Mentors

Start:ME recruits and deploys experienced groups of professional mentors to provide critical support for participating micro-entrepreneurs. Mentors provide ideas and feedback, and look for opportunities to connect our entrepreneurs to individuals and opportunities that will further support their businesses.

Ideally, individuals selected as Start:ME mentors should:

  • Have experience establishing a successful business and/or experience in the business environment;
  • Have demonstrated affinity for finance and accounting, business planning, operations, marketing and/or business law;
  • Have demonstrated passion for community development;
  • Be able to commit to attend at least every other session (a total of 6-8 sessions);
  • Have time available between sessions to work directly with entrepreneurs;
  • Weekly sessions are tentatively scheduled Tuesday evenings from 6 - 9 pm at St. Andrews Church.

Estimated time commitment is 35-40 hours over 3 months.

How Does the Mentor Program Operate

Mentor application graphic

Mentors will participate in an on boarding session in early January 2017. Mentors will then be introduced to micro-entrepreneurs during one of two pre-program sessions.

During the first half of the program, entrepreneurs have the opportunity to work with a number of different mentors. This is done by carefully rotating table assignments over the first few weeks. During this initial period, we gather feedback on which mentors are forming strong working relationships with which entrepreneurs.

In the second half of the program, we leverage these early positive experiences by matching specific entrepreneurs with dedicated mentors. Time is set aside before each session for mentors to discuss the progression of each entrepreneur with Start:ME program managers. After each session, participating mentors provide feedback via email on their recent interactions with assigned entrepreneurs.

Content Facilitators

Start:ME recruits and deploys experienced groups of business professional to provide critical support for participating micro-entrepreneurs. Content Facilitators provide session instruction in their area of expertise, and look for opportunities to connect our entrepreneurs to individuals and opportunities that will further support their businesses.
Ideally, individuals selected as Start:ME content facilitators should:

  • Have experience establishing a successful business and/or experience in the business environment;
  • Have demonstrated affinity for finance and accounting, business planning, operations, marketing and/or business law;
  • Have demonstrated passion for community development;
  • Be able to commit to attend 1 - 2 sessions
  • Be able to act as a resource for entrepreneurs after the sessions;
  • Weekly sessions are tentatively scheduled Tuesday evenings from 6 - 9 pm at St. Andrews church;

Estimated time commitment is 3-6 hours over 3 months.

How Does the Facilitator Program Operate Content Facilitator graphic

Facilitators will participate in an on boarding session in early January 2017.

Facilitators will work directly with entrepreneurs by presenting their content during part of their assigned weekly session (usually 1 - 1.5 hours), and moderating a QandA session relating to the topic.

Facilitators are needed for the following subject matters: Accounting

  • Human Resources
  • Business Law
  • Business Plan Development
  • Communication And Presentation Skills
  • Developing Financial Plans
  • Defining Your Market and Understanding Customers
  • Marketing
  • Negotiating
  • Networking
  • Working in Your Community
  • Working with Lenders

Lender Panelist

Start:ME brings in financial professionals from the local lending community with small business lending experience to simulate the loan request process and to provide critical feedback to our entrepreneurs. Lender Panelists are asked to participate in one to three dedicated sessions over the 14 weeks. During scheduled sessions, panelists listen to presentations and requests from entrepreneurs, ask a series of questions about loan requests, and then provide specific ideas and feedback after the loan request simulations. We also ask our Lender Panelists to look for opportunities to connect entrepreneurs to individuals and opportunities that might further accelerate their businesses.

Ideally, individuals selected as Lender Panelists should have:

  • Experience with small business lending i.e. some familiarity with decision criteria, expectations, and various lending processes.
  • The ability to translate finance and banking terms into everyday language using simple examples
  • A passion for community development and for coaching high-potential entrepreneurs.
  • The ability to commit to at least one of the three scheduled Lender Panel sessions.

Weekly sessions are tentatively scheduled Tuesday evenings from 6 to 9 PM at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church.

Estimated time commitment is 3 to 9 hours over 3 months.

How Do the Start:ME Lender Panels Work?

Financial management and lending are core curriculum topics that we revisit multiple times over the 14 week program. Given the target entrepreneurs for our program, simple debt rather than equity investments will be the primary types of early-stage capital. The first session is a discussion about demystifying lending, accessing capital and credit scores. Sessions two and three are simulated experiences where entrepreneurs meet with "bankers" and practice initiating normal lending processes.

Entrepreneurs present business plans, basic financials, and structured loan requests. Feedback and coaching are provided to each entrepreneur at the end of each simulation to help them strengthen their pitches in the weeks ahead. This feedback comes from Lender Panelists, and from the mentors and other entrepreneurs that are watching each simulation.