The Mentor Capital Network (MCN) supports entrepreneurs starting or growing for-profit companies that create positive social, environmental, and/or cultural value in a way that makes their business stronger. Our ideal entrepreneurs will not only add value through their own companies, but will inspire others to follow their lead.
The MCN works on both a cohort and a case-by-case basis. Our next full cohort will be in the fall of 2019. Until that time, we may accept one or two companies a month if we feel there is a particularly good fit with our community. To apply for our program, submit a summary of your idea to us via this form.
Since 2004, the MCN has engaged 1,144 volunteer mentors who have donated more than $8 million worth of their time (our “Mentor Capital”) to 979 social enterprises. These companies have gone on to raise or earn a combined sum of more than $1 billion. More importantly, they have created thousands of jobs and provided essential goods and services to local and global communities that have positively impacted millions of people
Who We Help
- To qualify for the MCN, you must be starting or growing a for-profit company that has a social, environmental, and/or cultural mission built into how you make money.
- The MCN will accept Benefit Corporations, for-profit/non-profit hybrid organizations, and for-profits that are owned by non-profits.
- If you are looking for feedback on a grant proposal, you should apply for support from our friends at The Unfunded List.
Other guidelines for Mentor Capital Network applicants
- You must be interested in building ongoing mentor relationship(s).
- You can be of any age or educational level, working from any country. Someone on your team must be able to communicate with our staff about logistical issues in English. You can submit your full business plan in English, Spanish, or French.
- While we work with companies at any stage, we are best able to support companies who are at stages 1-6 of the Village Capital VIRAL Framework.
- The MCN supports companies that both are and are not seeking external debt or equity funding.
- The MCN provides support that takes up a minimal amount of your time to allow you to focus on building your company. If you are able to step away from your company for a week or more, we recommend you also check out these other social impact focused programs. (Many of our alumni worked with the MCN at the same time as they participated in one of the more intensive programs.) You should also check out the Accelerator Selection Tool for more options.
What we offer
- A team of 10-12 curated reviewers who will provide you with dozens of pages of constructive feedback on your business plan
- Mentoring relationships where you and the mentor choose each other
- A network of founders and (non-competitive) peers solving similar problems that adapts over time
- Investor connections
- Support that doesn’t take you away from running your company
- The Richard Heinberg Prizes, in collaboration with the Foundation for a Sustainable Future
- Don’t just take our word for it. Read what our entrepreneurs have to say about our program
- Full details on our prizes and program are here
How to Apply
Send a brief description of your company to us via this form. We will review these, and invite qualified companies to submit a full application, which will include your business plan.
We are asking for a business plan, not a pitch deck, because that gives us something to provide constructive commentary on. We do not require a specific business plan format, but we do have some basic guidelines. (You can see the review scorecard we use here.)
Your business plan should describe:
- Your product or service
- Who will pay for your product or service, why they will do so, and how you will reach them.
- Your competition and their offerings
- Your team
- A three year income projection statement, with clearly listed assumptions
- Any social, environmental, and/or cultural benefits that might occur if your company is successful. You should also be aware of any social, environmental, and/or cultural challenges that might occur if your product or service disrupts an existing way of doing things, and how you will account for those.
While there is no formal page limit, we recommend keeping your plan under 20 pages.
Please note that neither the MCN nor our volunteer reviewers will sign Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) during our program.
We charge a small processing fee for our program. We will provided details on how to submit this fee to companies that are invited to submit full applications to our program. This fee will be refunded if we do not accept your company into our program.
- If your operations are / will be based in an OECD Country, the fee is $100.
- If your operations are / will be based in a country that is neither OECD or on the UN’s list of least-developed countries, the fee is $25.
- If your operations are / will be based in a country on the UN’s least-developed list, the fee is $10.
What we expect of our program participants
Beyond submitting your business plan and paying the fee described above, we ask the following of our program participants:
- Review the feedback packet that you receive in detail.
- Send thank-you notes to all reviewers who signed their scorecards.
- Follow-up (beyond the thank you) with the reviewers that you found to be constructive. The most important thing to note here is that the feedback isn’t the end benefit — it’s the tool that allows you and the mentor to best choose each other.
That’s all. We are dedicated to providing support that doesn’t take you away from running your business.