All entrepreneurs and members of entrepreneurial teams who participate in the RIT Venture Mentoring Service (VMS) should understand and are expected to abide by the following basic rules and principles:
- RIT VMS entrepreneurs are expected to commit to a sustained relationship with RIT VMS, and to be professional, open, and responsive to the volunteer mentors who work with them.
- RIT VMS entrepreneurs must adhere to RIT policies and directives, including those regarding the use of RIT resources. All applicants for RIT VMS services must complete a Venture Application Form, Venture Acknowledgements and Release Form and adhere to the Venture Reporting Requirements.
- Mentor(s) will be assigned by the Venture Creations Director to each RIT VMS entrepreneur/entrepreneurial team. RIT VMS entrepreneurs are expected to notify the VMS Coordinator promptly to describe any problems or changes in their mentor relationships, or to request replacement of a mentor or to gain assignment of additional mentors.
- It is expected that the entrepreneur will be in meaningful contact with the mentor at a minimum of once per month. Entrepreneurs are required to submit meeting agendas at least three days prior to each mentor session, and meeting summaries within 24 hours after each mentor session, and should apprise RIT VMS on progress once every two months. During crucial times, contact may be more frequent and after mutual “graduation”, contact may drop to quarterly reviews. In addition, there must be mutual agreement that the relationship between the entrepreneur and RIT VMS is beneficial.
- RIT VMS entrepreneurs are responsible for providing RIT VMS, to the best of their ability, with accurate information regarding their venture, and for identifying any current or potential claims on, or liabilities of, their business. All identified proprietary information provided by entrepreneurs will be maintained in strict confidence by RIT VMS.
- RIT VMS entrepreneurs should understand that any RIT VMS mentor who enters into a financial, equity or compensated business relationship with a RIT VMS venture or entrepreneur must resign his or her position as mentor to the entrepreneur and/or venture involved. This resignation and proposed financial, equity or compensated business relationship must be submitted to the RIT VMS Coordinator.
- With RIT’s permission, RIT VMS entrepreneurs may include the RIT Venture Mentoring Service name in their written business plan or company description, or mention RIT VMS in their written fund raising presentations. Names of individual RIT VMS mentors may be used if permission is given by the individual mentor.
- RIT VMS reserves the right to disassociate from any entrepreneur who fails to comply with RIT VMS rules, act in accordance with RIT VMS principles or fail to keep up the sustained relationship as outlined in (1) above.
Because VMS is almost entirely a volunteer service, we need your help in tracking meetings and advice. In exchange for receiving mentoring services, please provide the following to the VMS Coordinator, Jane Tibbitts via e-mail at email@example.com:
- When scheduling meetings with your mentors, prepare and submit a short agenda covering the anticipated topics to be covered.
- Submit a short meeting summary including action items after each VMS session. Feedback is also requested but not required.
- Provide a brief company update (e.g., milestones reached, major customers, investments, etc.) and send to the VMS Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org every two months.
- For all correspondence, include your company name and VMS (as well as topic) in the subject of your e-mail.
Here are a few guidelines:
- In most cases, the timing of the next meeting will be determined by you and your progress.
- When you contact the VMS Coordinator to request scheduling a meeting, please prepare a short list of the agenda items you would like to cover at that meeting.
- The finalized agenda must be provided to the VMS Coordinator and your mentor team at least three days prior to your meeting to assist them in preparing their thoughts. A sample agenda template is available for download from the RIT VMS website.
- You may also include any additional materials you believe would be useful.
- The number of mentor sessions you hold will depend on your stage of company, current needs, and agreements with your mentor team.
- A sample agenda template is available for download from the RIT VMS website.
Submit the meeting summary within 24 hours of the meeting to your mentor team and the VMS Coordinator via e-mail at email@example.com.
- Include a list of the participants at the meeting.
- Detailed minutes of the meeting are not required. Just describe the major topics and issues that were covered and any critical items that arose in discussion.
- List your homework assignments or any “To Do” items, including any for the mentors or VMS.
- Don’t worry about your prose, an outline or bullet points are just fine. Most summaries will be ½ to ¾ of a page.
- A sample meeting summary template is available for download from the RIT VMS website.
Please also send any comments/suggestions for improvement to the VMS Coordinator via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would really appreciate receiving your feedback. This helps us in our efforts to ensure that we are providing you with a high quality of service. Your comments will not be included with your meeting notes. Instead, they will be kept separately and confidentially within the VMS office for use in helping us to evaluate and improve our services. If you have shared any of your comments with your mentor team for improving the process, please indicate so.
- Rate the meeting on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the best.
- Comment on what you liked and/or what you found most helpful.
- Comment on what you didn't like and/or what you would change.
- Provide any additional thoughts, comments, or suggestions.
As stated in the Rules for Participating Entrepreneurs, VMS expects a brief company report at least every two months. If your status changes please inform your lead mentor. If communication has lapsed, your lead mentor or the VMS staff will check in with you periodically regarding your status and your progress. We expect you to respond to these inquiries in a timely fashion, even if your response is just to let us know that you are busy right now or not in need of VMS services at the moment. We also expect you to let us know when you need us and what kind of help you need. Please don’t wait for us to contact you. We encourage you to email or call with questions, meeting requests, other needs, and concerns as they come up. We will make every effort to respond in a timely and helpful fashion. Of course, if you give us some lead time, it’s easier to make sure that we can set up a meeting or help in other ways.