Be a Mentor, 12/2016
‘Dear Members of The Health Cell Community,
Each year, UTSA provides an exciting opportunity for San Antonio students to experience entrepreneurship first-hand. Business and engineering students form teams to develop a product concept and business plan, pitching their ideas to a panel of judges at the end of the semester. The prize pool for the CITE (Center for Innovation, Technology & Entrepreneurship) competition top three teams is $100,000 in cash and services. Think “Shark-Tank”, on an undergraduate college level. A capsule description video clip is here. Several pitch presentations have been recorded. You can view a sample from 2013 here.
As part of this effort, the students meet during the semester to discuss market research, prototype development, and financing. Teams partner with a mentor, to help them deal with startup business issues. Questions can arise in the fields of customer identification, marketing, finance, engineering, and management. Mentors help the team with these and other issues, either with direct knowledge or through connections with other subject matter experts. This is where you come in.
You can volunteer to be a mentor: your industry experience is invaluable to the students, as is your real-world knowledge of people. Surprisingly, their biggest difficulties usually hinge on people skills, and their presentation, rather than technical issues. The time you devote to a team is up to you, but mentors are encouraged to meet regularly with their team throughout the semester.
The CITE competition gets underway in January. There will be a ‘Meet the Mentor’ event at that time, where mentors can interview prospective teams in a speed dating process, after which the mentors select their preferred team. Once paired with a team, you, as the mentor, can work out how best to engage with the team during the remainder of the competition. The actual competition will be held in late April, so you will have approximately three months to work together.
San Antonio TechBoosters is your resource during the competition. They will provide you with a competition syllabus, the competition guidelines, and an overview of mentor conduct. They will be available to answer questions and to help with connection to other mentors and resources to help your team. You are not alone in the process, by any means.
If you would like serve as a mentor to the students in the Spring of 2017, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will put you in touch with the TechBooster Recruiting team.
It would be great to hear from you prior to December 15th, as the mentor pool will be developed before the semester begins. Your name can then be included in the invitational meeting with the student teams, to determine how your interests line up with the team project ideas.
Don’t hesitate to volunteer. You will be in for a rewarding experience!
Becky Butler Cap, Chairman, San Antonio TechBoosters