The application form typically takes 30-45 minutes to fill out.
2020 Spring Cohort Timeline (Applications closed)
- Friday, March 6th: Business plans from invited entrepreneurs due to MCN
- Monday, March 16th: Business plans sent to reviewers from MCN
- Friday, April 24th: Reviews are due back to MCN
- Friday, May 1st: Reviews are distributed to the entrepreneurs and the mentor matching begins.
2020 Summer Cohort Timeline (Applications open)
- Friday, May 8th: Application Deadline for 2020 Summer Cohort. To save you time, we also accept applications that have been submitted within the past three months to Agora Partnerships, Echoing Green, Fledge, Global Social Benefit Institute, Seed Spot, Uncharted, and/or Village Capital. We might accept documents for other programs as well (if they are similar) but please check with us first. Just send us the same paperwork you sent them. You may re-submit your application as many times as you want before the deadline. You must be able to submit your documents in English, Spanish, or French. Our team’s primary language is English, so if you are working in Spanish or French, please have at least one person we can communicate with in English. The application takes an average of 45 minutes to fill out.
- Friday, May 29th: MCN invites 2020 Summer Cohort
- Friday, June 19th: Business plans from invited entrepreneurs due to MCN
- Tuesday, July 7th: Business plans sent to reviewers from MCN
- Monday, July 27th: Reviews are due back to MCN
- Monday, August 3rd: Reviews are distributed to the entrepreneurs and the mentor matching begins.
- The company is a for-profit start-up or growing company that has a social, environmental, and/or cultural mission that strengthens their financial margin.
We accept plans for hybrids, or for-profits that are owned by non-profits. But the entity itself must be for-profit. The most common problem that we see is companies that only donate money to charity, and don’t have any of their values reflected in their day-to-day operations. While we might applaud that personally, the MCN’s charter is to support companies that have integrated their values into their operations.
- Our lead contact (a member of the executive team) is interested in building a relationship with a mentor. This is also often addressed in the finalist interview.
- While the company can submit their business plan in English, Spanish, or French, the MCN team’s primary language is English, so if they are working in Spanish or French, there must be at least one English-speaker we can communicate with.
- Company leadership can be any age, any educational level, and based anywhere in the world. The company can be any stage, and of any type (including co-ops) as long as it is not a solely charitable operation. We don’t care if you are seeking outside investment now, later, or never.
Business Viability (1-5 Scale)
Will they be in existence long enough for their idea to spread? While we welcome and hope for the success of our entrepreneurs, we are specifically concerned with the success of their idea. If the candidate wishes to be successful on their own terms, which includes staying small and focused on their immediate community, but they can prove that their innovation is both profitable and socially beneficial, and they are willing to share that idea, we are just as happy to work with them as with entrepreneurs who aim for the more traditional metrics of scale.
- You have no idea what they do, or how they will make money.
- You understand what they want to do, but don’t think it will work.
- The business might work, but it is not going to stand out or be a model to other companies.
- You want to to buy their product or partner with them. They have a strong idea and/or a strong team.
- You want to work for or invest in them. They have a strong idea and a strong team.
Mission (1-5 Scale)
The MCN seeks to identify and support companies that will serve as a model to change how business is done. For us, “social value” includes positive environmental effects.
- They’re not thinking about scalable social value.
- They may be personally committed to social value, but have not integrated it into how the company does business (e.g. just giving a % to charity). Or, they weren’t thinking about social value, but realized the question was on the exam, and clearly just made something up.
- They are creating social value via a product or service that is already widely available or is, and will continue to be, priced above market rate (e.g. luxury products). We recognize that sometimes a company needs to start with a higher price to get to economies of scale.
- They are creating social value in a way that will make their company more profitable.
- They are creating social value in a way that will make their company more profitable, and will spread across their industry.
The MCN will also take into consideration:
- MCN Value-Add: Can the MCN community add specific and significant value to this entrepreneur and/or company? Do we have the capacity to support them in this particular cohort?
- Sponsor Requests: Any partners who have funded us to support companies in particular regions or industries. Those companies must meet our basic qualifications, but the sponsor can focus us on other criteria (geography, industry, etc.).
- Total Social Value: Does this company’s existence make the world better? Think past the first problem they solve for this. Are they creating new problems by solving the old ones? Are they aware of the impact of their work?
- Innovation: Do they have an idea that will spread to other companies? Do they have an understanding of their field as a whole? Does the entrepreneur actively want their idea to spread?
- Frontier Markets: Are they addressing a community that does not have easy access to what they are providing? How deeply are the founders connected to that community?
- Fellowship: Does it seem like the entrepreneur will actively contribute towards supporting the MCN peer community? Are they excited to talk to other people who are trying to solve the same problems?
- Mentor Clusters: Can we put this company in a “cluster” so that our expert reviewers will be able to look at and compare 3-4 companies in the same cluster? We work with various kinds of clusters, including: Industry (e.g. Agriculture), Business Type (e.g. Retail), and Challenge (e.g. convincing people to accept individuals they might otherwise be uncomfortable around as part of regular business enterprise).