Biz Assembly: Modeling peer-to-peer mentorship

February 19, 2021

Mentorship refers to the guidance provided by a mentor, especially an experienced person in a company or educational institution. There are many different forms of mentorship available depending on the needs of the person, team or business seeking guidance. Peer mentoring is conducted between people who are at similar stages, in which one person has more experience than the other in a particular domain and can provide support as well as knowledge and skills transfer.          

Biz Assembly is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to educating and facilitating business creation and growth. The mission of Biz Assembly (BA) is to grow local economies by working to create a community of entrepreneurs and mentoring them on their entrepreneurial journeys through ideation, venture creation, customer discovery, customer validation and growth.

Many organizations provide information about business, but few provide the focused support and process knowledge provided by Biz Assembly. The ‘Entrepreneur’s Success Guide,’ available to BA participants, provides information on BA and associated practices. The guide illustrates a systematic path to startup launch and success; It is designed as a roadmap of progressive steps, starting with self-assessment of entrepreneurial skills and aptitude through the completion of a business plan and business launch. Related content provides guidance on identifying and selecting mentors, identifying target markets, identifying legal considerations, branding, sales projections and organizing and planning efforts.

Originally founded as Startup Growth Strategies (SGS) in 2010, BA has evolved from its original roots as “founders helping founders” to offer a robust set of education and support materials. In its ten-year existence, the organization has helped hundreds of would-be founders and entrepreneurs navigate their entrepreneurial journey. The organization continues to develop its resources and key principles in support of entrepreneurial mindsets.  As a key contributor in local entrepreneurial ecosystems, the organization has worked diligently to support early-stage startups, provide resources to aspiring business ventures, create networking opportunities to interact with like-minded individuals and foster success by helping to create real working businesses. By its nature, BA is designed to support high impact endeavors and seed opportunities; Local chapters help make Northern Nevada a recognized hub of entrepreneurial activity.

Biz Assembly roundtables provide regularly scheduled events for entrepreneurs to gather and explore innovative ideas and entrepreneurship opportunities. Roundtables facilitate business creation and growth using peer to peer mentoring principles based on presentations, workshops and small group discussions with experienced mentor/facilitators. Roundtables provide support an integrated and systematic path toward successful business launch.

Platinum is a recent derivative of the original organization. The idea behind Platinum is to evaluate the market potential of nascent technologies in partnership with universities, economic development organizations like GOED and EDAWN, and global partners such as the SGH Warsaw School of Economics, the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and Power to Create Wealth in Zambia. Platinum helps to identify the potential of technology transfer ideas by identifying and assessing commercial market opportunities. These global partnerships have the potential to create substantial impact for by creating synergies for economic development through the identification of complementary opportunities, connecting like-minded entrepreneurs and bringing otherwise localized solutions to the global stage.

BA conducts regular roundtable meetings to support entrepreneurs and early-stage start-up ventures. Find out more about Biz Assembly.

Contributed by:
David T. Croasdell, PhD
Charles and Ruth Hopping Professor of Entrepreneurship &
Associate Professor of Information Systems, College of Business at the University of Nevada, Reno
Director of the Sontag Entrepreneurship Competition 2012-2016