The Mentor Capital Network’s Sustainable Business Plan Collaboration supports the entrepreneurs behind mission driven, for-profit social enterprises, no matter where they are in the world.
Since 2004, we’ve supported over 950 ventures with over $6mm worth of intellectual “mentor” capital, giving entrepreneurial teams customized feedback on their business plans and access to a network of over 1,000 of the world’s best industry and regional experts who have given their time to support these startup teams. We seek to create and accelerate opportunities for these teams to make a serious, innovative, and scalable difference in the world.
Our alumni have gone on to create hundreds of growing companies, employing tens of thousands of individuals and raising more than $200mm in follow-on capital. Hundreds of them are listed here, and you can read many of their stories here.
Collaboration not Competition
Our program may look like a traditional business plan competition, and yes, there are prizes for top finalists, but most of our support goes towards *all* of the companies that are accepted into our program. We offer a collaboration of entrepreneurs, mentors, and investors, all working to support each other.
This page contains a simplified overview of how our program works, including information that applicants and mentors will need. Because the MCN is dedicated to building the field as a whole, we are happy to “open source” our program — a detailed overview is available here.
- Entrepreneurs provide exciting new ideas and receive feedback and a chance to build deep mentoring relationships.
- Mentors provide “mentor capital” in the form of feedback and mentoring, and receive the knowledge of what their peers are thinking from different perspectives, as well as a chance to work with entrepreneurs who truly appreciate them.
- Investors provide the financial companies, and they get to learn which companies are a good fit for them both quickly and deeply through the perspectives of the mentor team supporting the entrepreneurs.
- The MCN team provides the coordination.
Our 2017-2018 Program timeline is below. This timeline is subject to change.
The 2017 Application is here. Our application takes an average of 45 minutes. The criteria we use to select companies that we will work with are listed here.
October 16, 05:00 PM USA Eastern Time : Deadline to apply for our 2017 Cohort. There is no fee to apply.
October 30 to November 20th : Semi-Finalists are chosen and interviewed.
November 20 : The 2017 Cohort is chosen and announced.
December 18 : Business Plans should be submitted from the 2017 Cohort to the MCN.
Along with their business plan, the entrepreneurs should submit a processing fee. (Instructions on how to pay that fee will be sent to accepted companies.) As a 501(c)3 charity, this fee is heavily subsidized, but we have found that the quality and engagement level of applicants increases when we have a fee. The amount is set to be large enough for companies to take our program seriously, and small enough to be affordable.
- The basic fee is $250. If you have a discount code from a partner, mentor, or past entrant, that fee is reduced to $100.
- If you are based in a country that is not part of the OCED, as determined by this list, that fee is reduced to $100 ($50 with a discount code).
- If you are based in one of the Least Developed Countries, as determined by this list, that fee is reduced to $25 ($10 with a discount code.)
January 8 to February 5th: Each company is assigned a team of 8-12 readers, who review their business plans and provide 2-3 pages of detailed and constructive feedback directly to the entrepreneurs. Review teams are highly curated, to provide a diversity of perspective . Reviewers are asked to look at two or more companies over a thirty-day span. This takes an average of six hours of their time. At the end of this process, our Business Plan Scorecards are due back to the MCN. In addition to providing constructive commentary on the business plans, reviewers are given three options:
- The reviewer remains anonymous.
- The reviewer signs their scorecard and is willing to have a one-time phone call/conversation with the entrepreneur.
- The reviewer signs their scorecard and is interested in becoming a mentor for the entrepreneur.
February 12 : Scorecards returned to entrepreneurs and reviewers, who get to see the feedback of other reviewers. Entrepreneurs then review the scorecards of reviewers who signed their scorecards and decide who they want to work with based on the quality of the feedback
March, 2018 and Onwards :
- Mentoring relationships and support calls are arranged. The entrepreneur takes the lead, and the MCN team will assist as needed.
- Entrepreneurs are now part of a peer-to-peer community, where they can participate on group calls with other founders who are solving similar programs in non-competitive markets.
- Reviewers and mentors are part of the same community, offering their support for the companies working in their area of expertise.
- Companies seeking investment are matched with investors as appropriate.
- Our 2018 Annual Gathering will feature the top teams, and cash and in-kind prizes will be awarded. The date and location of this event have not yet been determined.
Please join our mailing list to receive updates on opportunities for social entrepreneurs, mentors, and investors.