Below are some frequently asked questions regarding being a Mentor Connect mentor. If you have further questions, please contact us.
HOW DO I GET STARTED WITH MENTOR CONNECT?
Fill out the online Mentor Questionnaire Form and submit it. Next, you will be asked to complete and sign the Mentor Acknowledgement and Agreement form. You will be contacted to attend a monthly review session to learn about newly enrolled ventures, then sign up to participate in an initial mentoring session. Watch for special requests for help from the office that fit your area of expertise/interest.
WHAT KIND OF MENTORS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
We need mentorship from all sorts of people, from business owners to lawyers and accountants, as well as other professionals who are an important component in helping a business succeed. We’re looking for experienced professionals with the time and desire to give back to the community and pass on their knowledge.
OK, SO I’M A MENTOR CONNECT MENTOR – WHAT’S THAT MEAN?
Our mission is to guide – not to do. As mentors, we listen, we coach, and we advise. You will provide candid and honest appraisals of the entrepreneurs’ ventures, pointing out options and recommending courses of action. But ultimately, it’s up to the entrepreneur (and their teams) to execute. You are not the CEO- this is their business, not yours.
WHAT IS THE MENTORING PROCESS WITH A VENTURE?
Every venture is unique in its status, needs, trajectory and priorities, so there is no single set process; each mentoring process is necessarily custom crafted. There is an ebb and flow to session activity. There may be times with multiple intensive sessions over a short time span to help crystallize strategy and plans. And there will be times when meetings are less frequent as the venture executes those plans.
A critical hurdle for most ventures is proper preparation for fundraising. Often, additional Mentors are invited to take a fresh look and help ensure that the business plan and investor pitch are clear and compelling.
Mentors should be on call to respond with advice in a crisis; available for consultation by phone, e-mail, or in person. Sometimes the entrepreneur just needs someone to vent to after something goes very wrong; or, more happily, someone to share a victory with.
Mentors should take an interest in their entrepreneurs and their success, and get to know their needs, including their personal situations. Strive to develop a personal and trusted relationship, such as exists between a student and a really devoted teacher.
WHAT DO VENTURES EXPECT FROM ME AS PART OF THEIR MENTOR TEAM?
As a mentor, you are expected to provide frank, unbiased and in-depth consultations over an extended period- with zero strings attached. We ask ventures to set up face-to-face meetings on a regular basis with you and the other mentors (phone calls and emails may replace these in-person meetings when ventures are busy in an execution phase). The entrepreneurs are responsible for booking time with you for meetings.
WILL THE VENTURES EXPECT FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTIONS FROM ME?
No. All of the advice, guidance and coaching you give to your ventures as a Mentor Connect mentor are provided free of charge, nor can you ever ask for equity in any company you are paired with. All mentors must agree to abide by a Statement of Guiding Principles and Conflict of Interest Guidelines.
WHAT IS THE TIME COMMITMENT REQUIRED TO BE A MENTOR?
We expect that you will volunteer to mentor one to two ventures and commit to approximately one to two hours of mentoring per month. We also encourage you to attend the monthly venture review session and networking lunch held on the last Thursday of every month.
WHAT DOES A “LEAD MENTOR” DO?
The Lead Mentor acts as the primary interface between the Mentor Connect office and the venture, ensuring that the venture is moving forward and that Mentor Connect staff and other Mentors are aware of any significant developments. This role includes monitoring the venture’s activities and calling upon the resources of the Mentor Connect office as needed to best aid the entrepreneur and the venture.
CAN I GET A DIRECTORY OF ALL THE MENTORS?
We don’t publish a directory, but there is an opt-in Mentor contact database. If you’re looking for someone, communicate with the Mentor Connect office and we’ll connect you.
WHAT IF I HAVE MORE QUESTIONS?
WHAT ARE THE MAJOR RULES I’VE GOT TO KEEP IN MIND?
Every mentor has agreed to abide by a Statement of Guiding Principles and Conflict of Interest Guidelines. While they’re all important, two core principles are vital – confidentiality and conflict of interest. We are entrusted with critical information that we must protect. Mentors must notify the Mentor Connect office of any financial involvement with any venture and remove themselves from their mentor role with respect to that particular venture. If there is any doubt, play it safe and talk to the office staff.