As a mentor you will:

  • Listen and relate to challenges that local entrepreneurs are facing as they start and grow their business
  • Share your knowledge, skills, expertise, and connections
  • Build your own leadership skills and give back to the community to positively impact lives and livelihoods
  • Connect with like-minded professionals

One-to-one mentoring

Are you an experienced business owner wanting to mentor and give back to new or soon-to-be business owners? You’ll be matched with a new entrepreneur for an eight-month mentoring relationship.

Who should mentor?

SMARTstart Airdrie recruits mentors who:

  • Have more than seven years’ experience running a business (retirees welcome)
  • Are willing to volunteer approximately 30 hours over eight months with a new entrepreneur
  • Are local to the Airdrie area and are knowledgeable about business in Airdrie
  • Understand and value the importance of business planning

What does a one-to-one mentor do?

The mentor provides support and input as the entrepreneur builds their business acumen. The mentor’s role is to guide, not solve problems or take on the entrepreneur’s business dilemmas.

Over the course of the 8-month program (March – October) mentors will:

  • Meet with their entrepreneur at least three times and be in regular touch by phone or email
  • Attend the Welcome Event, Celebration Event and at least one Peer-to-Peer session
  • Be welcome to attend any of the in-person workshops for the entrepreneurs (optional but encouraged)
  • Be instrumental in assisting the entrepreneur as they create a plan (business, feasibility or strategic). The mentor reviews drafts of the plan (and financial statements) and provides timely feedback to the entrepreneur
  • Participate in a mentor training/orientation session

How does it work?

Mentors are paired with an entrepreneur for the duration of the program. The matching is based on the mentor’s strengths and the entrepreneur’s needs. Before they are paired, mentors and entrepreneurs have an opportunity to meet at a networking evening. Once paired, the first task is to complete a Mentor-Entrepreneur agreement to outline expectations, goals and other details about the relationship.

Team mentoring

Are you an accomplished entrepreneur, C-suite executive, or functional expert who wants to  work as a team with other mentors to help a local business grow and scale? You and 2-3 other mentors will be matched with one business and participate in ongoing monthly mentoring sessions.

Who should mentor?

AdvanceSMART recruits mentors who:

  • Have 10+ years experience scaling their own businesses, as C-suite executives or functional experts
  • Are willing to volunteer approximately 6-8 hours per month, on average
  • Live inside or outside of Airdrie, to provide the diversity of support required by high growth businesses
  • Are empathetic, great listeners, assertive and motivated to help
  • Are enthusiastic about working in a team mentoring model and willing to work within a structured program

What does a team-based mentor do?

The mentor team provides entrepreneurs a temporary board of advisors to help reach ambitious growth goals and build successful companies. The mentor team’s role is to guide, not solve problems or take on the entrepreneur’s business dilemmas.

Time commitment

One time only

  • Complete a day-long mentor training program grounded on building coaching skills
  • Participate in a one hour mentor orientation to become familiar with team mentoring protocols

Ongoing

  • Monthly team mentoring sessions of 90 minutes in length. These meetings may be virtual or in-person – you and the team are in charge of how you connect
  • Communications from Program Coordinator (every 2-3 weeks), session prep and follow-up time (1-2 hours per team per month)
  • Quarterly mentor community meetings (90 minutes)
  • Ideally participate in a minimum of two mentor teams at any given time
  • Optional opportunities to connect with the larger mentor and entrepreneur community (SMARTstart and AdvanceSMART programs)

How does it work?

Mentor and entrepreneur teams are formed based on the needs and preferences of the business and the interests of the available mentors. Entrepreneurs who demonstrate they are serious about learning (and are making progress) are provided the option to renew/recommit to the program on a quarterly basis, remaining in the program for up to 15 months with a possibility of extension. Mentor team makeup may change as the entrepreneur’s needs and goals change, meaning you may be shifted between teams as determined by your skillset.

Once matched, the first task is to complete a Mentor-Entrepreneur agreement to outline expectations, goals and other details about the relationship.

Team mentorship benefits

AdvanceSMART consists of volunteer mentors, who are overseen and supported in their mentoring role by Airdrie Entrepreneur Common’s Program Coordinators.

  • Join a community of accomplished leaders who share your passion and commitment for advancing Airdrie’s entrepreneurial ecosystem
  • As a member of a team, the responsibility of guiding an entrepreneur is distributed and doesn’t rely solely on one mentor’s shoulders
  • The Program Coordinators handle the administrative work so you can focus on mentorship
  • Build your own leadership and mentoring skillset within monthly team meetings and quarterly mentor community meetings (where the emphasis is on sharing best practices and forming meaningful connections)