The Impact X Accelerator engages community professionals who are eager and willing to serve as trusted professional mentors to a group of three inexperienced students who form an entrepreneurial team around a technical project. A mentor commits to one team for the duration of a 14­ week period, coinciding with the semester schedule at the College of Charleston.

Mentors listen, advise and reflect with the team members during the project. Mentors are not there to solve problems themselves by taking over project tasking. Mentors provide a professional context and the advise through their active engagement with their respective student team.

Mentor Goals for Student Engagement

A mentor engages at three levels of granularity in their work with a three­student team.

  1. Mentors engage tactically with team dynamics and project organization and execution. Through tactical guidance the mentor is accompanying the team at a high level of detail, riding on the bus as it were. A mentor reinforces curricular topics. A mentor acts as a sounding board. A mentor gives advice. A mentor establishes professional expectations for students.

  2. Mentors engage strategically at the business and technology issues that accompany execution of the start­up process. Strategically, mentors anticipate team and project needs and catalyze individual behavior from MVP development to iterations and pivots.

  3. Mentors engage at a meta­project level through team­directed reflection, helping the team to draw conclusions from what was learned, what was done correctly, and what could have been done differently. In this way mentors create the awareness that may otherwise go unnoticed by inexperienced workers who operate heads­down.