Managing Director, Rich May, 2012 Cleantech Open Northeast Mentor
"It's a most rewarding experience to help eager fledgling entrepreneurs often have great ideas and really want to solve some energy problems."
CEO, Twyxter, Inc.
"Anyone who is interested in cleantech and wishes to give back will likely find the mentoring experience very rewarding - and fun!"
Principal, Hill Energy Services
"From a purely selfish standpoint, I get a lot of educational/professional development value out of the mentoring process. I joke that being a mentor is my self-designed MBA, but there's truth in the joke."
CMT Materials, Inc.
"The CTO program is simply one of the most exciting, dynamic and rewarding experiences that any entrepreneur and/or professional can have."
"The opportunity to network within the CleanTech community is unmatched. The organization is extremely well-run and the volunteer leadership make the mentoring program very accessible."
The Cleantech Open Northeast mentor program is run in partnership with the NECEC's Cleantech Navigate Northeast program, giving our mentors the broadest range of companies to work with. We are the only mentor program in the Northeast to offer region-wide, year-round, cleantech-focused mentor and expert opportunities.
Our Mentor & Expert Community plays a critical role in increasing the odds of commercial success for promising entrepreneurs whose innovations and ideas can change the world! Professionals involved in our programs provide guidance to entrepreneurs on everything from their business plan and investor pitch, to sales and manufacturing strategy.
Startups participating in our accelerator overwhelmingly tell us the highest value of the Cleantech Open NE experience comes from the mentoring they receive. Mentors find the interaction incredibly rewarding as well! By sharing your experience with our entrepreneurs, you keep up with industry trends, expand your professional network, and give back to your community.
of mentors surveyed in 2015 would recommend the program
events held every year
How to Register
Step 1: Register as a user
Step 2: (Returning mentors only) If you are logging in for the first time, you need a new password. Click here to get one
Step 3: Login after completing your user profile. (Returning mentors only: update your user profile and mentor profile AFTER logging in)
Step 4: From the dashboard, click on "Complete Your Mentor Profile"
Step 5: Submit your mentor profile
Step 6: Our Mentor Committee will review your application and get in touch with you within one week
- • Gain visibility as a leader and expert in the industry
- • Get exposed to the latest cutting-edge cleantech ideas
- • Connect with a diverse network of hundreds of other like-minded professionals
- • Contribute to the strength of the cleantech community
- • Attend exclusive regional and national events with free and discounted tickets
- • Learn by teaching!
What We Look For
- • Commitment to mentor a startup and/or respond to community requests via email
- • Excellent professional credentials
- • Past startup experience and/or entrepreneurial mindset
- • Passion for helping early stage companies
- • Ability to provide critical feedback and uncomfortable truths—a sense of humor helps
- • Willingness to expand your network and engage with an amazing community!
Mentors engage with companies participating in the six-month Cleantech Open Northeast accelerator program from June through October. Mentors may also choose to take advantage of opportunities to work with early stage companies at any time throughout the year by participating in mentoring projects with companies in the extended Cleantech Navigate Northeast network.
We expect our mentors and experts to participate in at least one mentoring event per year, and to respond to mentoring and evaluation opportunities as their schedule and expertise allows.
Frequently Asked Questions
A: Every mentor has an individual experience, but we find that mentors enjoy making the connection to new startups in their field, keeping up with current trends in cleantech, connecting with other mentors, and giving back to their community.
One of the main goals of Cleantech Open is to support innovation, and mentors can interact with cutting-edge cleantech concepts and refresh their industry knowledge. As they say, the best way to learn is to teach!
For many, the satisfaction of giving something back is enhanced by making a concrete impact on moving our economy forward, and doing so in a sustainable way.
If you would like to speak with a past mentor and hear about their experience firsthand, please contact email@example.com for a referral.
A: Generalists get assigned to one specific team and we expect that that you give at least 1-2 hours per week to the team you are mentoring. You will provide general support and feedback across all areas of the business. After the semi-finalist announcement generalist mentors will be matched to the semi-finalist teams.
Lead Generalists lead a mentoring team as the primary generalist mentor. Time commitment is estimated as 2-3 hours per week. This is a great position for those who have participated in this program in the past and would like to serve not only as a mentor to their assigned team, but also as a facilitator for their team to build relationships with other mentors. Lead Generalist Mentors also have additional responsibilities to the Cleantech Open regarding team progress, use of resources, deadlines, and feedback.
Specialists are assigned based on a target need of the company and a particular discipline or skill of the mentor. Specialists may be matched to teams to provide specific advice on a particular topic (such as Legal - IP or hardware design for manufacturing, or sustainability. Specialists are also available to other teams in the program because you have a special area that many teams need help with, but for a limited time.
A: How much time you dedicate as a mentor depends on your mentor role:
- As a matched Generalist Mentor with an accelerator team: you should expect to spend between one and two hours per week with your assigned company between June and October. Based on company needs and your expertise, your team interactions may be less frequent. If you and your team are willing to spend more time together, it is completely up to you.
- As an unmatched mentor in the mentor community: you can give as much time as you want! Specific mentor projects will be regularly sent to you via email, and you can choose to participate in them as your time and interest dictates. Projects can range between single 1-hour meetings to a long-term mentoring relationship over several months. In addition, you can support companies by participating as a speaker in workshops, or as a judge at pitch feedback events.
A: Mentors come from various walks of life, experience, and disciplines. It is required that you have a strong desire to help others, and share your knowledge without the expectation of monetary or other concrete reward. We are a volunteer organization with the drive to help foster and launch new ideas, while improving our economy and way of life.
Due to the nature of our focus on cleantech startups, you should have at least 3-5 years experience, ideally more. Prior entrepreneurial endeavors, experience with start-ups, young companies, and emerging technologies are of great value to participating companies. We ask that at the very least, you are extremely familiar with the broad range of cleantech activity your region, have several years of industry specific knowledge, and have some insights, built up over time, that you are willing to share with your prospective matching startup.
A: We engage unmatched mentors in a variety of ways:
- Project Specific Work - teams occasionally have special requirements or are in need of additional help. Expertise required and length/time of engagement can vary widely.
- Team Development Program – teams who are too early-stage to be selected for the Cleantech Open may join this alternate program, which allows them to work with a dedicated mentor and attend educational accelerator events.
- Business Clinics - one-on-one coaching sessions for accelerator participants that run during the summer. We will be recruiting mentors for this during June and July.
- Mock Judging - in preparation for Final Judging, in late September, participating startups have the option to present their investor pitch and receive constructive feedback. We will be recruiting judges in August.
A: Yes. Just indicate your interest when you complete your online profile. Your preference will be noted. We will do our best in the matching process to accommodate the preferences of both mentors and participating companies.
A: The mentoring program officially runs from the application deadline in May through the conclusion of the northeast regional competition in late October. Many mentors form a beneficial bond with their matched startups after the competition has concluded and continue as valued advisors to their team. The option is at the discretion of you and your team.
A: One mentor for each team is encouraged to attend the East Coast Academy held annually during June.
Although not required, there are several "Mentor Mixers" and business clinics that we encourage you to attend. Admission to all events is complimentary for mentors.
A: Please see the Northeast Cleantech Open websitehttps://northeast.cleantechopen.org/ for updates on key dates. In addition, you will be receiving regular email communications from the Mentor Committee with updates and event notifications.
A: Both Cleantech Open Northeast and Cleantech Navigate Northeast are programs supported by the NECEC, and share many of the same resources, including staff and volunteers. Cleantech Open Northeast is a 6-month accelerator and business competition for early stage entrepreneurs, while Cleantech Navigate Northeast is a year-round service for entrepreneurs at varying stages of development. For mentors, the partnership between these two programs means an expanded set of opportunities to help a wide range of companies with varying levels of experience.