Entrepreneur-in-residence programs started as a way for venture capitalists to work with skilled professionals to get more information about an industry or help the businesses that are part of their portfolios. Designed to be only six months or a year in duration, entrepreneurs-in-residence see the opportunity as a great way to learn and grow themselves, as well as network with some of the best minds in business today.

As these programs have involved, they've been embraced by corporations, government organizations, universities, and incubators as a great way to work alongside innovative leaders in businesses across all industries. Here are a few programs that have emerged as some of the best opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Cisco

This six-month program from one of the world's top technology companies promises access to its engineering, product, and go-to-market teams. These teams will consult with participating entrepreneurs to help them reach their technology goals. During the six-month period, entrepreneurs receive financial support to cover costs associated with participating in the program. They also have access to Cisco's partners to help them grow their own customer bases.

BCG DV Torque

Global consulting firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has formed a startup studio called DV Torque, which serves as an exclusive workshop for entrepreneurs. Twice each year, a new group of entrepreneurs will be chosen to participate in BCG DV Torque's program in Silicon Valley. During their tenure with the studio, entrepreneurs will work directly with BCG consultants and some of the best minds in Silicon Valley. In addition, BCG DV Torque will provide seed capital funds to participating entrepreneurs in exchange for equity.

Google for Entrepreneurs CODE2040

Google for Entrepreneurs gears this program specifically toward Black, Latino, and Latina entrepreneurs to help them nurture and grow their small businesses. The program is designed to help these business leaders encourage more diverse entrepreneurship within their own communities. Best of all, Google has partnered with technology hubs in different areas of the country to avoid limiting it to one geographic area. Hubs are available in San Francisco, Austin, Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis, and Nashville.

HHS Idea Lab

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) plans to use an entrepreneur-in-residence program to address some of the tough challenges the department faces. Entrepreneurs serve a 13-month term, during which time they work on high-risk, high-reward projects in health, healthcare, and the delivery of human services. Participants often use technology to gather information and put that information to use in improving healthcare in the United States.

San Francisco Startup in Residence

As the home of Silicon Valley, San Francisco's government realizes the value that comes from investing in entrepreneurs. Renamed Startup in Residence (STIR) from its original entrepreneur-in-residence title, this program teams up innovative entrepreneurs up and city departments facing important challenges. Working together, they attempt to gain a better understanding of the customers city government serves. Similar programs are emerging in local governments across the country.

Target

Through a partnership with startup accelerator TechStars, Target now offers a retail-focused accelerator program of its own. The accelerator will be located in Minneapolis and its first entrepreneur-in-residence is West Stringfellow, who is being credited as the founder of the startup program. The startups participating in the program will be given access to TechStars' strong mentorship program that has locations across the country. Target's team hopes to learn from participants in the program and incorporate the information into its own day-to-day operations. The goal is to help small businesses while also encouraging the company's team members to think more like startup founders.

For entrepreneurs, each of these programs brings a unique opportunity to work with business leaders and build their own businesses. Not only will they get access to venture capitalists and other innovators in their respective industries, the education they get as part of these programs will help them throughout their careers. With so many entrepreneur-in-residence opportunities now available, many business leaders can find programs in their own local communities.