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Upstart Ventures

2011 SAWIB WinnerCompany: Upstart Ventures, New York, NY, U.S.A.
Entry Submitted By: Women's Initiative for Self Employment
Company Description: Founded by "serial entrepreneur" Liz Hamburg, Upstart Ventures has been involved in the start up and growth of new businesses for over 15 years and counseled hundreds of entrepreneurs. They are a leader in identifying trends before they become success stories, including their latest venture ApplyWise, an online college admissions counseling company.
Nomination Category: Individual Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Mentor or Coach of the Year

Nomination Title: Liz Hamburg, Founder and President

Describe for the judges the nominated individual's activities and accomplishments that supported women in business during the eligibility period (up to 500 words):

To Liz Hamburg, being a mentor is more than being a teacher or counselor; it is creating a support system, giving encouragement, and building networks that propel a mentee into success. Liz is an exemplary mentor and the best candidate for the Mentor or Coach of the Year award due to her many commitments, the quality relationships she builds with her mentees, and the reach of her mentorship.

Liz first recognized the importance of mentorship as a young, female entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs do not have the benefits of a built-in infrastructure. Impacted by supportive women as she was growing in her career, Liz developed a passion and has made a lifelong commitment to mentoring others.

Liz dedicates both her career and personal life to guiding entrepreneurs. As founder and president of Upstart Ventures, a consulting firm for early stage companies, Liz has counseled hundreds of new business leaders for more than 15 years. Serving on the advisory board at the Brown University Entrepreneurship Program for 13 years, she mentors students, evaluates student business plans and speaks at events. Liz serves as board chair for Women’s Initiative for Self Employment, a nonprofit providing training and funding to high-potential, low- income women starting or growing a business. During the past year, she has raised thousands of dollars in support of women entrepreneurs. Liz also serves on the advisory board for Astia, an organization committed to building women leaders and accelerating the funding and growth of women-led startups.

The feedback Liz received as a mentor taught her what makes a big impact: networking introductions, listening to ideas, and always serving as a support system. Corinthia Peoples is one of the many young business-owners Liz has impacted during the past year. A jewelry designer and graduate of Women’s Initiative, Corinthia recently relocated to New York. “Liz is a wonderful motivator, she inspires people,” says Corinthia, “she will help in any way possible.” Liz has invited Corinthia to many events, provided her with valuable advice, helped her develop instrumental relationships, connected her with a manufacturer and personally promoted her jewelry among friends and colleagues. “She is more than a mentor,” says Corinthia, “she is a friend.”

Though Liz mentors a number of young entrepreneurs personally, she has sought to expand her reach as a mentor through mass media. Liz hosts a radio show, Launchpad, on WOR. With a listener base of more than one million, Liz offers inspiration to listeners and responds to many calls and emails asking for advice every week.

Being a mentor is more than teaching or counseling someone, it is devoting your time and energy to helping someone achieve their dreams. Liz Hamburg is an exemplary mentor not only because she has dedicated her life’s work to fostering entrepreneurship, but also through the quality of relationships and the number of people she influences. Liz’s passion and commitment to mentoring others makes her the best candidate for the Mentor or Coach of the Year award.

List the URLs (web addresses) of any online news stories, press releases, or other documents that you would like the judges to see that support your entry. IMPORTANT: List each URL on a separate line, begin each URL with http://, and enclose each URL in square brackets. For example, []:

Provide a brief biography of the nominated individual (up to 100 words):

Liz Hamburg has extensive experience as an entrepreneur, angel investor, and mentor to entrepreneurs and small businesses. She is the founder and president of Upstart Ventures, where she has consulted and incubated many start-up organizations.

Liz is hosts Launchpad on WOR, a weekly radio segment focusing on entrepreneurs and small business, and blogs about small business for the Huffington Post. She was recognized as New York's 2009 SBA Small Business Journalist of the Year.

Liz serves on a number of boards fostering entrepreneurship, including chairing the New York board of Women's Initiative for Self Employment.