SFU Technology Business Mentorship Program

The SFU Technology Business Mentorship (TBM) program provides a venue for connecting entrepreneurs with experienced mentors and investors whose feedback will advance the development and financing of new technology-based ventures.

OBJECTIVES:

Interaction with mentors and investors is intended to assist participating entrepreneurs by:

  • Improving the “investor-readiness” of the venture by reviewing its business plan and the entrepreneur’s investor-pitch;
  • Assisting the company by reviewing its goals and aligning them with its strategy;
  • Reviewing all aspects of the company’s sales and marketing plan; and
  • Connecting the company with advisors, employees, investors and customers.

FORMAT:

Delivering on the above objectives occurs via the organization of three two-hour mentor panel meetings over a period of four months. The initial meeting is a “discovery” meeting where the entrepreneur presents the venture’s value proposition to customers and investors. The second meeting follows up on the panel’s feedback from the discovery meeting, and the final meeting tracks progress and explores next steps for the venture as it exits the program. Up to six mentors are recruited for each panel and are selected based on the technology domain and the needs of the venture.

Successful applicants make their pitch to the mentor panel and receive detailed feedback. To ensure, to the maximum extent possible, that the mentoring provided is acted upon, provision for follow up is provided in three ways:

  1. The mentor panel will nominate a “Lead Mentor” who will act as a point of contact to “check in” with the pitching company to ensure they are acting on the advice provided and to clarify it where necessary;
  2. Throughout the process, the Director of the program will provide mentoring assistance to the entrepreneur; and
  3. Following the third and final meeting, the Lead Mentor will assist the entrepreneur, if appropriate, in determining ongoing sources of mentorship.

SELECTING VENTURE PARTICIPANTS:

Eligibility is limited to BC-based new ventures that are:

  • Capable of executing on the plan they propose to present to a TBM panel;
  • Developing products or services that are based on proprietary intellectual property;
  • Have not participated in the SFU mentorship program within the past three years; and
  • Agree with the terms and conditions of the TBM program.

NOTE: Preference will be given to qualified ventures led by a member of the SFU community (e.g. SFU faculty, staff, students, alumni, SFU TIME incubator clients or WUTIF-investee companies).

There will be two rounds for selection of participants. Up to six applicants will be selected from the pool of eligible participants in each round for a consultation with the Program Director, Bob de Wit. The meeting will engage these ventures in discussing their objectives for participation and offer some initial feedback and suggestions to the company on achieving their goals. From this short list of applicants, two ventures will be selected to enter the 4-month mentoring process.

TIMELINE:

  First Round: Second Round:
Applications due: June 18, 2012 (5pm) August 2012 (TBA)
Meetings: June 20-27, 2012 September 2012 (TBA)
Selections announced: June 29, 2012 September 28, 2012
Mentors recruited: July 2012 October 2012
Panels convened: August 2012 November 2012
Panels completed: December 2012 March 2013

SUPPORT:

The SFU Technology Business Mentorship program is provided as a service to the community by the SFU Innovation Office and is supported in part by the National Research Council Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP).