After presenting to my thesis committee, one of the pieces of feedback I received was that I was too focused on just the conversation between the mentor and entrepreneur. They asked me to take a bigger perspective to understand to structure of the system around the request for mentoring form, and how the different pieces of the puzzle would then fit together.
To answer this question from my thesis committee, I had to go back to my notes I took while meeting with Garrett from Good Company Group. While Garrett and I were discussing applications of my thesis research, he sketched out a rough framework of a mentoring network. He pointed out four major segments to this mentoring network.
The first segment includes all possible entrepreneurs that are interested in mentoring, which means that the first segment also has to create a filter that weeds out entrepreneurs that aren't committed to their business and moving it forward.
The second segment is the group of entrepreneurs that have passed the initial business readiness filter. This group of entrepreneurs may then submit requests for mentoring when they want to have a mentoring session. However, a key factor that Garrett pointed out is that mentors are a valuable resource, their time is valuable so it shouldn't be wasted. To ration mentoring to the group of entrepreneurs in segment two, we can look at three possible areas to design a mechanism that prevents over-usage of the mentors. The first area is frequency and is determined by the amount of times an entrepreneur meets with mentors. The second area is feedback from the mentor to the mentoring network, letting the mentoring network know that the entrepreneur did not value his or her time. The third area is price, which basically means the entrepreneur would have to pay a small sum in order to meet. For example, this could be from purchasing the mentors coffee, to paying ten to twenty dollars. The purpose for price is to create a sense of value of the time the mentor spends with the entrepreneur.
The third segment includes the organizations within Philadelphia, or any other startup ecosystem, that acts as an interface between the mentors and the entrepreneurs. Essentially, the matchmaking group receives the request for mentoring form from the entrepreneurs in segment two, and then sends it off to the group of mentors in segment four. The organizations in segment three can also provide a space for the mentor and the entrepreneur to meet and discuss the entrepreneur's business.
The fourth segment includes mentors from various areas including business development, customer development, finance, fundraising, legal, marketing, operations, product development, sales, and team. Furthermore, there would have to be a hierarchy in place that would allow for a time manager to know the schedules of all the mentors from each mentoring area. The time manager would then distribute out the request for mentoring form to the mentor that has time to meet.
Finally, the match is made and the entrepreneur meets with the mentor.
To second iteration of the mentoring network visual.
To Table of Contents.