Make a difference
The importance of mentorship
The key to the success in offering regional training programs is high-quality mentors. The Hub utilizes a pool of mentors who play an active role in the weekly coaching of specific teams. As a mentor, you are an extension of the teaching team and you share responsibility for the success or failure of your teams.
In a few short weeks, your teams have to get outside the classroom, conduct 10+ customer interviews and test their business model hypotheses. Members of your team have minimal formal teaching on business basics. This is where you and your expertise come in.
To the best of your ability, help them network, teach them how to engage with customers and make cold calls, conduct interviews to understand customer jobs and unmet needs, point out their confirmation biases and help them synthesize their learnings. Open your Rolodex to whatever level you feel comfortable.
Your role is to help the teams to test their hypotheses about their business model. It’s not just to introduce them to people who you think will buy from them. That’s helpful, but not enough to create the foundation for a company.
Mentors should be:
- Experienced entrepreneurs or corporate innovators in any sector/industry
- Comfortable working with early-stage, deep-tech teams (faculty, postdoctoral researchers, graduate students and undergraduates)
- Able to “lead from behind” and serve as a coach, not as a consultant, with a respectfully direct approach
- Able to commit the time to help teams within their area of expertise (roughly 5 hours/week) - and possibly join the team to participate in the national I-Corps program
- Representative of our nation's diverse population, and respectful of diverse backgrounds, viewpoints and cultures of participating teams.
- Working with incredibly smart, motivated technologists and helping them make an impact in the world by translating their technology into societal benefits
- Learning about cutting-edge technology that has the potential to disrupt the status quo
- Networking with other mentors
- Finding your next gig: Some mentors join their team's startup, if one forms, in key leadership positions
- Possibility of joining a team in the national I-Corps program which provides additional training, networking and resources
- If appropriate, advancing into an instructor role
Mentors are not asked to sign NDAs and are therefore expected to be able to handle confidential information sensitively. Mentors should not have any financial or personal conflicts of interest with any team in the cohort they are mentoring and, if they do, should immediately disclose it to Hub leadership.
If interested in serving as a mentor, please complete the Mentor Application form.