Mentors are a crucial component for the success of you Incubator and the hosted Startups, as they guide, inspire, provide expertise and hold founders accountable.
In this article we will list places and ways to find the right ones for your program.
First, who is the Perfect Mentor?
As the Mentors will be the ones that question and drive the Founders to new ideas and thinkings make sure that their philosophy of running a startup, matches the program's.
- Personal Qualities: Are they honest or sincere, creative or logical, motivating or questioning? There is no right or wrong, it depends on you. Make a list of the ideal traits for your program.
- Entrepreneurial Thinking: The Mentors you choose must have their entrepreneurial thinking aligned with your program's methodology. For example, building MVPs fast is a whole different thinking from launching the best designed product.
- Skills & Expertise: Make sure your Startups have the unfair advantage of acquiring experienced feedback leveraging industry insiders and experts, while they are also mentored to develop the needed skills.
Second, why would the Perfect Mentor want to join?
To attract the great Mentors to your program, especially if there are about to voluntarily help, you need to make sure they get value from participating.
- Mentors-Promotion: Give your Mentors some Stage and Light. Tell them about the impact and the size of the program. Promote them and their companies on your program's social media, tag them on LinkedIn, and upload videos from their participation.
- Networking: Maximizing the opportunities for new relations building and possible meeting new partners, are keys for Mentors to participate in your program.
- Giving back to the community: Founders who've been helped, are often willing to be mentors themselves to others, so they may be inspired to help new founders.
Third, where to find the Perfect Mentor?
Having realized who's the ideal Mentor for your Program and how you are going to persuade them that your program's worth their time, you're ready to start pitching them. You can find them from:
- Previous Startup Events: Search for past Startup Weekends and Pitch Competitions near you (or in your program's industry niche, if it's online) and short list them.
- Startup Press: Similarly, there will be quite a few new Startups in your city, reported in the local press. Give their founders a pitch.
- University Alumni Network: Look for Founders, Startuppers or Experts from your University, as your common connection to the University may be enough to make them more eager to join.
- Mentors Marketplaces: Organized places to find Mentors based on expertise and skills. Most are mentoring voluntarily via Zoom, but even for the ones that are charging for 1-1 calls, they may agree to join your program. These marketplaces are:
Now, book the Perfect Mentor
Once you finally find the Perfect Ones, go ahead and propose them. May it be a cold email (you find their email address via Google or Rocket Search), may it be it a dm on LinkedIn or Twitter.