VMS FAQs - Entrepreneurs

Frequently Asked Questions About CED VMS

If you’re an entrepreneur attempting to scale a new business, you likely have many questions. CED’s Venture Mentoring Service is designed to help you answer those questions and make better-informed decisions about the future of your business. Read through our FAQs below and, if you have additional questions, please contact Miriam Wilson at mwilson@cednc.org or 919-226-0474.

When ready, click here to apply.

What is CED VMS?

CED VMS stands for CED’s Venture Mentoring Service, a program initially developed at MIT. Each venture works with a team of mentors to help accelerate their business growth. Members of the mentoring teams are serial entrepreneurs and C-level executives. Mentors help with major business challenges: making key hires, finding new customers, developing channel partners, seeking licensing deals, perfecting pricing models, deciding when and how to fundraise, and more.

Who is eligible to participate?

CED VMS is best suited for full-time entrepreneurs with concerns about how to successfully scale their business, and who are ready for an initial “advisory team.” As CED VMS sessions are offered in the Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina, the entrepreneur must be able to meet with mentors in that location.

How does the mentoring process work?

After applying, you will be contacted by one of the mentors for an informational interview. If you are recommended by the screening committee, you will be asked to do a “pitch” at one of the monthly mentor meetings. This pitch followed by Q&A allows the mentors to get to know you, your team and the company you are trying to scale. Mentors volunteer to be on a venture team. CED will then put together a mentoring team of 2-4 mentors and arrange the first mentoring session.

Why more than one mentor? It has been our experience that having mentors working together, but coming from different backgrounds and experiences, provides the entrepreneur with a more well-rounded view of critical success factors and helps them develop the most robust set of options to address those factors.

It is important for participating entrepreneurs to understand that CED VMS is strictly educational. All business decisions remain under the full control of the participating entrepreneur. In other words, the mentors are here to help you set and achieve critical milestones, but they cannot do it for you.

​What rules do CED VMS entrepreneurs have to follow?

CED VMS entrepreneurs are expected to commit to a sustained relationship with CED VMS and to be professional, open, respectful and responsive to the volunteer mentors who work with them. They are also expected to provide CED VMS, to the best of their ability, with accurate information about their venture on a quarterly basis.

​As the entrepreneur, am I responsible for any fees or considerations?

CED VMS services are offered free of charge. Thanks to the generous support from our Strategic Partners, there are no fees for the service, nor does CED ask for any equity.

How do I apply?

We request prospective entrepreneurs to submit an application to provide basic information about themselves and the venture. All identified proprietary information provided by applicants will be kept strictly confidential by CED VMS. You will then be contacted by one of the members of the VMS selection committee, who will conduct a phone or face-to-face interview. If you are accepted for mentoring, you will be asked to sign a form agreeing to abide by the CED VMS rules and principles.

How are mentor matches arranged?

The formation of a relationship between mentor and entrepreneur is purely voluntary. The mentors assign themselves to a venture according to their interests or areas of expertise. Though CED VMS assists with connecting appropriate mentors and entrepreneurs, the decision to form a relationship remains with the prospective mentors and entrepreneur. On occasion, CED VMS may not have the appropriate resources and may have to decline a request for assistance.

Ready to apply?

To submit your application, click here.