Part of our Incubator Programme involves matching the start-up businesses with a local mentor to provide additional guidance and act as a sounding board. As we understand that most people are bandwidth poor, we created some basic guidelines to ease some of the mentoring fears regarding expected timescales: one hour per month face-to-face with additional access for advice and guidance available through email or telephone (within reason).
The matching process between mentor and mentee is critical in ensuring that the relationship provides the best outcomes for both parties. Whilst there is no specific requirement to match mentors and mentees from the same industry or sector, thought should be given to any potential conflicts of mismatches in terms of specific markets, technical levels and the like.
- Create a list of mentors willing to be involved, even if there are no specific matches at the time.
- Carefully match mentors to mentees bearing in mind they don't need to be in the same sector, but carry out an assessment beforehand to ensure they won't have technical, market, demographic differences that could affect the relationship.
- Create a basic template of mentor expectations, such that the mentors are aware of the requirements and time you are asking for.