Tier 1 Support
Business Plan Review, Mentor Connections, and Prizes
Business Plan Review
The MCN will curate a team of 10-12 individuals who will review your business plan. These individuals will be chosen for diversity of perspective. Most of our reviewers have had experience building multiple-bottom-line companies. Wherever possible, we will identify individuals who are addressing the same challenges as you, but who are not competing for the same customers.
It takes us 2-4 weeks (depending on the size of the cohort) to create the review teams, and we give them a month to review your plans. This is the scorecard we use. Each reviewer provides some of their professional background to the entrepreneur, making their experience and perspective visible. The feedback packet is made available both to the entrepreneurs who submitted their business plan and the other reviewers of that plan.
In the middle of the review period, one or more clarification calls are scheduled. These calls, usually video chats, are an opportunity for reviewers to ask questions directly of the entrepreneurs about anything that might not be obvious from reading their business plan.
Turning reviewers into mentors is the focus of our program. After they have provided feedback on the business plans they read, our reviewers are asked how they would like to stay in touch with the entrepreneurs. They are given three options:
- I would be willing to mentor this business.
- I would be happy to engage in a follow-up conversation.
- Please leave me anonymous to the entrepreneur and other mentors.
The Mentor Capital Network has facilitated more than 7,500 business plan reviews. On average, about 25% of reviewers choose the “mentor” option, 60% choose the “follow-up conversation” option, and 15% remain anonymous. The key factor is that the entrepreneur reaches out to the reviewers they found particularly helpful — both sides choose each other. The MCN provides mentoring guidelines, but ultimately the entrepreneur and the mentor determine what their mentoring relationship will look like.
The Foundation for a Sustainable Future sponsors the Richard Heinberg prizes in honor of the journalist and educator who has written extensively on energy, economic, and ecological issues. Three cash prizes ($2,000, $1,000, and $500) are awarded annually, and all MCN program participants within that year are eligible to be considered.
Successful applicants for these prizes will have detailed the environmental sustainability benefits resulting from their project, such as climate change mitigation, energy efficiency, beneficial materials (toxicity, efficiency, renewables, etc.), clean-tech, water security, to name just a few. Past prize winners are listed here.
Tier 2 Support
Challenge Calls and Peer-to-Peer Calls
The top companies from the business plan review phase of our program will be invited to participate in challenge calls where the entrepreneurs can pose a specific question to a curated team (much like the business plan review) for the entrepreneur(s).
The MCN can coordinate a series of peer-to-peer calls, both as one-off events for entrepreneurs addressing the same challenges but not competing for the same customers (e.g. — 4 women who run sustainable apparel companies (Scarves, Boots, Dresses, Underwear) in 4 separate countries (Chile, Guatemala, Cambodia, the USA) so that they can share best practices. We build these calls around entrepreneurs who are addressing similar challenges, but not competing for the same customers.
Tier 3 Support
While the business plan review and mentor connection portions of our program often provide great value in investor readiness, and many of our reviewers are professional impact investors, this does not constitute a commitment on our part to identify or solicit investors for the programs we support. However, those services are available to alumni of our programs on a case-by-case basis.
Research & Convenings
The MCN is committed to supporting the entire ecosystem of groups and individuals who are supporting social entrepreneurs. We do this through our research (heavily based on our 7,500+ scorecards) and supporting and organizing various convenings.