Become A Mentor

A critical component of successful entrepreneurship is the availability of qualified mentors. Mentors provide start-up ventures with invaluable advice, guidance, and networking to help them understand the business dynamics of their industry, avoid common mistakes and obtain funding and other support. The IDEA Mentor Network is seeking qualified mentors. To qualify, a mentor should have extensive business experience OR start up experience OR professional expertise. Mentoring new ventures or small businesses can be a very rewarding experience.


Join Us as a Mentor at the Rowan IDEA Center!


  1. What is Involved in Being an IDEA Mentor? Being an IDEA Mentor involves engaging with one or more IDEA start-up or small business ventures and providing them with advice based on the mentor’s career and life experiences. The mentor’s role is to advise them on how to overcome obstacles, steer them to create a viable business model, help them understand the business dynamics of their potential industry, and suggest strategic direction.
  2. What Types of Experience Should an IDEA Mentor Have?
    1. Start-up entrepreneurial experience which is particularly helpful for new ventures to help them deal with typical start up challenges such as developing their initial prototypes, establishing a legal structure, raising capital, building their organization, etc. Or…
    2. Direct industry experience is very useful for both small business founders and entrepreneurs. Each industry has its own set of business dynamics and having a mentor from that industry to lead the way can be incredibly valuable. Or…
    3. Specific Skill Sets, such as a trained lawyer, CFO or CPA, graphic design, marketing, etc.
  3. How Much Time is Mentoring Expected to Take? Quality mentoring is less about the time committed than about the quality of the advice provided. On average, a mentor can expect to spend between 2-4 hours per month (30 minutes to an hour per week) engaged with their venture.
  4. What are the Obligations of an IDEA Mentor? They are expected to treat their meetings or calls with their venture/small business as confidential and not disclose pertinent information to anyone outside of IDEA.. And they are expected to keep the IDEA Director informed on the venture’s status and progress.
  5. What Should the Mentor Expect of the Venture Relationship? The mentor should expect the entrepreneurs to treat their time with great respect and to listen carefully to their advice. Should the entrepreneur/Small business founder choose to not act on the mentor’s advice, they should be able to defend their decision so it is understood why. Having said this, it is a real privilege for entrepreneurs to have access to their mentor(s), so we rarely see a mentor’s advice go unheeded.
  6. What Benefits Accrue from Being an IDEA Mentor?
    1. Personal benefits of helping an entrepreneur move an exciting entrepreneurial project forward.
    2. Being closely associated with the IDEA Center and Rowan County’s economic development.
    3. Networking with other IDEA Mentors at IDEA Center events and mentor receptions.


Want to Participate? Want to know more? Let us know! Contact the Rowan IDEA Center at (704) 633-4221 or or complete the contact form below:

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