The Chance to Merge Business Acumen with Social Impact
Mentoring is the core of our Social Innovation Accelerator (SIA) Program. SIA mentors share the belief that social entrepreneurs are the cornerstones of change. Teams selected as SIA Fellows receive comprehensive support to help them refine their business and financial models and launch their products and services.
Fellows attend Bootcamp, regularly scheduled workshops, status meetings with United Way staff and their mentors and networking opportunities designed to enable them to develop greater clarity about growing their business sustainably and foster the growth of Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship in North Texas.
Who are SIA Mentors?
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Our mentors are successful entrepreneurs, business executives, academic thought-leaders, social change makers, leading philanthropists, public policy advocates, investors and consultants.
We believe that their experience, networks, knowledge of the private as well as the public sector and pragmatism are the key elements that enable our social entrepreneurs to move forward faster and build sustainable businesses that make a lasting change in our community.
What do SIA Mentors do?
Mentors play an important, active role in ongoing training, development and follow-up for a specific team(s) during their Fellowship. Mentors and teams will be matched based on the mentor’s subject matter expertise, experience and interests and the unique needs of each team. The ultimate role of the mentor is to help their team refine their business model, improve their product/service, and grow their business during the accelerator program. Ideally, mentors continue a relationship with the team post-graduation thereby strengthening the ties and impact of the program throughout the community.
As new Fellows are selected we work to match them with Mentors whose skills match the challenges the team is facing. Teams can be assigned a Lead Mentor along with additional mentors to address particular needs, or a variety of strategic mentors can work with teams over time. Mentors assigned to a team must commit to the minimum time required for mentoring activities. As the Fellows grow within the Accelerator their needs may change, as such, Mentors (other than the Lead Mentor) may rotate off and on teams throughout the year.
- Status Meetings: In monthly status meetings, mentors and fellows come together to address specific challenges they are facing; e.g. how to manage cash flow problems or how to price their product or service. Mentors’ experience in the private sector often provides perspective on the issues and challenges facing our teams and insight into solutions from the business which they may not have thought of.
- Making Introductions: Sometimes the opportunity to speak with the “right person” is all it takes to unblock a critical situation and allow a project to grow. Along each mentor’s career, they’ve built an extensive network. Often mentors’ relationships can give a much-needed lift to the development of a social venture. We ask that mentors “open their rolodex” by helping to connect teams to resources.
- Be a Lead Mentor: Lead mentors are assigned to a specific team and dedicate time to coordinate the efforts of other mentors assigned to the team to provide a consistent set of advice and recommendations to the team.
- Milestone Lunches & Pitch Practices: Outside of Pitch Days, additional opportunities are available throughout the year for Fellows to share their milestone progress or pitches to the entire mentor group for review and feedback. These sessions are critical to broaden the exposure of the team, gain insights from mentors who may not work with them on a regular basis, and prepare the team for future fundraising efforts.
How do I become a SIA Mentor?
SIA mentor spots are currently full. If you’re interested in becoming a mentor in the future, please fill out this interest form. We will keep it on file to reference when we are looking to add new members in the future.