Mentors play an important part in our Sustainable Business Plan Collaboration.
They get to be part of a network of hundreds of diverse, global professionals that build, manage, invest in, advise and/or support multiple-bottom-line companies. As a mentor, not only do you get to encounter world-changing inventors and social entrepreneurs, you help them launch and scale their ideas. You get the opportunity to impact the next generation of sustainable businesses. You also connect with other mentors and meet new peers and colleagues.
“Mentoring with MCN… Exposes me to new ideas and great stories from all over the world and in my hometown. They inspire me!”
~ Alix Davidson, Green America
You can be involved with as few or as many of the opportunities below as you wish. All reviewing is virtual, and can be done from anywhere in the world. Additional in-person opportunities are available to individuals living in the Washington, DC area and other selected cities.
Each business plan is 12-24 pages. There is a scorecard covering the basics of a business plan (product, market, finances, etc.) we ask our reviewers to focus on their particular areas of expertise. Most reviewers read 2 plans over the month-long review period. The average time to review a single plan is 90 minutes for investment professionals, 120 minutes for practitioners, 240 minutes for academics.
Stage 1: Reviewing
Everyone starts as a reviewer.
If you are a regular reviewer with us, you can simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know that you are interested, and how many plans you would like to review. When we know who we will be working with, we will send you that list.
All work is done on your own schedule. You are part of a team of experts with different perspectives (i.e. marketing, finance, operations, supply chain, investment, etc.) who are entrusted to read, review and provide feedback to a company from your particular point of view. You will learn as much from your fellow reviewers as you will from the entrepreneurs.
Both you and the entrepreneur will get to see all the feedback from the team of mentors. We provide mentors with feedback scorecards, sample useful mentor feedback, example comments, and the option to remain anonymous or stay connected with the entrepreneur.
During each review period, we will set up a “Clarification” conference call, which will allow you to directly ask any questions you might have to the entrepreneurs. These are optional, but highly encouraged.
One you finish your review, you are given three options:
- Yes, I would be happy to mentor/get more involved with this business! (i.e. bi/monthly phone calls over 3-6 months).
- Yes, I would be happy to engage in a single follow-up conversation (by phone, email, or in person as appropriate).
- Please leave me anonymous to the entrepreneur and other mentors.
“Your process and scorecard are truly first rate, better than other competitions I am involved with. Very well done!” ~ Mark Albion is a co-founder of SVN and Net Impact, and the author of True to Yourself and More than Money: Questions every MBA needs to answer.
Stage 2: Mentoring
We know mentor relationships work best when both the Mentor and Entrepreneur choose each other. To that end, we use our feedback process to ignite ongoing one-to-one mentor relationships. As a mentor, you decide if you want to be anonymous, if you are willing to answer specific questions about your feedback, or if you want to get more involved. If you check the “I’d like to be more involved” box, the entrepreneurs will then look at your feedback, and chose the mentors that they most want to work with. You are both choosing each other on the basis of finding value in what you each had to say to each other. You’ve read their business plan, so you have a sense of them. They’ve read your feedback, so they have a sense of you. Every aspect of our program is designed around this — giving mentors and entrepreneurs a chance to see if they can add value to each other before entering into the mentoring relationship.
Stage 3: Challenge Calls and Expert Calls
We also host a variety of Challenge Calls (hosted by entrepreneurs) and Expert Calls (hosted by Mentors) addressing issues in the fields that our mentors and entrepreneurs work. Many of our mentors are also investors, and we have a variety of programs and Investor Events to engage them with our entrepreneurs in that capacity.
“Just affiliation with [MCN] has been a great asset. We’ve been very successful in winning business plan competitions, and [MCN] is always recognized as one of the leaders and supporters of social entrepreneurs and having been vetted by the [MCN] is helpful to additional capital raising efforts we’ve had.” ~ Alla Jezmir, co-founder of EGG Energy.
Why Mentor with us?
Mentor Capital Network offers a unique opportunity to leverage your lifetime of business skills to strengthen companies that are truly making the world a better place, and to participate at your own pace on your own schedule. From the comfort of your own space, you will be introduced to world-changing ideas and be given the opportunity to make them even stronger. If you want to provide more mentoring, we are here to help make that easy, sharp and effective.
This is a life-changing experience for which you will be valued, and one which you will value. Both our mentors and our entrepreneurs have great things to say about the experience.
“I thoroughly enjoyed serving as a judge, particularly given the range of submissions I read. As someone with a busy schedule who is pleased to review and score innovation challenge competitions, grants, awards, and the like, I’m afraid not everyone is as organized or uses people’s time as efficiently, effectively, and respectfully [as the MCN].” ~ Dr. Terry Babcock-Lumish directs Islay Consulting, and has been an economist for the US White House.
What kind of background do your mentors have? How do I apply to be one?
Most of our mentors have created, managed, invested in, or studied multiple-bottom-line companies. We have subject-matter experts in areas where we see a lot of entrants (e.g. renewable energy, base-of-the-pyramid business development, impact investing, sustainable agriculture, public health, etc.) as well as individuals who are currently building their own sustainable companies. The average reading judges has 20+ years of industry experience, although our greatest success has come through peer-to-peer relationships in different markets. For example, we have worked with a half-dozen rural-agriculture-biofuels enterprises around the world, and we might connect one of those entrepreneurs with someone solving the same problems in a non-competitive market (e.g. Pakistan, Kenya, and/or the USA.) A partial list of mentors who have worked with us can be found here.
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