• Entrepreneurs run their startups, not us.  
  • VVM mentors the entrepreneur, not the startup. So if the startup needs to pivot to a new business model, that is OK. If the entrepreneur realizes that entrepreneurship is not the life for them and need to withdraw, that is OK. What is not OK is committing to the program and not doing the work needed to take advantage of the offered help.
  • Startups commit to:
    1. Present a 3 minute pitch at all of the Monthly Mentorship Meetings for their cohort. Arrive at 4:00pm. Plan to stay until at least 8pm. Child care is available for kids over 1 years old.
    2. Meet with their Lead Mentors once a month outside of the monthly mentor meetings. It is recommended these meetings take place the 1st week of the month and center around a practice run of the pitch.
    3. Update the community (and lead mentors!) monthly, no later than the Monday before the Monthly Mentorship Meeting.
    4. Complete and submit the monthly information form by noon on the day of the presentation each month. Startups are responsible for proofreading their own slides.  
      1. Slides are due at the latest by 12pm the day of the meeting. 
      2. Slides need to be in Google Presentations format.
      3. Slides need to be in 16x9 format or they will not render correctly. 
      4. Upload your slides with the naming convention: COMPANY NAME_MONTH
      5. If you need notes, type them into the notes section! You'll be able to read them off the screen during your presentation. 
    5. Participate in Graduation Prep before Graduation.
    6. Participate in all evaluation activities (including surveys and interviews) before, during and after program.
    7. Report to VVM staff anytime a community member wishes to engage in a commercial (non-volunteer) relationship. This is to maximize transparency and help protect the entrepreneur.
  • Community members and Lead Mentors are volunteers who kindly donate their time to offer advice and, where appropriate, make introductions. They are not members of the management team and therefore do not have execution responsibilities

Lead Mentors:

  1. Facilitate breakout meeting conversations to maximize their effectiveness. Start each breakout reinforcing the challenge, getting intros (and contact info) from everyone there, letting the group know the Lead Mentor’s role. Their role is: to make sure everyone is heard and stays on topic. They also make sure that someone is taking notes. 
  2. Attend all of the monthly meetings for the startup or to line up a substitute if they cannot make a meeting.
  3. Provide an accountability partner by meeting with their entrepreneurs at least one time outside of the regular VVM meetings per month. This is to hold them accountable to their startup mentoring contract and/or to modify that contract because... life happens! Lead Mentors are making sure everything is on track to get maximum value out of the next VVM meeting.
  4. Help protect the entrepreneur by being cc'd on communications between the startup and mentors. In this way if a potential conflict of interest or question RE how best to grow a relationship comes up, the facilitator can easily know about it and bring it to VVM staff's attention. Note that the facilitators are volunteers so this is simply help, responsibility is in the hands of the entrepreneurs.
  5. Do No Harm and to report to VVM staff any conflicts of interest that may arise between themselves, mentors, and the startups.
  6. Lead Mentors are not Chair(s) of a board of advisers.
  7. Lead Mentors sometimes offer to meet with entrepreneurs more than the number of times required by the role.  When they do so it is a gift, appreciated as such by the entrepreneurs.
  8. Participate in all evaluation activities (including surveys and interviews) before, during and after program. 


Lead Mentors & Entrepreneurs always have the option to "call for help". If you run into a situation and have a question, feel free to ask for help.  Both Lead Mentors and entrepreneurs should reach out to Stephannie Kirby, Program Manager


  • A mentor does some non-ideal behavior at a breakout - let us know so we can educate them. 
  • Startup REALLY needs a specific expert - let us know so we can try to help find someone.
  • Startup is stuck. Or maybe the Lead Mentor is.
  • You are in fear of burning out.
  • You have an idea to improve the program.