Mentorship is considered a critical foundational component for successfully building a startup. For this reason StartLife happily connects you to invaluable startup mentors and industry experts. Below you find extensive information about our startup mentor program.
- Why should you take on a startup mentor?
- What does a startup mentor do?
- Who are the startup mentors of StartLife?
- When is the best time to initiate a startup mentorship?
- What does our startup mentor program entail?
- How am I matched to a startup mentor ?/ How can I apply for the startup mentor program?
- How is confidentiality assured?
- Are there costs for joining the Startup Mentor Program?
- Which startups are eligible for a StartLife mentorship?
Why should you take on a startup mentor?
You only need to consider a startup mentor if you want to seriously increase your chances of success. Research has demonstrated that 70 percent of SMEs that receive mentoring survive for five years or more. That’s double the rate of businesses that don’t use mentors. Also founders of world’s well-known companies made use of mentors in the early days, and often still do. Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com, attributes his success partly to his mentor, none other than Steve Jobs.
What does a startup mentor do?
A startup mentor is foremost a sparring partner (and advisor); a business friend who has passion for startups and cares about your personal development as an entrepreneur. They share their insights, information, knowledge and experiences around entrepreneurship and help you understand the nuances of the business and the varied nature of the markets at hand. A mentor also has the potential to open multiple doors for you. The mentor could -but is not obliged- to leverage his own connections to bring in extended network effects that can provide you with early customer trials, strategic partnerships, potential customers, interested investors and many more.
By seeking advice and guidance from someone that has travelled the road, expect to learn but also to build a strong tie. Understand that a mentor will not provide you with all the answers and will not replace you as the decision-maker, so be prepared to listen, ask questions and reach your own conclusions.
Who are the startup mentors of StartLife?
Our pool of mentors consist of top-level executives of major corporations, successful serial entrepreneurs, investors and senior professionals with comprehensive knowledge in their field of expertise like business development, management, communications, legal and accounting, retail, and e-commerce.
Our startup mentors are intrinsically motivated to help you. Their one goal: help you in any way that they can to help you build a solid company and grow as an entrepreneur. They offer their service free of charge, often in their spare time.
See our list of startup mentors.
When is the best time to initiate a startup mentorship?
Most likely now. As soon as you start considering a mentor you are likely to be in need of a mentor. Often the start of a mentorship is linked to an important business decision that you are about make or a critical change that is about to happen, and you want to build up some extra confidence by sparring with an seasoned entrepreneur or professional. And since most startups have important decisions to be made on regular basis, any time is likely to be a right time to take on a startup mentor.
What does our startup mentor program entail?
Your mentor will be available to you for a minimum of eight hours a month for a period of 3-4 months, depending on the need. There is no minimum or maximum interactions per month. Just take into account that mentors are not a search engine and that they are most keen to help you when you are in contact regularly with matters that count. How you communicate or meet you may decide in mutual agreement with your mentor.
After the mentor program is completed, it is up to you and your mentor to decide if and how you would like to proceed the relationship.
How am I matched to a startup mentor ?/ How can I apply for the startup mentor program?
- Search: Search our mentor list to find mentors that you feel are a potential good fit.
- Contact us: Send us an email with your preferred mentor(s) (maximum of three) and include a short motivation on your choice(s). Also make sure to include a short introduction of you and your startup.
- Availability: StartLife checks if the mentor is available and interested.
- Introduction: StartLife connects you to the mentor for a one-on-one introduction meeting
- Agreement: Provided that you are both enthusiastic after the personal introduction meeting you sign a collaboration agreement with StartLife. In this agreement we formally lay out the terms and conditions of the support we provide and/or facilitate. (Not required if you already have a running collaboration agreement with StartLife.)
How is confidentiality assured?
All startup mentors have signed an agreement with StartLife through which confidentiality is assured.
Are there costs for joining the Startup Mentor Program?
No, the mentoring service is completely free of charge (in either direction).
Which startups are eligible for a StartLife mentorship?
Basically any impact-driven agrifood startup.