Frequently Asked Questions

Are mentors paid?

No. Mentors volunteer their time.

What are the requirements for becoming a mentor?

Individuals that are interested in mentoring through Business Mentor NY are requested to have at least five years of management experience or three years of business ownership experience. While Business Mentor NY is thoughtful how we recruit mentors, we are unable to conduct vetting all of our mentors.

How can my company mentor through Business Mentor NY?

We are always on the lookout for enthusiastic and experienced small business owners and professionals to join our network of volunteer business mentors. Contact Amy Greenstein at agreenstein@esd.ny.gov or 212 803-3216 to learn more.

Can any small business participate in Business Mentor NY?

Generally, to participate, you ought to meet the New York State definition of a small business. A New York State small business is one that is located in NYS, employs 100 employees or less and is not dominant in its field. Additionally, Business Mentor NY is primarily for small businesses located in a county subject to a federal disaster declaration as a result of Superstorm Sandy (including Bronx, Kings, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk counties), Hurricane Irene or Tropical Storm Lee (including Albany, Bronx, Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Clinton, Columbia, Delaware, Dutchess, Essex, Franklin, Greene, Hamilton, Herkimer, Kings, Montgomery, Nassau, New York, Oneida, Orange, Otsego, Putnam, Queens, Rensselaer, Richmond, Rockland, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Sullivan, Suffolk, Tioga, Tompkins, Ulster, Warren, Washington and Westchester counties).

Who are the Business Mentor NY counselors and how can they help?

Business Mentor NY works with organizations like the network of NYS Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) to administer the program. Organizations like the SBDC are mission-driven to provide technical assistance to small businesses throughout New York State and are available to work with entrepreneurs through Business Mentor NY to provide the following services 1) create strong Mentoring Requests and 2) assist in identifying appropriate mentors; or 3) provide direct small business technical assistance to the entrepreneur. It is up to entrepreneurs how they choose to work with Business Mentor NY counselors.

How much time should I expect to dedicate to my mentoring relationship

We expect mentors to dedicate three hours per month while entrepreneurs will spend up to six hours per month working with their mentors as they will need to prepare for each mentoring session. The complexity of the objectives will vary from relationship to relationship but the length of the mentoring process ought to be determined and agreed upon by the mentor and entrepreneur at the onset of the mentoring relationship.

What if I no longer want to be a mentor?

If you no longer wish to participate in Business Mentor NY, please send an email to support@businessmentor.ny.gov.

Can I engage in more than one mentoring relationship at a time?

We recommend that you meet with only one mentor at a time. However, if you have more than one discrete challenge you are working on, you may seek to engage with more than one mentor at a time. An example may be engaging with a CPA to develop formal accounting procedures, and a communications professional to craft a marketing strategy.

How does a mentoring relationship end?

Once the entrepreneur and mentor agree that the predetermined goals have been achieved, schedule a final meeting. During this final meeting, celebrate your success. We recommend that mentors and mentees remain in touch but on a less frequent and more casual basis.

Once I complete the scope of my mentoring relationship with my mentor, can I continue to work with my mentor on a new set of goals?

Once a scope of work has been completed, please create a new Mentoring Request and by all means, you can send another Mentoring Request to the same mentor. We encourage you to conduct searches for each Mentoring Request, as there may be another mentor in the Business Mentor NY community that is also well- positioned to work with you.