized leaders in technology, innovation, design, finance, marketing, law, and entrepreneurship.

Summit VMS will begin its pilot program in the next 60 days amid Northern Nevada’s rapidly expanding startup community. The program will invite both mentors and ventures to participate after an extensive review process and is designed to grow organically-expanding and enhancing mentoring services to meet the needs of the community.