Mentors are the backbone of every accelerator and incubator since they are the ones the program built on. Great mentors are hard to find, so what can you offer them to get them on board is what 5 ways to compensate mentors will be discussing.
- Fee. The most obvious one is payment- you can agree on an hourly cost and have them track it or a lump sum based on the number of teams they are working with. Fee might be a motivating factor, but if you are going for the best of the best, they have usually already made an exit or otherwise found success in which case money is not going to get them moving.
- Possibility to connect themselves with a world class accelerator. Now this is the best reward ever. Imagine being able to say you were the mentor of for example Y-Combinator, that is the ultimate credit a mentor can get and this is something that motivates mentors to participate. The more you make your incubator or accelerator stand out and get good press, the more you will see mentors wanting to join and contribute.
- Networking with other mentors. Mentors are always networking themselves so meeting other mentors and being a part of a community is very rewarding in a number of ways. When you are putting together a program, try to create opportunities for mentors to be forced to chat with each other either by inviting them to conduct a training on the same day or just having a separate mentor event.
- Early access to deal flow / clients. The start-ups you are working with can be either clients for mentor working in a service company or deal flow for someone angel investing or working at VC. For these kinds of mentors, access to a pre-qualified (since you have done some due diligence on them) portfolio of start-ups means someone has done part of their job for them.
- Entertainment, dinner, mentor retreats. The main thing is to make the mentors feel welcome and one way to do that means just plain and simple- take good care of them. Welcome packets, dinners, drivers, retreats or gift bags are all ways of showing your mentors matter and you are grateful to have them.
These are 5 ways to compensate mentors, the main thing is to understand who each mentor is and what is it that they are trying to achieve in their work or life. Once you know that, it is easier to make sure all mentors are happy since happy mentor means happy start-up and the ultimate goal of any community is to provide value for all!
Give us feedback, how do you compensate mentors for their work?