RIHub Venture Mentoring Service provides experienced, unbiased business guidance at no cost to entrepreneurs operating in RI. The goals of RI Hub VMS 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 VMS of RI and its founder, a retired businessman who returned to Rhode Island after a long career domestically and internationally. His personal concern for the high unemployment rate in Rhode Island at that time weighed upon him. Considering how he could help, he had the
realization there was probably not an immediate remedy.

However, he saw 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 was deeply influenced by the drive and creativity of entrepreneurs and couldn’t help but notice the strong affect they had on those around them. The spirit of risk taking and enthusiasm was infectious. He also understood that the vast amount of investment money these entrepreneurs attracted was spent in the local economy. As example, the entrepreneurs who came through the MIT mentoring program generated over $2.5 billion dollars over a sixteen-year period! He knew we could make something similar happen in the Rhode Island region.

Building Entrepreneurs Means Building Long-Term Strength in the Local Economy

What does it take to build that kind of a resilient market? An ecosystem that supports risk taking, an environment for learning and an inspired group of business people. 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 VMS program 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?

RIHub VMS is for entrepreneurs with an innovative idea who will have operations in Rhode Island. The entrepreneur can be from any industry and at any stage of business development – from idea conception to a mature venture. Owners who are serious about growing their business are welcome to apply to VMS of RI.

How does it work?

Each mentoring session is custom tailored to the entrepreneurs’ needs. The entrepreneur sets the
agenda and determines the frequency of mentoring sessions. During each 1.5-hour mentoring session, the entrepreneur will receive practical, hands-on business advice from their dedicated team of mentors.

VMS of RI mentors are experienced business people who volunteer their time. Each has signed a non-disclosure agreement and has been trained on VMS’s strict code of ethics. All discussions are confidential and business decisions are under the control of the entrepreneur.

To find out more, please contact us here.