Request for Qualifications: Up Start Entrepreneur Advisor

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CenterState CEO’s Economic Inclusion team is looking for a highly organized, motivated, and task-oriented individual to contract with Up Start in order to assist in the delivery of our Up Start program for new and aspiring entrepreneurs.

 The Entrepreneur Advisor (“Advisor”) will be responsible for providing businesses counseling and case management services to Up Start clients so as to help business owners start, sustain and strategically grow their businesses. The Advisor works together with the staff to meet annual objectives and fulfill organizational objectives of serving entrepreneurs and creating new businesses. Within their role the Advisor may assist with business plan development and research, coordinate business services, consultations with industry experts, and assist an accessing other resources as needed. Scope of work will include providing assistance navigating technology tools, collecting and recording data, and periodic engagement with clients and community members at events.


Up Start

The Up Start business development program helps small businesses and entrepreneurs in Syracuse grow and thrive, working towards a greater community prosperity for all.  The program consists of three pillars:

  • Training: For those thinking about starting a business, or just getting started we offer the Start It! program that walks entrepreneurs through what they need to know about starting a business. Contracted instructors will help entrepreneurs to assemble the building blocks of their business plan(s), which becomes their road map – a living document that continues to change as the business grows. After meeting the criteria to graduate from Start It! and with a basic business plan in hand, graduates move into the next phase of the business’s growth and can apply for Up Start’s technical assistance services.
  • Technical Assistance: Technical assistance is available to Start It! graduates and existing businesses striving to build and grow their enterprise in Syracuse. This technical assistance includes strategic project planning, access to business services such as accounting, branding, and legal services, and also includes assistance with lending and real estate. When providing technical assistance and business services, we prioritize business owners that seek to open businesses in target neighborhoods in the city of Syracuse and who have encountered- past or present- barriers to doing so.
  • Access to Capital: Program participants may also be eligible for assistance in finding and securing capital to help implement their business plan.  Through partnerships with local lenders, as well as through Up Start’s own investment vehicles, we can provide access to capital for entrepreneurs who may not have had such options in the past.


Small Business Advisement Services

The Advisor will provide a comprehensive range of small business-based assistance including one-on-one client counseling in the area of business plan development; financial analysis; maintaining record keeping systems; and overseeing work with contracted technical assistance providers and business services. The Advisor will maintain a client counseling caseload as referred or assigned, develop project plans for clients to achieve small business goals and track progress toward those goals. The Advisor must understand small business needs within the community and work with Director to develop programmatic and partner based solutions to help entrepreneurs start, sustain and grow their businesses.  


Community Outreach and Collaboration

The Advisor will initiate and maintain contact with the business community as well as other related public and private entities to promote program services and enhance outreach services. This is a critical component of working with stakeholders to align resources for small business clients.  Toward this end, the Advisor will also engage with the staff of CenterState CEO’s Member Engagement and Community Engagement and Empowerment teams.   


Roles and Responsibilities

  • Apply operational procedures and support the mission of Up Start and CenterState CEO
  • Develop and track metrics to evaluate client caseload and services;
  • Manage digital and hard copy case files, forms, and other documents
  • Provide clear communications regarding such files between team members, partners, and clients


Successful candidates will demonstrate:

  • Commitment to the mission of CenterState CEO and the values of the Economic Inclusion portfolio
  • A “team-oriented” approach, in which s/he is motivated by the success of the organization and the accomplishments of her/his colleagues
  • Experience in at least one of the following fields:
    • Small business management
    • Small business planning/services
    • Case management
    • Strong organizational and communication skills
    • Ability to utilize communications and organizational tools (e.g. collaboration software, Google Docs, project tracking documents, etc.)
    • Experience working within socioeconomically diverse communities, resulting in a strong sense of cultural competency
    • Ability to perform to a high standard while working independently and to communicate effectively and efficiently
    • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to navigate ambiguity and different work and cultural styles with agility


Individuals interested in this opportunity are encouraged to send a resume and cover letter to Andrew Obernesser, Director of Community Investment, at

Post Date

Sep 9th 2019