The Green Bay Packers organization, in a partnership with local business development leaders, has established the Packers Mentor-Protégé Program to foster business growth, economic development and job creation in Brown County.

The program will match mentor companies from the Green Bay area that can provide technical, managerial, financial or other guidance to protégés seeking to improve their competitive standing. The mentor-protégé relationship will require at least a 12-month commitment.

Initially, protégé companies will be minority- or woman-owned businesses located in Brown County or on the Oneida Nation Reservation. The goal also is to reach veteran-owned and other small businesses with the opportunity to participate as the program develops.

Mentor companies must be established companies with the appropriate resources and the ability to commit to the program and the needs of the protégé. Organizations already committed as mentors include Alliance Construction and Design, Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Schenck Business Solutions, Schreiber Foods, UnitedHealthcare and Wipfli.

The program is administered by AFF Research LLC (AFFR), Anna Steinfest, President/CEO, and overseen by a board of directors that includes John Hartmann, M.D., CEO of Visonex; Tammy Hawkins, Sourcing Manager, ROMO, Inc.; Lorri Kieff, CEO of Bay Area Consultants; David Martin, Business Development, H.J. Martin and Son; and Quasan Shaw, Business Development Planning Specialist, City of Green Bay. Consultants to the program include Jason Wied and Aaron Popkey, Green Bay Packers; and Greg Kuehl, Green Bay/Brown County Professional Football Stadium District.

“We felt this would be a good opportunity to help establish a program that can help companies take the next step in their own business development,” said Jason Wied, Packers vice president of administration/general counsel. “We know many organizations in our area have the expertise to assist in developing the various skills needed by small businesses to grow and become more successful companies.”

AFFR assists their clients in designing and implementing comprehensive supplier diversity. They also provide guidance to entrepreneurs. AFFR has consulted in the field of supplier diversity for 10 years, and has worked on both the Lambeau Field redevelopment project and post-redevelopment projects.

Questions and requests for mentor or protégé applications should be directed to AFFR by telephone at 920-884-5006 or by e-mail aff@affresearch.com. The application deadline for the first group of participants is Jan. 14, 2011, at 5 p.m.