How To Apply for the 2024 Cohort
- Read this page.
- Send us your for-profit social enterprise business plan by March 4th, 2024.
- Acceptances will be announced on or before March 31st, 2024.
What We Do
- Connect social entrepreneurs to mentors who have dealt with similar problems but are not competing for the same customers. We tailor teams of experts to provide written and video-call feedback on your ideas. Then you and your potential mentors chose each other based on how useful and interesting you found each other. Think of it like a (non-romantic) dating site.
- Help companies succeed. Companies that we work with, as opposed to companies we almost worked with (that were qualified, and we would have worked with if not for space, timing, etc.) are 32% more likely to be in business when compared year-by-year. Read what our alumni have to say.
- We do NOT, alas, directly provide funding. So do not submit a funding request to us. Some of our partners do (see “Who Should Apply (Preferences)” below) but we are not part of that decision process.
- A detailed operational overview of our process is available here.
Who Should Apply (Requirements)
Entrepreneurs who are (1) Building for-profit companies that has social and/or environmental values built into how the business makes money, (2), open to feedback on their business model, and (3) who can commit to the following actions:
- Four phone/video calls – 2 with MCN team, 2 with prospective mentors.
- Submit a business plan or detailed pitch deck in English, Spanish, or French. (Because not all prospective mentors can make video calls.)
- Review the feedback we provide on your documents.
- Follow up with all of your reviewers — either with a simple thank you for their time, or to begin a mentoring relationship with those you found particularly helpful.
Who Should Apply (Preferences)
The Mentor Capital Network engages with a variety of partners who provide additional support (mostly funding) to our entrepreneurs in situations where the companies involved meet the criteria of both the MCN and our partners. To that end, while the three items listed above are the only requirements, preference will be shown for applicants who fit into one or more of the categories listed below. No candidate will fit all categories, and it is possible to have a successful application even if you don’t fit into any of these categories.
- Based outside of the USA in an LDC country. (With a particular focus on the southern Sahara region in Africa.)
- Based in the USA in CDFI Investment Areas. (With a particular focus on the south-eastern Appalachian region and Puerto Rico.)
- Based in the USA in the state of Maryland or the greater Washington, DC area.
- Based in India, in the state of Goa.
- Addressing the reduction of greenhouse gases.
- Using technology that is legally defensible intellectual property.
- Could become multi-country franchises.
Business Plan / Pitch Deck Details
- How: Email your plan to firstname.lastname@example.org as an attached file.
- Length: Most plans we see are 16-24 pages long. We do not have a formal length limit, but text-heavy plans longer than 30 pages will probably annoy your reviewers. You may link to additional online resources in your business plan.
- Cover Page: please include the following logistical information on either the cover page of your plan: Company Name, Contact Name, Contact Email, Country (-ies) of Operation, Website/Social Media (if applicable), a list of who you consider your competitors, a description of what you consider to be your biggest business challenge (other than raising funds).
- Language: At least one member of the team must speak English. Documents can be in English, Spanish, or French.
- Do NOT include any intellectual property in the documents. We will not sign NDAs.
- Format: We do NOT have a specific format to suggest, because the most important thing is that you submit a document that you have written written to and for your leadership team, not for the MCN or someone else. That said, you should cover the items listed below.
1) What does your company produce or provide?
2) Who pays for it, are their enough of these people to make your business work, and how will you find them?
3) What are your financial assumptions?
4) Who are your competitors and what are the major risks involved?
5) What advantages do you and your team have that your competitors do not?
- You do not have to be raising funds for us to work with you. But if you are, make sure that your documents describe how much you are seeking, what you will do with the funds, and how those actions will enable you to repay the investment or attract further investment. Do not include: Specific deal terms (e.g. repayment schedule), since not all of our reviewers are accredited investors.
MCN alumni including companies that are addressing some of the most important challenges in the world. A list of alumni companies still active under their own names can be found here. Some examples include:
- Increasing the amount of healthy food and healthy farmers in our world, like Ignitia & Elevated Honey.
- Bringing healthy food and drink to your table, like Kuli Kuli, Back to the Roots, Runa, & The Jackfruit Company.
- Providing access to financial services, like Tala, First Access, & Kopo Kopo.
- Improving the quality of, and access to, health care, like Access Afya, PACE MD, Sproxil, & Maternova.
- Creating safer living and working conditions for women, like Wello Water, & Pinkcollar.
- Generating affordable, clean, and renewable energy, like Husk Power Systems, ARED, & Gham Power.
- Cleaning the water, air, and/or environment for those who need it most, like Folia Materials, Chakr Innovation, and Sanivation.
- Creating a path out of poverty for employees, like Wash Cycle Laundry,
- Training and educating people to make their way in the world, like GogyUp
- Designing sustainable products, like WholeForest, & Yellow Leaf Hammocks.