The Mentor Capital Network (MCN) identifies and supports for-profit entrepreneurs who are using business to solve the world’s biggest social, economic, and environmental problems in a way that others will be inspired to follow their lead.

The business plan feedback is valuable in and of itself, and a tool to assist both you and the entrepreneur in identifying and building mentoring relationships that will be useful, interesting, and engaging for everyone involved.

Please complete this form for all of the companies that you have been assigned by Friday, April 24th.

Write your feedback to the entrepreneur(s), not to the MCN. Everything between and including “Product / Service” and “Reviewer Context” will be sent directly to them.

You have only committed to provide feedback on the business plan. To become more engaged with a company, indicate your willingness via the last question on the form.

Write from your perspective and expertise. You are part of a team of reviewers who were specifically chosen to provide different points of feedback. Many sections include a “no score provided” option – if you’re a finance expert, feel free to leave the marketing assessment to someone else. (You will get to see everyone else’s feedback at the end of the process.)

You are reading a business plan written for the entrepreneurs, not for the MCN reviewers. There is little point in our providing feedback on a document written for the MCN. Many of the questions on this form will not apply to certain kinds of businesses. If you feel that they should have mentioned something in their plan, note that in the comments. But nothing is required.

Our program has three major goals:

  1. To provide the companies with constructive feedback to help them accomplish their goals. 
  2. To identify companies that you, personally, might want to engage with as a mentor. 
  3. To collect data to make both the MCN and the field of social entrepreneurship better able to serve future entrepreneurs. 

Scoring criteria for each section:
Poor: If this area is not addressed, the business will not succeed.
Adequate: While this area is a weakness, it won’t disrupt the entire business.
Fair: This area will neither hurt the business nor provide a competitive advantage.
Good: This is the level you would want to see in a business before working there yourself.
Outstanding: They got this perfect. Or it’s *very* good, and they have a new approach to the challenge.
No Score Provided: If you do not feel qualified to score a section, check this box. This will not affect the score. You can still include constructive comments, if you have any. This option is not available for all categories.

Questions about any part of this process should be sent to network@mentorcapitalnet.org.


Your name:                                                            

Your email:                                                            

Name of company reviewed:    

Give the entrepreneur a sense of your perspective as you reviewed their business plan. Provide a short bio or description of your background as it specifically relates to the plan, e.g. “I am a business school professor who has worked in the automotive industry in India.” Or “I am a mentor who started two organic textile companies.” 


Product / Service

Your comments in this section could cover:

  • Do you have a clear understanding of their product or service?
  • Do you think it will add value to their customers?
  • Do they have a sense of the problems it will solve?

__ Poor __ Adequate __ Fair __ Good __ Outstanding

Do you have any comments on this area that could help them?  


Customers / Marketing

Your comments in this section could cover:

* Do they know who will pay for their product or service, and why?
* Do they know how many of these people there are?
* Do they have a good plan to identify and sell to them?
* Do they understand how their market might change?
* What have they learned from market testing and/or operations?
* Do they have a clear pricing strategy? 

__ Poor __ Adequate __ Fair __ Good __ Outstanding __ No Score Provided

Do you have any comments on this area that could help them?    


Competition / Risks
How well do they describe the competitive landscape, and any other external risks and/or barriers to entry?

Your comments in this section could cover:
* Do they know who their competitors are?
* Do they know how their product is different?
* Do they understand major risks to their business model?
* Have they identified barriers to entry?
* If appropriate, do they have the necessary Intellectual Property protection?

__ Poor __ Adequate __ Fair __ Good __ Outstanding __ No Score Provided

Do you have any comments on this area that could help them? 


Team / Partners / Stakeholders

Your comments in this section could cover:
* Do they have the staff, partners, & champions they will need, and the roles they will play?
* If not, do they have a plan to recruit them?
* Other than their team, who else will be invested in their success?

__ Poor __ Adequate __ Fair __ Good __ Outstanding __ No Score Provided

Do you have any comments on this area that could help them?


Financials

Your comments for this section could cover:
* Are their revenue and expense assumptions reasonable? 
* Costs of goods sold 
* Pricing strategy
* If they are seeking investment (debt or equity), do they describe what they plan to do with the money? 
* If they are seeking investment (debt or equity), do they describe how that investment will get them to a discernible next stage where they can either be cash-flow positive, or be more attractive to more risk-averse investors?

__ Poor __ Adequate __ Fair __ Good __ Outstanding __ No Score Provided

Do you have any comments on this area that could help them?


Operations / Viability

Your comments for this section could cover:

  • Do you think this is a viable business in its current form?
  • What do you see as their strongest asset?
  • What do you see as their biggest challenge?
  • Do they have strategies for how they will execute production, sales, delivery, and other basic business operations?
  • Do they know how they will measure their success?
  • What aspects of the plan particularly excite or concern you?

__ Poor __ Adequate __ Fair __ Good __ Outstanding __ No Score Provided

Do you have any comments on this area that could help them?


Integrating the Mission / Understanding the Ripples

Every company accepted by the MCN claims to have a social, environmental, and/or cultural mission. We believe that they want to accomplish these missions. While the Why can be an important marketing tool and/or a sign that the entrepreneurs are truly committed to the success of their business, in this section we’re focused on the How.

Integrated mission
Integrated mission in this context, means that their social, environmental, or cultural mission is part of how they make money. The MCN has seen many business plans where a company wants to employ a distressed or underserved community. If done well, this can increase employee retention, resulting in lower turnover costs. Or they want to sell to a similar community. Again, if done well, they are identifying a market that their competitors are ignoring for what are usually non-business reasons (discrimination, fear of the unknown, etc.). In both cases, if done poorly, the company is just adding costs to their production or distribution process that will make them less competitive.

Ripples
Also known as 2nd order effects, ripples are the things that happen because of the disruptive changes made by an entrepreneur. Regular entrepreneurs get to move fast and break things. The MCN believes that social entrepreneurs have a responsibility to think through what might happen because of the changes their companies will make in the worlds of their customers, employees, and other stakeholders. Some social enterprise ideas can be beneficial at a small scale, but problematic at a larger size. Is that the case here? If so, have the entrepreneurs addressed this?

The most important question here is – will they succeed enough to inspire other people to share their mission through their business?

Some examples of how previous MCN companies have done this include:

  • Using diversity (gender, class, ethnicity, and more) as a business strength
  • Using waste as product
  • Making long-term investments in employees to reduce turnover
  • De-risking environmental issues for the company and its customers
  • Empowering and training employees as both a sales force and a force for their community
  • Taking a holistic gender lens approach. (If you are unfamiliar with the term “Gender Lens” we recommend this article: http://ssir.org/articles/entry/the_rise_of_gender_capitalism.

__ Poor __ Adequate __ Fair __ Good __ Outstanding __ No Score Provided

Do you have any comments on this area that could help them?


Did they convey a very clear understanding of the social mission of their business?

__ Poor __ Adequate __ Fair __ Good __ Outstanding __ No Score Provided


Was the business plan was presented in a way that was logical and easy to understand?

Your comments for this section could cover:

  • Due to missing information I had to guess or “mentally fill in the blanks” regarding aspects of this business in order to assess it.

__ Poor __ Adequate __ Fair __ Good __ Outstanding __ No Score Provided


Anything Else?

  • Is there anything else you’d like to share with the Entrepreneur?
  • Are there any resources that you’d like to share with the entrepreneur? (e.g. examples of companies doing similar work that the entrepreneur may not be familiar with.)
  • This is also the place to put comments that don’t fit anywhere else on the review.

Do you have any comments on this area that could help them?


The next set of questions are for MCN research purposes, and will only be shared in aggregate, without attribution. 


In your opinion, what is the likelihood that the business will accomplish each of the following in the next year?

  Already
Done
0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
Raise external capital greater than $100k from any source              
Apply for and receive official government legal status              
Will have a primary entrepreneur working full-time on venture              
Deliver first product or service              
Hire first (non-founder) employee              

To what extent did you feel the business plan demonstrated the following about the venture?

  Strongly Disagree Disagree Not Sure Agree Strongly Agree
A sense of novelty __ __ __ __ __
A foundation in proven models __ __ __ __ __
Immediate feasibility __ __ __ __ __
Long-term potential __ __ __ __ __
Attention to detail __ __ __ __ __
Big-picture thinking __ __ __ __ __

Based on your reading of the business plan, to what extent do you agree with the following about the entrepreneur(s)?

  Strongly Disagree Disagree Not Sure Agree Strongly Agree
Their personality is similar to yours __ __ __ __ __
They have similar skills to yours __ __ __ __ __
They have similar values to yours __ __ __ __ __
You would be friends __ __ __ __ __
This business is addressing a social mission which is important to me personally. __ __ __ __ __

Was this plan a good fit to your interests and experience?

Poor       |      Adequate      |      Fair      |      Good      |      Outstanding

Why or why not? Do have any other feedback for the MCN?


Can you suggest other entrepreneurs or mentors who would be a good fit for the MCN?


What do you know now that you didn’t before reading this plan?


Approximately how long did it take you read the plan and complete this form?
__ 1        Hour                     __ 2        Hours                   __ 3        Hours  
__ 1.5     Hours                   __ 2.5     Hours                   __ 4.+     Hours


Should we add, update, or remove your name from this list on our website?

(Only reviewers from the past three years are listed.)

__ Please add or update my bio with the “Reviewer Context” text above

__ I am listed, and the text is fine.

__ I am not listed, and that’s fine.

__ Please remove my listing

__ My blurb should added or updated — use the “Reviewer Context” at the top of this form.

__ My blurb should added or updated — use the “Website Bio Update” text below

Website Bio Update



This is the last and most important question

Do you want to mentor this company?

The word “Mentor” means different things to different people. We’re looking for people who will engage with an entrepreneur over an extended period of time. Calls every two to four weeks for three to six months is about average, although some of our relationships have lasted more than decade.

If you just want a one-time conversation with the entrepreneur in which you answer their questions about your feedback, or you offer them resources and/or suggestions beyond what’s written here, that’s fine as well.

Mentoring has the most positive impact when mentors and entrepreneurs both feel validated, which is more likely to happen when they are given the choice to engage with each other. If you select any of the “Yes” options below, the entrepreneur (and the other reviewers) will see your name, email, and LinkedIn profile (or other public biography, if provided) on the review form. It is then up to the entrepreneurs to decide whose comments they found constructive and useful, and it up to them to reach out to those individuals.

__ Yes, I would be willing to mentor this business.

__ Yes, I would be happy to engage in a single follow-up conversation.

__ Yes, I am willing to answer questions about my feedback via email.

__ No, leave me anonymous to the entrepreneur and other mentors.