2019 marks the 40th anniversary of Inc. magazine, and instead of throwing ourselves a party, we've chosen to launch a year-long venture we call the Founders Project.

The Founders Project is designed to address a fundamental paradox of 21st-century American business. On the one hand, it has never been easier or cheaper to launch a business than it is today. Thanks to open-source software, social media, and cloud computing, the cost of starting a tech-based company is a fraction of what it was just a few years ago. At the same time, most startups will fail, and the reality is that fewer and fewer U.S. businesses are launching in the first place--a stubborn trend over the past several decades.

At Inc., it has always been our mission to provide entrepreneurs with the knowledge, tools, and inspiration needed to become the company that thrives. With the Founders Project, we are rolling up our sleeves and actually making it happen in real time. Throughout the year, Inc. will pair up 40 entrepreneur mentors with 40 companies that find themselves in transition. Our hero mentors--among them, the likes of  Neil Blumenthal of Warby Parker, Daymond John, and Alli Webb of Drybar--will provide advice, networking assistance, access to capital, marketing expertise, and other valuable assets.

If you are a founder and would like to be considered as a mentee in our Founders Project, here’s how to apply.

The Founders Project will inform everything that Inc. does this year. We will incorporate it into our standing editorial franchises (such as Best Workplaces and How I Did It). We will have Founders Project sessions at our star-studded events. There will be video miniseries featuring mentors helping out their assigned entrepreneurs. And in the magazine and on Inc.com, we will document the impact that our mentors have.

Stay tuned to see our full lineup of mentors, which will include many of the most successful business founders of the past 40 years. With their help, Inc. will ensure that the next 40 years of entrepreneurship will be as prosperous as the last.

Inc. will be at SXSW in Austin for this first time this year with our Founders Project. Request an invitation to the Founders House.

Published on: Jan 17, 2019