Startup YMM

Mentorship Opportunity for Local Entrepreneurs

Startup YMM and Northeastern Alberta Aboriginal Business Association (NAABA) have partnered to launch a pilot mentorship program in the region and are currently seeking applications from entrepreneurs interested in being mentored. The pilot program, Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo – Venture Mentoring Services (FMWB-VMS) is based on a proven model developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (better known as MIT) which has over 100 sister programs across the world!

“Starting and growing a business can sometimes feel like a lonely process and is often a journey of calculating risk and learning from mistakes. Mentorship is a highly effective way of providing support to entrepreneurs to help them navigate challenges, build confidence and grow their business,” says Natasha Hartson, Director of Entrepreneurship & Innovation, with Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo Economic Development & Tourism.

One of the most unique aspects of this mentorship program is that it is based on a team mentorship model. This means entrepreneurs in the program will have the opportunity to work with a team of 3-4 mentors. Although there is no cost to the program, there is a time commitment required to prepare and participate in the coaching meetings. Additionally, potential mentees must be committed to continuous learning and open to business coaching.

“We have recruited a highly qualified and diverse group of business experts from the community that can provide guidance and coaching to entrepreneurs that are starting up, scaling, or pivoting their business,” says Michelle Toner, Executive Director of NAABA. “Mentors were selected for their experience in areas relevant to the needs of new entrepreneurs.”

Currently, the pilot program is accepting 8-10 mentees and applications are open until May 5th, 2021. The program is aiming to launch in early June. For anyone interested in learning more about the FMWB-VMS program, qualification criteria, and the application process please visit