What is Venture Mentoring Services?
Venture Mentoring Services (VMS) is a mentoring program designed to facilitate relationships between students and successful business leaders. The program offers two categories: student advisement and team mentoring. Advisement mentoring is a one-on-one preparatory service. This is usually followed by team mentoring, which provides three mentors for each student team to create a coactive environment and helps give students the best chance to successfully launch their venture.
Who is eligible to participate?
VMS currently offers services to all BYU students who want to start their own business. The student must be the entrepreneur of the venture and be active in the company as a founder. In addition, the entrepreneur and the venture must both be based in Utah.
Are there prerequisites for students seeking VMS?
VMS students must meet certain prerequisites prior to any mentoring.
Are students responsible for any fees or considerations?
VMS services are offered free of charge and VMS does not ask for any equity. Relationships with mentors are voluntary.
Who are mentors?
Mentors are successful business leaders and entrepreneurs, many of whom are BYU alumni. Most live in the local area; however, our network is worldwide. They have agreed to share their time and expertise to help the next generation of business leaders. Some mentors are also venture capitalists and angel investors. There is no obligation to ask for or accept investment should the topic arise.
How are mentor matches arranged?
The formation of a relationship between a mentor and a student is purely voluntary. Once signed up, a student selects a mentor from GetMentoring.com. Mentors provide bios of themselves describing their interests, areas of expertise, and availability. In specific cases, VMS will facilitate and track relationships between students and mentors. These are typically for students who have completed their business model and plans, formed a team, and are getting ready to compete in collegiate events, and perhaps have already entered the marketplace. On occasion VMS may not have the appropriate resources and may have to decline a request for assistance.
Will my idea be kept confidential?
As part of the Mentor Code of Conduct, mentors agree to keep your ideas confidential.
How do I sign up for a mentor?
Only after you have completed the prerequisites may you have access to our mentor network. You will need your BYU Net ID and password. Once you are signed up, you will have access to our entire mentor network. Please be mindful of your mentor’s time and keep his or her information private. It may take several attempts to contact a mentor, so please be patient and persistent within reason. Always remember that you represent BYU and that you must adhere to the Student Code of Conduct.
Can I request more than one mentor at a time?
Yes, it is permissible to have more than one mentor. The VMS program is designed through GetMentoring.com to help students find an initial mentor for advisement. If the student gains traction with their business idea and decides to move forward in business competitions or in the marketplace, VMS will facilitate team mentoring relationships with additional mentors as needed.
How much time will be involved in the mentoring relationship?
We ask both the mentor and student to commit to a minimum of two hours per month. Generally, the time commitment ranges from a few hours per month to several hours per week, depending on the preferences of both the student and the mentor. It is up to the student and the mentor to decide together what works best for them.
How long should I expect to remain in this mentoring relationship?
The length of the mentoring relationship officially lasts during the BYU academic tenure of the student; however, that does not mean that the relationship has to end. VMS’s goal is to develop long-term relationships between mentors and students.
What if there is a problem with my mentoring relationship?
If you are experiencing any problems in your relationship or have any questions, please notify the VMS staff so we can help you. We want you to have a satisfying experience, and, when appropriate, we may intervene and work toward possible solutions that will improve the relationship.
For students: Why was I declined?
There are a variety of reasons why your requested mentor might have declined you, some which have nothing to do with you personally. It may be an especially busy time for the mentor, or the mentor does not think it would be a good fit. Do not get discouraged. Just go back into the system and request another mentor.
How do I become a mentor?
Because mentoring is such a vital role to the success of the students and their businesses, we engage people by invitation only. Find someone who is a BYU VMS mentor and have them recommend you. You may also contact the Rollins Center and schedule a phone or face-to-face interview with one of our VMS staff. You will receive your invitation via email along with step-by-step instructions explaining how to complete the sign up process. See Becoming a Mentor on the VMS Mentor page.
I have signed up as a mentor. Now what?
Students will have access to your info on GetMentoring.com and will select you based on the relevance of your bio to their endeavor.
I signed up as a mentor. Why haven't I been requested yet?
Only in specific circumstances does VMS match mentors with students; otherwise, requests are based on student interest in mentor profiles. Students search for mentors in the GetMentoring.com database, so make sure your profile is complete. To update your profile, log in to GetMentoring.com and select “Edit Profile.”
Are there rules VMS mentors must follow?
See the VMS Mentor page. Among other prerequisites, VMS mentors are required to sign our Mentor Code of Conduct.
Can a mentor invest in a student's business?
These are at-will relationships. BYU does not endorse or prevent any outside investment. The topics and decisions are left between the mentor and the student.