The Venture Forum has launched a mentoring program, which will pair veteran CEOs of growth businesses with their less experienced counterparts for two hours of mentoring each month.
The Venture Forum promotes entrepreneurial activity around Central Virginia. The application form can be found here.
“You can give a lot of good advice to someone in just a couple of hours,” said Charles McCabe, president and founder of Peoples Income Tax and a Venture Forum member who helped bring the idea to fruition. The right mentoring partner can provide motivation, honesty and critical support. (Read more about the benefits mentoring in this great Entrepreneur magazine story.)
Dubbed the Entrepreneurs in Transition Mentoring Network, the program is open to CEOs of companies with minimum annual revenue of $100,000, although McCabe said the Venture Forum might consider exceptions. CEOs seeking a mentor need not be Venture Forum members; however they must not be in “lifestyle” businesses and must be committed to growing the business and hiring additional employees. CEOs on the receiving end of the program must also volunteer to mentor other, less experienced CEO.
Consultants who have not owned growth companies may sign up to be mentors, but they must be Venture Forum members.
The idea was born in a Venture Forum committee about a year ago. McCabe, the chair of the committee, said the goal is to engage more CEOs of entrepreneurial growth companies to participate in the Venture Forum, and to attract them to the events.
“After a couple of meetings, we realized the most valuable service we could provide to the CEO of an emerging company would be to provide advice and the best source of that advice is from another CEO who’s gotten to a certain level,” McCabe said.
The Venture Forum is not the first to wade into the mentoring waters. The Richmond Chapter of the Society Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) matches entrepreneurs with mentors, although SCORE advisors often gained most of their experience working in big companies rather than start-ups.
The Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce also offers mentoring through the Small Business Development Center.