peer driven mentorship
News Briefs

Wells Fargo and Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center Launch Milestone Circles Program

The non-profit Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center and Wells Fargo have announced the third year of the Milestone Circles program. The program is a commitment to serving more women in year three. This brings the peer-driven mentorship program to a total of 4,000 women by the end of next year.

Since the program launched in 2021, Milestone Circles has graduated 1,960 women business owners through a peer-led milestone-setting program. The program is beginning to scale amidst record demand in a challenging funding environment

Nasdaq Milestone Circles

Each 12-week Circles cohort convenes women entrepreneurs from comparable stages or focuses of their companies. It brings participants together biweekly virtually to meet with a group of peers and coach facilitator to share ideas, trade resources, grow their networks and achieve set milestones.

“The changing landscape of access to capital is driving founders to focus on practical, accessible resources in the greatest abundance, with social capital and peers as sounding boards proving to be the most accessible tools that also serve as a critical confidence-builder,” said Nicola Corzine, executive director of the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center. “We’re calling this phenomenon the ‘neighbor effect. People are looking to their right and left for immediate operational support to actualize their biggest dreams. A business owner with a network is more resilient. We believe that this effect is what’s driven our Circles program to a waiting list of 6,000 additional female entrepreneurs. Our work is just starting.”

Peer-driven mentorship

This program is free for entrepreneurs and made possible thanks to the generous support of the Wells Fargo Foundation. Since 2021, the Foundation has invested in over $3.7M towards supporting women entrepreneurs in partnership with the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center.

“Milestone Circles is a key piece of our Connect to MoreSM program. It highlights the importance of mentorship and peer support to help accelerate growth and equality for women-owned small businesses,” said Jenny Flores, Head of Small Business Growth Philanthropy at Wells Fargo. “We have a long history of supporting women entrepreneurs. We are very focused on innovating and partnering with organizations that address key challenges to becoming successful business owners.”

The Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center is also unveiling the Capital Pathways Workbook, a first-of-its-kind resource. It helps entrepreneurs build a personalized capital map focused on their vision and financing needs for their business.

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