VMS provides teams of mentors that work with aspiring entrepreneurs in sessions that provide practical, day-to-day professional advice and coaching. Our mentors are carefully selected based on their expertise in business formation and operations, and for their skills as advisors as well as their desire and ability to give back. They are drawn from a wide range of industries, including both for-profit and non-profit ventures. Our mentor pool includes founders, serial entrepreneurs, CEOs, COOs, CTOs, CSOs, and SVPs along with experts in finance, funding, human resources, law, marketing, product development, sales, and team formation. They have contacts across a broad range of industries and markets. They all have agreed to make a significant and sustained time commitment to the program.
Mentors adhere to a strict code of ethics. Mentors are required to subscribe, in writing, to a Statement of Principles that govern their behavior, outline their responsibilities, guard against conflicts of interest, and control financial involvement with the entrepreneurs and their ventures. In addition, all mentors sign a blanket non-disclosure agreement ensuring that all their interactions with mentees are confidential. Mentors may not solicit business from ventures or invest in ventures they are mentoring.
Mentors participate in VMS for many reasons, including it's collegial team approach to addressing each entrepreneur’s needs, and the opportunity for intellectual engagement.
Relationships between mentors and entrepreneurs are formed based on the needs of the entrepreneur and the interests of available mentors. Mentors provide advice, but the actual work is the responsibility of the entrepreneurs. The make up of a mentor team may change over time as the needs of a venture change.
VMS works with the many other programs on entrepreneurship, innovation, and translation at MIT, and VMS mentors are also active in many of those programs, as well as programs outside of MIT.