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Tap into the expertise of a business mentor

Connect with startup and business experts who can help you grow.

Mentors share their time, wisdom, and connections to help professionals build successful businesses and avoid common mistakes. They are typically highly-successful business leaders who can provide guidance to entrepreneurs with new and growing businesses on a full range of topics including business planning, access to capital strategy, sales, operations, human resources, and much more.

New business owners routinely state that mentorship and connections are very important. However, entrepreneurs must be open and committed to learning, as well as willing to make the time to meet with their mentor.

On this page, entrepreneurs will find information about three high-quality mentor networks including their specialties and details to help determine which may be the best fit for you. All of these options provide no-cost, confidential mentorship services.

SCORE Traverse City

SCORE is the nation’s largest network of volunteer business mentors. The Traverse City chapter includes more than 45 highly successful and experienced business professionals with knowledge to help entrepreneurs in Northern Michigan achieve their goals. The Traverse City chapter also offers local workshops and resources.

SCORE Traverse City mentorship is best for:

  • Local expertise
  • Owner of any type of small business

Mentor specialties:

  • Northern Michigan business community and resources
  • Business plan development
  • Business growth and management
  • Transition and exit

Get started:

Visit the SCORE website and submit the mentor request form.

Michigan Small Business Development Center

The Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provides confidential, no-cost consulting, training, and market research to both new and growing businesses. They also offer specialized support for advanced technology startups with a team of consultants who have first-hand experience innovating, launching, commercializing, funding, and exiting successful tech startups.

Michigan SBDC mentorship and consulting is best for:

  • Tech startups
  • Small business owners
  • Growth development for new or existing ventures
  • Market research support


  • Technology sector and tech commercialization
  • Business plan development
  • Scaling businesses
  • Export strategy
  • Resources for diverse entrepreneurs
  • Strategic planning
  • Human resources and organizational development
  • Financial management and raising capital
  • Market research including industry reports, consumer demographics and psychographics, traffic counts, competitor and B2B client lists, and search engine optimization reports.

Get started:

Visit the Michigan SBDC website and submit a request for business services.

Center on Rural Innovation

The Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) offers a network of national mentors with a special interest in working with tech entrepreneurs in small towns like Traverse City. Entrepreneurs will be matched with best-in-class mentors based on the specialized industry of their business and/or their specific needs.

CORI mentorship is best for:

  • Tech startups
  • Startups in specialized industries
  • Leadership coaching

Mentor specialties:

  • Tech sector including software, security, robotics, artificial intelligence, automation, drones, agtech, healthtech, fintech, edtech, and space
  • Specialized industries including healthcare, biotech, agriculture, energy, SaaS, manufacturing, finance education, transportation, gaming, and real estate
  • Business operations including sales, business development, digital marketing, branding, operations, and FDA/regulatory
  • Leadership and personal development

Get started:

The CORI mentorship program is by referral only. If you are a 20Fathoms member, please contact us for a referral.

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Questions about business startup resources at 20Fathoms?