Home Business SCI adding mentees to acclaimed VMS Program

SCI adding mentees to acclaimed VMS Program

Ashlee Mosley Brown of Native Cafe’s Leadership Team poses with Steve Nissim, Chief Story Teller at SCI, at Native Cafe’s Grand Re-Opening after an expansive remodel.

Studer Community Institute is looking for entrepreneurs who want to join their highly impactful Venture Mentoring Service (VMS).


VMS is a free program that pairs selected entrepreneurs with a team of mentors for ongoing guidance and advice.

Those interested in applying must attend (in-person or virtually) the VMS info session on May 1st from 9:00am-10:00am at the SCI Building (220 W. Garden St.) Community Room. The registration form can be found here: https://bit.ly/4aifCam

The VMS team mentoring concept was created at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and is used by 129 communities worldwide. Since SCI brought it to Pensacola in 2020, they have helped 48 local companies (27 are currently in the program).

What makes the program so special are the volunteer mentors (currently 44) who give their time to help others succeed. SCI’s stable of mentors are highly accomplished people in the community from a wide variety of professions.

“The SCI program has been life changing,” said Geo Zelaya, owner of the popular Tacos El Fluffy restaurant, who joined VMS in 2023, “The fact that people spend countless hours and make sacrifices to pour to another soul, to see them succeed and be as great as they are. It is just unbelievable.”

“A lot of the challenges that were real challenges for us, we presented them to our mentors, and they quickly gave us step one, step two, step three,” said Abraham Sculley, Founder and CEO of Speaks 2 Inspire, a mental health consulting agency, “It just goes to show how experience, expertise, and mentorship is critical for growth as a small business owner. We’re super excited to be a part of the program.”

There are many VMS success stories of entrepreneurs who have been able to thrive, expand, and prosper thanks to being part of the program. You can watch videos documenting the VMS journey of Native Café (https://bit.ly/4baufwg) and InHer Physique (https://bit.ly/49W9nHU).

SCI opens up VMS to new applications three times a year. The May 1st Info Session (https://bit.ly/4aifCam) presents the 2nd opportunity in 2024.

For additional info and resources, including video and photos, please contact SCI Chief Storyteller Steve Nissim (snissim@studeri.org).

The Studer Community Institute is a non-profit 501c(3) organization in the Pensacola, Florida area whose mission is improving the quality of life for all people in the diverse communities we serve. Learn more at www.studeri.org