About VMS of RI
The Venture Mentoring Service of RI, (VMS of RI), is a non-profit whose goals are to increase and enhance the entrepreneurial talent pool in Rhode Island and to enhance the success of RI ventures by providing them with Quality unbiased advice.
Our history starts with our founder, a retired businessman who returned to Rhode Island after a long career outside of the State. His personal concern for the high unemployment rate in the State at that time weighed upon him. Looking for how he could help brought him to the realization that there was probably not an immediate remedy but there was an opportunity to reduce the impact of a down economy in the future. His many years of living and working in the innovation economy of the Boston area led him to believe that heightened entrepreneurial activity could stimulate the local economy and act as an accelerator for recovery.
Two experiences helped forge that belief. First was his involvement in startup and venture backed companies and the second came from his volunteer work as a mentor for MIT’s Venture Mentoring Service. He observed first hand the creativity and drive of entrepreneurs and their affect on those around them. The spirit of risk taking and enthusiasm was infectious. He also realized that the vast amount of the investment money these entrepreneurs generated was spent in the local economy. (The entrepreneurs who came through the MIT mentoring program generated over two and half billion dollars over a sixteen-year period, not including equity events.)
What does it take to build that kind of a resilient market? Time, and an ecosystem that supports risk taking and innovation. An important element of that ecosystem is a skilled and motivated mentoring program. Observation of the Rhode Island market indicated that there was opportunity to create that here. The abundance of quality mentors and entrepreneurs in the RI market made the development of a successful mentoring program highly feasible.
The founder also knew that the MIT Venture Mentoring program, in which he had been a volunteer mentor and instructor, was a model that produced results. It was a complete system that recruited, trained and motivated top-notch mentors. It created an environment through effective standards and principles that encouraged unbiased advice. It utilized an innovative team mentoring method. And the MIT program had developed procedures that unburdened the mentors while providing predictability and measurements.
Who is it for?
VMS of RI is for any entrepreneurs who have innovative ideas they would like to see turn into RI based businesses. Applicants may come to VMS at very early stages in their idea process - before there is a business plan, a strategy and revenue model, a team, or any funding. To qualify, prospective entrepreneurs must demonstrate that they have given serious thought to the venture’s prospects. VMS of RI assists individuals and groups at any stage, starting from concept development and continuing through team formation, incorporation, and initial operations.
How does it work?
VMS of RI participants receive practical hands-on mentoring from mentor teams continually tailored to each mentee’s challenges. Meeting frequency and length of participation are up to the mentee. While our mentoring is set in the context of your venture, our actual client is the founding entrepreneur(s) whose ventures are (or will be) based in RI. We expect that he or she will remain an active and central participant in all mentoring activities. VMS or RI mentoring services are educational only. All business decisions remain under the full control of the participating entrepreneur. In other words, we are here to help; we cannot do it for you.
Participants are assured impartial and unbiased advice by a strict code of ethics. All interaction with VMS of RI is confidential and under nondisclosure.