- What We Do
- Our Process
More About Entrepreneurs Participating in EF Advisory Sessions
Who Can Participate
New and growing businesses (from pre-start-up to start-up to expansion or sale) that are innovative, knowledge-based, or technology-based:
- Looking to introduce a new or improved technology, product, service, or process
- Have good potential for commercial success -- having a plan which sets out the necessary steps to translate your idea into profits
- Successful development of the idea/business will contribute to the economy of the region
- Adopt and develop leading-edge innovations
- Have the desire to enhance the innovation capability of company to the economy in order to grow
- Most business sectors are eligible except: retail/wholesale, real estate, government services, and services of a personal or social nature
Companies first contact EF for an initial client consultation.
During the consultation meetings, the company works with EF to decide upon the best types of advisors for a session, develop materials for the advisors to consider and work on the entrepreneur's brief presentation at the session. If a client is not quite ready for an advisory session, EF refers the client to other resources in the community that can assist.
Questions EF asks prior to accepting a client:
- Is there anyone else doing what your business is doing/plans to do?
- Is it a patentable product or service?
- Are you looking to export the product or service?
- Will manufacturing be involved?
- Is there an innovative process or technology component?
- Do you have all the necessary plans and paperwork ready?
- Are you serious about (prepared to) move forward with the business?
- Are the challenges strategic in nature?
- Is the information you are seeking available from another source (i.e. online, another business service proveder)?
- Are you working with any other business service providers?
- Can we share your information for marketing purposes?
What Does It Cost
Entrepreneurs do not pay fees for the EF sessions. All costs are absorbed by our contributors. Entrepreneurs are responsible for preparing the materials requested in a timely fashion. In addition, EF requests all client companies to respond to a Evaluation Survey designed to track their company performance and provide suggestions for EF's development.
How are Advisors Chosen
EF invites advisors based upon the individual needs of each entrepreneur. Some entrepreneurs may need to focus on financial issues; others will want to focus on production, management or technology issues. We aim for a diverse group which will provoke lively and fruitful discussion.
We provide each entrepreneur with a list of advisors selected for the event prior to the EF session. He or she has the option of requesting different advisors due to conflict of interest or competitive issues.
The materials an entrepreneur submits to Entrepreneurs' Forum are confidential. In some cases, entrepreneurs may request their own confidentiality agreements to be completed prior to the review of business materials.
Advisors will Say What They Think
Advisors are expected to say what they think, even if they believe that the entrepreneur may not agree with them. We ask them to do this in a constructive way, offering alternate solutions. We encourage entrepreneurs to try to listen to the advice in a neutral way, since one can choose how to use that piece of advice later.
Clarity of Volunteer Advisor Time and Paid Time
EF Clients need to be especially clear about what time they might ask from EF Advisors after the session on a paid-basis and as an un-paid courtesy.
In many cases, Advisors wish to continue their business involvement with the entrepreneur's company. They may do so in a casual mentoring relationship at no cost to the EF Client. In other situations, EF Clients may call an EF Advisor for paid professional advice and assistance. Some advisors offer an hour or more of time at no charge followed by some number of future hours at a reduced rate. These arrangements are completely between each client and each advisor.
EF does not recommend or guarantee services or professional advisors to entrepreneurs. However, we do provide a list of corporate sponsors and volunteer advisors to interested entrepreneurs.
After the EF Session
After the EF session we will send a report summarizing the results of the meeting. In addition, we will be available to the Client for additional assistance and networking.
We keep EF Clients informed of upcoming events. We contact them to find out how the business is doing and if we can be of further service.