EnterpriseCorp and Nucleus have teamed up to create a new mentoring program for startups called RevIt, which will pair established entrepreneurs with marketing mentors to help them brainstorm ways to acquire customers.
Too often, startup entrepreneurs channel all of their energy into perfecting their product or service, said Lisa Bajorinas, executive director of EnterpriseCorp. They end up in the weeds, losing sight of their most important resource: customers.
Recently, EnterpriseCorp, the entrepreneurial arm of Greater Louisville Inc., has championed the view that the least expensive way to fund a startup is with revenue from paying customers — not necessarily investors. Education to this end is going to be at the forefront of EnterpriseCorp’s goals for the next year, Bajorinas said.
Advertising Federation of Louisville is in support of this program and will help promote it, according to Bajorinas.
RevIt will begin a pilot program on Feb. 15, 2017. Up to five startup companies will be paired with two or three volunteer marketing mentors. The mentors will receive extensive information about the companies beforehand, and after a brief group introduction on the start date of the program, they will meet with the entrepreneurs and their team for three hours to brainstorm marketing solutions.
Bajorinas said she and Mary Tapolsky — director of Technology Transfer and Program Administration at Nucleus — will follow up with the mentored startups six months later to gauge the success of the program.
Applications for both volunteer mentors and startup teams will open on the first day of Global Entrepreneurship Week, Nov. 14.
Bajorinas said the startup applicants need to have some market traction and revenue, an online presence and web analytics in place to be able to measure that presence and traction. They will be asked to submit a written marketing plan or strategy and to state their marketing “pains.”
For the volunteers, Tapolsky said, “It will give them an opportunity to give back and to connect with the entrepreneurial community.” In their applications, marketing volunteers will be asked to identify their strengths, and then Tapolsky and Bajorinas will pair them with startups that their talents will best serve.
Bajorinas said that when she and Tapolsky were brainstorming about this program, off the top of their heads they came up with a list of around 15 local startups that are at the perfect stage for this sort of mentoring.
Startup applicants do not have to be previously affiliated with either Nucleus or EnterpriseCorp.
“This isn’t Marketing 101,” explained Alison Brotzge-Elder, communications manager for GLI. “This is in-depth information targeted to your early-stage company.”
The program will take place somewhere on Nucleus’s NuLu campus; the exact location is to be determined.
Currently the RevIt webpage on EnterpriseCorp’s site is password protected. Watch for it to go live on Monday, at which time applications will be open.
More to come about other Global Entrepreneurship Week activities and events on the horizon.