How to work with the mentors and EIRs in an accelerator program

As a startup founder beginning an accelerator program, how should you make the most of working with the mentors and entrepreneurs-in-residence the program offers to advise you?

I’d encourage you not to present the best-possible-version of yourself, or of your startup. Tell us what’s not working; what problems you don’t know how to solve, which people or organisations you don’t know how to approach.

Don’t submit your completed homework – invite us to collaborate with you on completing your homework.

If you can do that, maybe you can build trust in each other. And if you can do that, maybe you’ll be able to build an advisory relationship on top of that which might last many years.

I work with a variety of accelerator programs as a mentor, coach or entrepreneur-in-residence every year and I recorded this video as part of an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session for the Monash Generator program in 2020 but the advice still holds up.

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Alan Jones

I’m Alan Jones, coach for accelerators, partner at M8 Ventures, angel investor. Earlier: founder, early Yahoo product manager, tech reporter.