The Mentor Capital Network 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.
- Submit a summary of your idea to us via this form by March 1st, 2019. (Optional)
- Submit your full business plan to us via email to email@example.com by March 15th, 2019. (Required)
If you are looking for feedback on your non-profit grant proposal, please visit our friends at The Unfunded List.
Since 2002, the MCN has engaged more than 1,000 volunteer mentors who have donated more than $8 million worth of their time (our “Mentor Capital”) to more than 900 social entrepreneurs who have gone on to create thousands of jobs and provide goods and services to local and global communities that have positively impacted millions of people.
Who We Can 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.
- If you are not sure where your project will fall, you may apply to either program, just let us know and apply to either the MCN or the Unfunded List. We will confer to decide which organization can best support you.
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 an average of 25 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
There are two stages to the MCN application process.
Stage 1 (Optional, but will increase your chances of being accepted) Send us a 2 page description of your idea to us via this form, and we can let you know if you are a fit, and provide suggestions that should be helpful in writing your business plan. Please do this by March 1st, 2019.
Stage 2 (Required) — since we recognize that start-up entrepreneurs are often short on time, you can just sent your business plan by March 15th, 2019 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We do not require a specific business plan format, as it will be much more useful for us to provide feedback on your actual plan, rather than one that you wrote specifically for us. However, we do have some basic guidelines. Your plan should describe:
- Your product or service
- Who will pay for your product or service, the size of that market, how you will make them aware of your offerings, and how you will get your product or service to them
- Your competition and their offerings
- Your team, and roles you plan to hire for when your company grows
- A three year income projection statement, with clearly listed assumptions
- How you will know if you are successful
- Any social, environmental, and/or cultural benefits that might occur your company is successful
- Any social, environmental, and/or cultural challenges that might occur if you product or service disrupts an existing way of doing things, and how you will account those
While there is no formal page limit, we strongly recommend keeping your plan under 20 pages. Extremely long business plans are unlikely to be accepted. You can see the review scorecard we use here.
Please note that we are asking for a business plan, not a pitch deck. A pitch deck is for a specific investor at a specific moment in time. A plan is something that you and your team will check in with and update every year or so.
Upon your submission, your business plan will be reviewed by MCN Staff to determine if we can add significant value to your company.
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 the Business Plan Review and Mentor Connection portion of our program. This must be submitted with your business plan. This fee will be refunded if we do not accept you into our program. The easiest way to pay the fee is via PayPal through our form here: https://wjf.wufoo.com/forms/2019-processing-fee-form/.
If you need to pay in another way, please contact us at email@example.com. This fee is not tax-deductible.
- 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.