What is The Leap incubation program?
We provide different incubation programs, 100% online, that help early-stage entrepreneurs to structure and develop their entrepreneurial projects. All our programs provide:
- 3-month access to our learn-by-doing proven methodology.
- 18h of one to one mentorship with your personal support.
- “Checkpoints”, online meetings with your cohort and our team to deepen the work on each critical aspect of your business and leverage the collective intelligence of the group.
- Lifetime access to a community of fellow founders and mentors.
- Participation in the cohort award to compete for seed capital.
So far, 1,000 entrepreneurs from around the world (57 countries) have gone through The Leap while working on 580 businesses and have been supported by 560 mentors. Around 80% of all who start the program successfully complete incubation within the 4 months and emerge with a viable business plan for their go-to-market and/or fundraising efforts. Some entrepreneurs have even launched their prototypes and generated sales and revenue during the incubation program.
More commonly, participants emerge with a roadmap for continuing to test and update their idea and many of them use the knowledge gained through the tools and curriculum to test other ideas after the program ends. Some of them discover quickly that their initial idea will not work–and they report that their time was well spent discovering this sooner rather than later! In the months following the program, 88% of entrepreneurs have rated the program as critical to their success and a year after, 73% of businesses are still in operations.
We support early stage entrepreneurs that either have a solid idea they’re passionate about pursuing, an MVP/prototype with little business structure, or an early-stage company. Most of our cohorts are open to all sectors, but some are sector-based, so make sure you check the program details before exploring projects. We have entrepreneurs and mentors from 57+ countries and the program is 100% online, so you can easily join from anywhere in the world. As of today the program is available in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.
What does it mean to be a Mentor?
Being a mentor will benefit you in several ways. First, it will allow you to meet and connect with entrepreneurs based on your interests and expertise, anytime, anywhere through our online platform. It will also give you the chance to expand your network by joining 560+ professionals that share your interests. Finally, it will enable you to develop your own skills as a mentor, exposing yourself to the latest innovation and entrepreneurship methodologies, while helping a startup business to grow. Mentoring with Bridge for Billions is an impactful experience that you can do from pretty much anywhere where you have internet.
As a mentor, you will guide your entrepreneur throughout our 3-month structured program. You will be the person who can understand the ins and outs of their business and, week after week, help them to validate their strategy for each critical stage, from targeting the right customers, to building a 3-year growth plan. You will support your entrepreneur through virtual collaboration on the platform as well as video chats once a week. We also encourage any connection or extra resource that you can share with them. Our program is made of 8 business tools:
- Value Proposition
- Competition Map
- Stakeholder Map
- Business Model & Marketing
- Pricing & Business Viability
- Financial Projections
- Impact Plan
- Growth Plan
These tools will guide you as well as the entrepreneur in effectively covering and validating each critical aspect of the business planning process.
Yes! While we do have many mentors who have been founders themselves, we believe different professionals can bring different expertise and skill sets that can be very useful to innovate or to enter a new sector. We believe in transferable skills and we are sure that whatever skills you can bring, some entrepreneur out there needs!
Yes — once you have officially been accepted as a mentor, you will be invited to follow an onboarding training where we’ll explain our innovation-based entrepreneurship methodology and how our platform works. You’ll get the chance to meet other mentors, and of course we’ll be here to answer all of your questions! You will also join an online community of mentors to spark conversations, share extra resources, and keep learning!
Yes, you can! For your first time around mentoring with us, we recommend that you focus on one project to be as engaged as possible. After that, we’re more than happy if you want to support several entrepreneurs or teams at the same time. Our only ask is that you be realistic with your time commitment: we don’t want anyone to overcommit or raise expectations for the other party that they won’t be able to meet.
Like you, the entrepreneurs go through a selection process once they’ve applied to join our program. The Leap is open to any entrepreneur that fits our selection criteria and is ready to commit for the duration of the program. We have developed a selection process that evaluates the stage of maturity of the business and the commitment level of the entrepreneur, but does not inadvertently discriminate on the basis of education level, socio-economic status, country of origin, current location, gender, race, or any other factor not directly related to the business and the nature of it.
Our selection criteria are the following: the applicant needs to be the founder or the main initiator of the project; the project should be in one of the following phases of development: Idea or developed concept; Project or Minimum Viable Product; Validated or recently launched Startup. The applicant should treat this project as their priority at the moment – we are unable to accept applicants who are not serious about the development of their ventures; the applicant should also have the desire to be part of a special community of global early-stage entrepreneurs and be willing to play an active role within this community.
Every month we open a new call for projects. We’ll let you know when it’s time to explore the project descriptions of our selected entrepreneurs, and you will have one week to invite your favorite entrepreneurs to initial meetings. During these brief initial meetings, you will get to know the entrepreneurs and their projects more in depth and you’ll both mutually decide whether you would like to work together. Once both parties agree on a collaboration, you all sign a Mentorship Agreement that defines each person’s commitment and includes a confidentiality clause. Once signed by both, you’ll be ready to start the online incubation program together!
Our platform has been built to facilitate collaboration. Once you have access to the workspace of an entrepreneur you’ll be able to work together through comments on every aspect of their business plan, and you’ll also have access to your own team video room embedded in our platform, so that every week you can meet and talk as if you were in the same room, in just a few clicks. Apart from your private project workspace, you will have an online group with all of the participants from your cohort (mentors and entrepreneurs) to share articles and resources, ask questions, and overcome challenges together. Lastly, you’ll also have one-to-one messaging with your mentee(s) available, and each team can decide (or not) to use alternative communication channels such as phone, WhatsApp, email, Slack, etc.
How can I apply?
Mentor applicants should show a passion for helping aspiring entrepreneurs and should be ready to commit in order to ensure quality mentorship and a productive business relationship. Mentors can always choose when to work with a project or not, but once a commitment is made, the time requirement is approximately 1.5 hrs per week for the duration of the entrepreneur’s incubation program (4 months).
Being a Bridge for Billions mentor is a 100% volunteer experience in which you’ll impact the life of an entrepreneur when it’s most needed and learn top-notch entrepreneurship methodologies.
Yes, mentors who successfully complete the incubation program may request a certificate.
Yes, whether you are a business angel or part of an investment fund, apply at bridgeforbillions.org/investor to access our portfolio of projects.
Of course! Tell the entrepreneur to apply on bridgeforbillions.org/entrepreneur and, if accepted, they will be able to select you as a mentor at no cost.
Bridge for Billions co-creates innovation programs with corporations, foundations, business schools, incubators, accelerators, investment funds, and any organization that wishes to create entrepreneurship programs. These organizations work with us so they can innovate, impact, and educate via entrepreneurship programs and support. Please visit our Organizations page to learn more, and get in touch at email@example.com