Sign up for a COVID-19 Response badge
Thank you for your interest in supporting entrepreneurs impacted by COVID-19. Due to the nature of the situation, we want to make sure that you are prepared for the needs and for the responsibility of volunteering for this special duty.
Once you're signed up as a mentor on our platform, please:
- Read all of the information on the Mentor Resource page below.
- Check out this webinar we held with our task force members.
- Commit to uphold our COVID-19 Mentor Task Force Code of Conduct, outlined on our sign up form below.
- Complete our sign up form.
Expectations of COVID-19 Response team members
Response team members will respond to each request for guidance--even if it is a polite "no." We do not expect you to provide mentoring for every request, but you may not leave any message from an entrepreneur unanswered.
Response team members will proactively communicate with entrepreneurs on the site whose work is affected by COVID-19 by reaching out. Entrepreneurs will soon be identified by their own badges. You can also search for the terms COVID-19 and Coronavirus in the entrepreneur search and Q&A.
Response team mentors will not participate in solicitation or upsell of any kind.
1. What do we know about the needs of the MicroMentor entrepreneur community and COVID-19?
Given widespread business closures and disruptions, many entrepreneurs are primarily seeking financial support at this time. However, we have heard from many MicroMentor community members that they are also looking for help with:
- Financial planning
- Locating, applying for, and managing loans and other forms of financing
- Negotiating allowances with financial institutions
- Diversifying income streams and increasing online sales
- Human resources, which includes: sick leave, sick pay, furlough, health insurance, unemployment benefits, remote work,
- Communications and client relationship management
- Digital marketing and social media management
- Partnerships strategies
- Managing stress
- As well as pivoting business plans, change management, crisis management, and contingency planning.
Predicted industries with highest need:
- Adult/Elder/Home Health Care
- Real Estate
2. How can you use the platform to connect with entrepreneurs in need?
Update your profile!
Filling out your profile information with your expertise and how you can help is a critical first step. Entrepreneurs may be disillusioned right now and it is important to show them that there are mentors able and willing to provide assistance.
- First, consider how you may be able to help respond to the crisis (using the list of entrepreneur needs above as a guide).
- Then, clearly state the hard and soft skills you are able to offer (i.e. I can help grow online sales and have experience helping guide businesses through crisis by prioritizing sales channels and product offerings).
- Finally, list any COVID-19 specific resources you are willing to share (i.e. links to loan application portals)
Answer Questions in the Q&A
Entrepreneurs often "don’t know what they don’t know." By contributing to and creating COVID-19-related threads in the Q&A, you help entrepreneurs to prioritize needs and formulate more specific business challenges to be addressed in a 1:1 relationship.
- We will be regularly posting FAQ from an admin account to spark conversation, but your questions are key, especially as you learn more from your conversations with entrepreneurs about their specific needs.
3. How can you help entrepreneurs through mentoring?
Direct Entrepreneurs to Financial Resources
While mentoring should never include the exchange of financial resources, sharing advice on how to locate, apply for, and manage emergency funding is encouraged.
In the face of crisis, mentoring can offer an invaluable source or both technical as well as emotional support.
- Help your mentee see the path forward by first asking them to articulate their challenges and then repeating them back to them
- Share your own experience dealing with the crisis and what you know about the challenges faced by other businesses/industries
- Prioritize using video during calls to help improve your connection and combat isolation
Get to the Point
In an environment where entrepreneurs are juggling many different tasks at once, use a lean mentoring format to get to work on one specific business challenge at a time:
- What is the central challenge the mentee is facing?
- What is driving the mentee to explore this challenge at this time?
- What, if anything, has the mentee already done to address this challenge?
List possible solutions
- Create a list of relevant projects that might address the current challenge.
Select and approach
- Of the potential solutions, which is the most impactful one to pursue?
- What is in the scope of this project?
- What actions must be taken to complete this project?
4. How can you help off the MicroMentor platform?
Recruit your Contacts to Become Mentors
Help us grow the COVID-19 Mentor Taskforce by utilizing our Messaging Toolkit
- Share a post from this toolkit on your social media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.)
- Send a version of this email out to your contacts
- Refer an entrepreneur to someone who you think might be a good mentor via the platform’s referral functionality (Your contact does not need to be a registered MicroMentor member to receive the referral email.)
Share Your Experience With Us
You (our mentors) are our greatest resource and know best how to respond to small businesses. We see our role as facilitating the share of knowledge between mentor and mentee and any insights you can share about the needs expressed, resources shared, or general tone of relationships is helpful. If you have existing content that you would like to share or ideas for new content, reach out to our communications team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will continue to work to make any and all resources available to our mentor task force that may help in responding to this crisis.