The first cohort of the Roanoke-Blacksburg Accelerator RAMP program is nearly complete – and business leaders involved in the program say it’s already paying off.

Leaders of six up-and-coming businesses in the Roanoke and Blacksburg region were partnered with mentors and special resources to help them learn and grow during a six month program.

The CEO of Volatia Language Network told WFXR News that he’s grateful for the advice – and he wishes he had sought out more input and feedback when he first launched his business.

“What I would change is really allow myself to be more vulnerable earlier on, instead of thinking I’ve got this, we’ll do just fine. I’m fortunate and thankful that I’ve always, so far, had the ability to rely on mentors and actually really listen and allow myself to be coachable,” said Baraka Kasango. “The ability to actually develop innovations that the clients are not asking for. So we’re providing something new through a very well articulated message that they have given without even knowing that they were giving it.”

RAMP Director Mary Miller said she’s already working on ways to improve and advance courses and partnerships for the next cohort, and that she is proud of the success she is already seeing.

“Entrepneuers are often independent because they’ve gotten to where they are for their own shear guts and their independence, so getting them to a point where they want to be coached is alittle bit of a challenge, because they’ve been somewhat successful on their gut or their own knowledge,” said Miller.

The first cohort of the RAMP program is set to wrap up in December, but Miller said the partnerships and mentoring will continue for years to come.

CLICK HERE for more information about RAMP.