On April 12, 2018 we conducted a morning and an evening session for potential mentors for Innovate Charlotte Mentor Venturing Service. A session for local startups took place on April 19th.
Participants were able to learn more details about the program that we are licensing from MIT and interact with each other. Here are the questions they asked.
1. How is the program different from other mentorship programs in Charlotte?
INCLT VMS has very clear guidelines that define every aspect of the program. These guidelines help to ensure that every mentorship relationship creates value for the entrepreneur. Here are the highlights of what makes this program different:
- 20 years of experience and MIT VMS Brand. Our program is licensed from MIT VMS, which allows us to take advantage of their experience
- Safe environment for companies. All mentors sign blanked NDAs. Soliciting business from mentees is prohibited. As a result, an environment is created where entrepreneurs can be sure that they are getting unbiased advice.
- Mentors don't have to worry about administrative issues. Most of the administrative burden of scheduling meetings and coordination is going to be conducted by the Office of the program. Thus, mentors can fully focus on mentoring.
- Consistent Quality Control. InCLT VMS uses a team of mentors, which helps to ensure that entrepreneurs are not getting one-sided guidance. There is a lead mentor role who ensures that the discussion is focused on the needs of the entrepreneur. There is also a strong feedback loop built for ongoing improvement of the program.
- Narrow focus. At the pilot stage, our focus is on companies that are innovation-driven, have some validation and potential for high impact. They must also be local and still relatively early stage. Our goal is to increase the number of fundable companies in Charlotte.
2. How exactly will the companies be selected?
All companies that apply on our website will be reviewed and contacted to see if they meet the criteria of the pilot (innovation-driven, have some validation and potential for high impact, local, early stage). Founders of shortlisted companies will be interviewed by Innovate Charlotte team. The final selection will be made by mentors who will be able to demonstrate their interest in working with this or that company.
3. Once my company gets into the program, what is going to happen next?
Here is the current timeline:
As one of the chosen companies, you will start with 2 mentors. The first meeting with them will be scheduled for late June / early July. This is the only meeting where the agenda is going to be prepared by the mentors in accordance with MIT VMS guidelines. After the meeting, you will submit notes from the meeting to InCLT Office with your feedback on the quality of the session.
It will be your responsibility to contact our office to say that you are ready for the next meeting with your mentors. You will also need to submit an agenda for that meeting.
As your relationship with the mentor team grows, it can be extended to include people with the expertise that you might need either for one session or on an ongoing basis.
The pilot program is going to last for 6 months. However, you will be able to continue your relationship with us as long as you are going to need it.
If you have any more questions, don't hesitate to contact us. The next info session is going to be announced shortly for May 2, 2018. You can also apply for the program right away.
We'll keep you posted!