What type of experience do I need to be a mentor? 

CED VMS engages with mentors that possess operating backgrounds at the executive level. We’re looking for professionals with experience as corporate executives and serial founding entrepreneurs, as well as specialists in technical matters, medicine, education and other fields. 

What some other qualities of a good mentor?

  • Respected by colleagues; a role model
  • Has significant operational and/or startup experience
  • Positive attitude
  • Good listener
  • Time to participate; desire to “give back”
  • No personal or sales agenda; high credibility
  • Ability to advise and coach in an unbiased manner
  • Comfortable with team mentoring
  • Enthusiasm for CED and the VMS program

Are there rules CED VMS mentors must follow?

Mentors are asked to follow three rules:

  1. Attend monthly meeting and mentor at least one venture.
  2. Provide a trusted environment with ventures, free of soliciting or conflict of interest*
  3. Attend one new mentor training session. These are held every other month following the monthly meeting. 

*See COI Policy

Once a mentor has been accepted into the program, he/she will begin attending monthly VMS meetings. These monthly meetings are held during normal business hours and are an opportunity to network with other mentors, volunteer to be on a mentor team, and learn best practices.

 After one year in the program, mentors are required to participate in lead mentor training.

It may take a few months for a mentor to find a venture of interest and one where the mentor feels he/she has the background/skills to provide the assistance needed. Mentors may volunteer to mentor more than one venture.

What does the mentoring process look like?

After a team is assembled, a charter meeting the kick-off meeting is scheduled. This first meeting is an opportunity for the venture and mentors to get to know one another and determine the key challenges and critical milestones to work on–and develop a plan to move forward. Typically, meetings are scheduled every four to six weeks, but every venture is unique in its status, needs, trajectory and priorities. CED VMS is a flexible program that can be adjusted to the participants’ needs.

How long does the mentoring process last?

Since the relationship between entrepreneurs and mentors is voluntary, mentorship may last as long as it is beneficial to both parties. The nature of the mentoring and the composition of the mentoring teams may change over time as the needs of the venture change. A typical engagement usually lasts six to nine months.

What have mentors in the CED VMS program reported as benefits of involvement?

Mentors receive the most benefit when they see their ventures making progress and know they were able to provide the specific guidance and support the venture needed. Other benefits include:

  • Ability to volunteer to work with ventures of interest
  • Flexibility in scheduling meetings
  • Collegiality and opportunities to network with peers
  • A fun, exciting and rewarding experience

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