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Jennifer Korfiatis | EDD’s mentor program helps entrepreneurs

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If you’re an entrepreneur, you know the benefits and challenges of forging your own path to success. Gone are the days when a boss would guide you along. The decisions to make are yours, and so are the results.

But sometimes the path to success can become harder to navigate. It’s not uncommon for unforeseen challenges and opportunities to arise, and when they do, it’s not always clear where to turn for guidance.

An experienced mentor can sometimes mean the difference between success and failure.

At the North Central Washington Economic Development District, we’ve learned first-hand from current and prospective entrepreneurs that one thing vital to their success is guidance along the way. Not only did the 700 and counting entrepreneurs we’ve heard from request the opportunity for mentorship support, but they want it delivered in an informal way.

And so we’ve built a program designed to do just that. We’ve been quietly assembling a roster of some of the region’s best and brightest business experts who have agreed to guide a current or prospective entrepreneur down the path to success. They have agreed to lend their time and experience to the success of others.

The backgrounds are diverse; from ag experts to retail veterans, we have developed a well-rounded team with deep talent.

When a current or prospective business owner contacts the North Central Washington Economic Development District office and requests the support of a mentor, we identify what type of guidance is needed, and how they prefer to communicate — email, phone and personal meetings are all options.

From there, we go to work and scan our roster of mentors for a match. Once a potential match is identified and the mentor has agreed to work with the entrepreneur, we make the connection, get out of the way, and let the mentor and the entrepreneur work together from there.

So far, this program has seen some success, but we’re just getting started. At the North Central Washington Economic Development District we believe that if we can foster connections that will help entrepreneurs realize success, our regional economy benefits.

If you’re located in North Central Washington and have a business question, challenge, or opportunity that you’d like to discuss with a mentor, contact us. Or, if you’re an experienced business owner and you’d like to give back and shepherd an entrepreneur along their path to success, we’d love to hear from you as well.

Jennifer Korfiatis is the executive director of the North Central Washington Economic Development District. The office can be reached by calling: (509) 682-6907 or emailing