Interactive resources for incubators and accelerators
Interactive resources for incubators and accelerators
Interactive resources for incubators and accelerators

Onboarding and Training Mentors

This section provides an overview of the different mentor onboarding activities that are available to your program. It looks at ways you might pair entrepreneurs and mentors up at the beginning of the program so that you can begin to train and observe them before allowing them to participate in the program.

Miller Center: Mentor Onboarding Activities

Miller Center undertakes eight activities to help onboard their prospective mentors:

1. Create a mentor pipeline record

Once qualified, the new mentor joins the wait list for the next available cohort via a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, such as Salesforce.


2. Invite mentors to join a community

At this stage, mentors are invited to Miller Center’s online mentor community in order to become familiar with the GSBI process.


3. Provide mentors with access to mentor resources

Mentors are granted access to the GSBI library of documents and videos, such as the mentor handbook, articles, white papers and tutorials. They also receive invitations to GSBI’s local events such as the Investor Showcases and mentor networking events.

4. Introduce mentors to members of the network

Mentors are introduced to relevant individuals and organisations within the Miller Center network. These can include program staff, content leads (mentors who are not participating in the current cohort), and subject matter and category experts.

These subject matter experts may also be called to do a workshop during office hours/webinar for a cohort if they are seeking to learn about a particular topic. These webinars are recorded and kept in archives.

Practical Tip

Let new mentors know that they are all available as a resource and have subject matter experts they can draw on if their entrepreneurs have questions outside their expertise.

5. Hold a New Mentor Orientation session 

New mentors participate in a webinar orientation session. This provides them with an overview of the Miller Center, the mentor network that they are joining and their role within that network.


Some mentors can be confirmed 2 to 3 months before the cohort starts. Webinars can act as an official handshake between the incubator/accelerator and the mentor.

This is also a strategic move to keep them engaged before they get assigned.


New Mentor Orientation Webinar - Sample Agenda

  • 1.

    1. Welcome

    2. Overview of Miller Center

    3. The Mentor Network

    4. Program Manager’s Role

    5. Core Curriculum

    6. Lead Mentor’s Role and General Best Practices (clarity)


    – As a mentor, what are you getting into? Relay how the engagement is going to work

    – What are the expectations? Expectation setting

    – When is the new cohort starting?

    – What is the schedule?

    – What if I miss a week?

    – How to start

    – Scheduling of time


    Source: Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship

6. Get the mentor to shadow an existing team

New mentors are able to shadow a team. This may look different for different people depending on whether they’re ready to commit to mentoring or they want to become a Mentor-In-Training (MIT).

Practical Tip

If you are having a hard time convincing your potential mentors, propose they sit in on a mentor call at least once or twice so they have an idea of what goes on during the calls and how mentor-entrepreneur relationships work.

Get permission from the mentor/social entrepreneur team and be mindful about disrupting the relationship that is forming with the assigned mentor and the entrepreneur.

7. Pair mentors with an enterprise

When the new cohort is announced and is available for pairing with mentors, mentors will be able to express their interest in becoming a mentor for that cohort by confirming their availability and interest. Afterwhich, Miller Center puts them through a mentor-entrepreneur pairing process. The priority here is to create the best team to meet the needs of the enterprise.

This process has 4 main steps:

Step 1: Enterprises define mentor preferences (via intake form)

Step 2: Mentors confirm commitment and availability

Step 3: Share overview of organisations participating in the cohort → mentors may indicate preferences

Step 4: Assign pairings based on the needs and preferences of the enterprise as well as the mentor’s preferences (considered, but not guaranteed)

Practical Tip

Before the mentors meet the social entrepreneur for the first time, recommend they have calls/meet frequently to talk about the role, understand one another’s expertise and ways of working, assign modules.

8. Transition mentors into a Mentor-In-Training (MIT) role

Every effort is made to find a suitable team for the new mentor to join as a provisional mentor or Mentor-In-Training. The commitment required of a Mentor-In-Training is to prepare for and participate in the regular weekly calls with the social entrepreneur and her other mentor(s) – this averages about two to three hours of work per week. In these weekly calls, the new mentor will have the opportunity to observe the mentoring process, learn about GSBI curriculum and to interact with their social entrepreneur.

The MIT then:

  • Is paired with an experienced mentor
  • Prepares for and participates in weekly calls
  • Observes the mentoring process, learns about the curriculum, interacts with their entrepreneur
  • Commits to 2-3 hours per week

Practical Tip

Pair your Mentor-in-Training with an experienced Lead Mentor. The MIT is there to co-mentor the entrepreneur, but the Lead Mentor is the one responsible for ensuring that the entrepreneur completes all of the elements of the training.

Once the MIT is comfortable, you may consider having them swap roles with the Lead Mentor for a few weeks, especially in the areas of the curriculum where they have expertise.

If you have a big group of new mentors and want to get them activated into a program, try adding a third Mentor-in-Training to the team who will be part of the team for the whole time.


  • Mentor Onboarding Process and Activities Template

    A Miller Center template for planning your mentor onboarding



Mentor Care and Feeding

How to ensure that your mentor-mentee engagement activities work well