Back in May, I wrote about the tech startup incubator program that Trey and I were participating in. The program (Founder Institute) was extremely intensive, really challenging, and very worthwhile, and we are now close to launching our first real mobile app.
One key element of the incubator program, and a pervasive part of the tech startup culture, is the idea of mentorship.
You’ll sometimes find mentorship in the nonprofit world, but it’s not pervasive and even when you find it the notion is typically much less rigorous and structured than we are finding in the tech startup world. Most of the serial entrepreneurs we’ve worked with have had mentors, most proudly talk about them and their ongoing relationships, and those relationships are often structured and even formalized through written agreements.
While I’m sure there are plenty of internet technology entrepreneurs that don’t have mentors, it’s a deep-seated part of the culture that, in my experience, exemplifies a strong ethic across the community of the experienced folks supporting the newer ones. The mentors themselves learn through the teaching, the new folks are more likely to succeed, and the entire community of entrepreneurs is strengthened.
The nonprofit community is dense with the entire spectrum of experience, from total newbies to grizzled veterans. Finding ways to strengthen the notion of mentorship as part of the nonprofit culture seems like a high-return opportunity.
A useful links: