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What Can I Do?

Our volunteers motivate faculty and students to plan and launch businesses and commercialize innovative technologies, coach them on strategies to facilitate their success, and connect them with resources and contacts that will enable them to launch promising startups that accelerate economic development in our region.

We will tailor your volunteer involvement to suit your personal schedule and needs. Registering as a mentor is simply a show of interest. We will contact you directly to confirm your availability and our need.

Specific volunteer functions include:

Sounding Board


· Sounding board volunteers respond via email and/or telephone to ad hoc student/faculty inquiries that usually sound like, “I have an idea for a new business…What do you think?”

· They provide feedback on early stage business concepts, and refer students to Center staff for information regarding helpful courses, student organizations, and extracurricular programs.


· It is approximately a 30 minute volunteer commitment per inquiry.

· Demand will likely be highest in fall and spring semesters when most students are in session.


Competition Judge


· Attend elevator pitch or business plan competitions

· Ask questions / Appraise pitches and presentations

· Provide written or verbal feedback during the competition


· Judges are needed toward the end of fall and spring semesters  (e.g., around early December and April) in new venture planning courses (e.g., ENTR2001, ENTR5070, ENTR7005).

· Judges are also needed for our competitions (e.g.., Innovation Quest Elevator Pitch Competition (early April), Professor Charles Matthews Competition (e.g., around early December and April).

· It is approximately a 2-4 hour volunteer commitment for a competition.


Guest Speaker


· Coordinate with faculty to determine relevant topics from your area(s) of expertise

· Prepare meaningful content for use in the classroom, or at club or program events  (e.g., presentations, handouts, exercises, etc.)

· Deliver content in-person and/or via technology


· Speakers are in needed in a variety of entrepreneurship courses in all semesters (e.g., fall, spring and summer).

· It is approximately a 2 hour volunteer commitment in addition to the time you need to prepare your presentation/materials.


Course Team Mentor


· Course Team Mentors coach participants in an entrepreneurship course on presenting an elevator pitch, making a presentation to bankers/investors, and writing a detailed business plan.

· They motivate and inspire participants to launch the business they are planning. They help them to qualify for funding from the Center and/or elsewhere (e.g., Bearcat BridgeFund)

· You must be willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement if requested by the students, though some teams may seek to partner with you in launching their venture. (Your involvement in the launch is not mandatory, but is encouraged.)


· This is a semester long commitment that involves meeting 2-4 times per month with students. You can expect to attend some class sessions with the team and arrange for team meetings as needed.

· We need volunteers primarily in the fall and spring semesters in new venture planning courses like ENTR7005 and ENTR5070.

· Multiple mentors with diverse skillsets may be assigned to each team as needed to ensure adequate support.

· It is approximately a 20 hour volunteer commitment.


Competition Team Mentor


· The duties of Competition Team Mentors are similar to Course Team Mentors (see above), but the students are generally not enrolled in a course.

· Competition Team Mentors prepare students to succeed in internal and external competitions including, but not limited to Innovation Quest Elevator Pitch Competition,   Ohio Clean Energy Competition, Cardinal Challenge, Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition.


· This is typically a 1-3 month commitment that involves multiple meetings and communications with the students leading up to the competition.

· Multiple mentors with diverse skillsets may be assigned to each team as needed to ensure adequate support.

· It is approximately a 20 hour volunteer commitment.


Venture Launch Mentor


· It is common for Venture Launch Mentors to have worked with students in other mentoring capacities prior to volunteering to continue working with them as a Venture Launch Mentor

· The role includes guiding faculty/students in taking initial steps toward launching their new venture.


· Once a team is ready to launch, ongoing support may be needed from time to time. The level of mentoring support needed varies from team to team.

· In this role, there may be meaningful opportunities for you to partner with the faculty/students in the launch of the new venture and/or commercialization of a new technology.


Faculty Entrepreneur Mentor


· Faculty entrepreneurs often enlist the support of their (graduate) students in developing technologies, evaluating the commercial viability of their inventions, and writing business plans. They often request their students to enroll in business planning courses (e.g., ENTR7005) to ensure they have support from entrepreneurship faculty. In such cases the duties and time commitment of Faculty Entrepreneur Mentors are similar to those of the Course Team Mentors (see above), with the exception that the mentor interacts directly with the faculty entrepreneur as well as the students.

· In other cases, faculty may choose to work directly with the volunteer mentor.


· Time commitment varies in this role, but you can anticipate 30+ hours.

· In this role, there may be meaningful opportunities for you to partner with the faculty/students in the launch of a new venture and/or commercialization of a new technology.