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About Venture Mentoring Service

Venture Mentoring Service (VMS) supports entrepreneurial activity within the RIT community, focusing primarily on startup companies that are members of Venture Creations, RIT’s business incubator.

Today's emerging entrepreneurs, face an unusually fast-moving and competitive business environment. The speed of technological changes, accelerated product cycles, global competition and sophisticated financing strategies often demand resources and experience beyond the reach of the typical start-up. Through its unique mentoring process, VMS offers the help that's needed to confront these complexities.

The resources of VMS are offered without charge to all members of the RIT community who are actively connected to a venture, through Venture Creations, as a founder/principal or executive/officer.  VMS complements and works cooperatively with Venture Creations to promote entrepreneurship and provide resources to encourage formation of businesses and to move technological knowledge from the laboratory to the marketplace.

Who are the mentors? What are their backgrounds?

VMS mentors are seasoned entrepreneurs and highly-experienced professionals or executives from diverse backgrounds and industries. What they share is their passion (and patience) for helping high-potential firms.

Mentors come from a mix of industries and provide assistance with a broad range of business activity, including product development, marketing, building industry alliances, intellectual property law, finance, human resources, and founders issues.

What are the characteristics of a good mentor?

  • Respected by colleagues; a role model
  • Has significant experience and domain expertise
  • Enthusiasm for the program; desire to “give back”
  • Will share of their knowledge and guidance freely
  • Socratic approach; they don’t force an opinion onto a company.  They ask thoughtful questions and let them get there on their own.
  • Time to participate
  • High credibility; will work with the companies pro bono, without expectation of reward or compensation
  • Ability to advise and coach in an unbiased manner
  • Comfortable with team mentoring

Become a Mentor

VMS mentors are recruited not only for their expertise in business formation, strategic planning, organizational management, and specific technical fields but also for their skills as advisors and their enthusiasm for the program.

Every mentor must sign a statement agreeing to abide by a Statement of Guidelines for Mentors that describes the VMS organizational structure and operating rules. Two core principles in this statement are in regard to confidentiality and conflict of interest. No VMS volunteer is allowed to invest in or receive compensation from a venture he or she is currently advising.

By joining our program, you help us achieve our mission to support entrepreneurial activity within the RIT community and, thereby, to further the educational mission of RIT.

For more information, please contact the VMS Coordinator, Jane Tibbitts via e-mail at or by phone at 585-475-7953.

About RIT’s Venture Creations

RIT’s Venture Creations incubator is a place where mid-seed companies can advance their concepts on the way to joining the ranks of profitable, viable businesses in New York State.  Located at 125 Tech Park Drive, adjacent to the RIT campus, we support our member companies through our two-fold mission:

  • To support the creation of new businesses which create jobs in Western New York.
  • To provide experiential learning in entrepreneurship to RIT’s students and faculty.

Businesses must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • An RIT student, faculty, staff, or alumnus as a founding partner; or
  • Technology in one of RIT’s core competencies of Imaging, Sustainability, or Bio-X; or
  • Technology in renewable fuels or clean energy for admission into the Clean Energy Incubator

In pursuit of our mission, we provide companies with:

  • Experienced on-site staff that can provide assistance in evaluating business plans or preparing grant applications, and coaching guidance in the development of your business.
  • Access to RIT’s Faculty and wide range of resources
  • Access to our service provider network
  • Connections to potential investors
  • Student co-ops and interns

For more information, please feel free to contact:

125 Tech Park Drive
Rochester, NY 14623
Phone: 585-239-6000