As a start-up enterpreneur could you imagine having direct access to mentors ready to support all aspects of your business strategy and its execution? As a mentor wouldn’t it be great to become official member of advisory board in a start-up working on breakthrough technology?
There are plenty of advantages of having official advisory board in a start-up including access to people ready to share with their expertise, or make relevant introductions. Not mentioning the impact of advisory board on investor’s perception of the start-up and general valuation of the company.
As for the people mentoring start-ups, they get direct access to new ways of thinking and developing value proposals for the market. They also get credible experience of a mentor or an advisory board member to boost their personal career development, and show-off in their resumes.
Having an advisory board in a start-up is already a typical practice for start-ups in the US. Just take a look at example of Accion Systems, or Silverside Detectors I recently met in Greentown Labs in Sommerville. The latter already develops products with co-financing of NASA and has commercial contracts with US Ministry of Defense.
As a start-up to find a mentor you can search existing career portals, narrowing down the search to experience and skills of people you look for. You can also enroll for business accelerator programmes, which provide a pool of mentors. Sometime the pool is pre-defined, and mentors are representatives of business accelerator partners, which also has it advantages, as in case of people with great industrial knowledge, and genuine interest in technologies that are being developed.
As a mentor-to-be, who would like to share with start-ups its wisdom and experience you can register at Startup Grind which gives you an access to start-ups from all over the world and currently tests its new mentorship functionalities. If you are particularly interested and fluent in doing business in defined region you can take a look at local business acceleration programmes, as in case of Turn8 from United Arab Emirates, or The Wise Guys from Estonia. Expectations from start-up mentor, are not extraorbitant at all. Once you declare you want to be one, in most of the cases you choose how much time per month you would like to give, and what is the way of contact you prefer (e-mail, phone, Skype, or direct meetings).
Success of such initiatives like “Million Women Mentors” shows that delivering and using mentorship can contribute to both business and career development, and mentorship is a great way of “giving back to the society”. In some cases the idea of delivering mentorship can be linked with enabling access to finance, and becomimg a part of corporate social responsibility programmes, as in case of 10 000 women led by Goldman Sachs with programme budget of USD 600 mln.
If you take a look at contemporary evolution of “2-sided markets”, which are mainly about platforms decreasing the asymmetry of people with defined needs and people ready to satisfy them, there clearly is a place in digital space for initiative such as “Million Start-up Mentors”.
Everyone has know-how and skills to step out of the crowd and share, and there are lots of people, who will be truly grateful for it. As it would seriously contribute to wealth of nations, I think it’s only matter of time when initiative of “Million Start-up Mentors” will commence 😉
Source: Own photo library.