Indianapolis prides itself on being a culturally diverse city, rich with business opportunity for all who have a passion for entrepreneurship. In an effort to support the growth of Hispanic-owned businesses in the Indy region, the Indy Chamber’s Hispanic Business Council developed the Mentor-Protégé Program to pair Hispanic entrepreneurs with larger mentor firms.
“We are highly invested in growing and retaining Hispanic businesses in Indianapolis,” says Gustavo Escalante, Hispanic Business Council Manager at the Indy Chamber. “The Mentor-Protégé Program has been very successful, and is a great way to engage the business community in helping our mission.”
A participant of the Mentor-Protégé Program, the 2015 Indiana Small Business Person of the Year Shane Conner of Advanced Technologies in Electrical and Communications, Inc. is quick to acknowledge that his relationship with mentor Ryan Steinert of Messer Construction helped him to be more successful. For Steinert, the mentorship was a natural fit and a great opportunity for him to fulfill Messer Construction’s goal of supporting and giving back to small businesses. For Conner, it was an opportunity to learn from an industry leader. During their mentor relationship, the pair met monthly and took advantage of the Hispanic Business Council’s networking events and educational programs.
Reflecting on his experience, Conner said, “the biggest benefit of the Mentor-Protégé Program is being able to build relationships. Successful people want other people to be successful.”
Designed to develop and grow one to two Hispanic-owned businesses each year for a two-year period, the program aims to motivate and encourage mentors to assist protégés with business development, foster the establishment of long-term business relationships between protégé companies and majority corporations, and enhance the capability of the protégé participants to compete more successfully in the marketplace.
To learn more about the Hispanic Business Council and the Mentor Protégé program, contact Gustavo Escalante at