Media release

Stone & Chalk Mentor program sees $250,000 injected into the ecosystem

'Speed-dating' session between potential mentors and mentees.

We have officially wrapped our 2018 Mentor Program, which connected over 40 high calibre mentors to our startup founders, helping them accelerate by providing advice, a trusted sounding board, domain expertise as well as facilitating key introductions to help open doors to potential customers and investors.

The Mentor Program sets Stone & Chalk apart from other hubs, adding value to our residents by connecting them to the tailored expertise they need, when they need it through a highly curated process. Since June 2017, over 600 pro bono hours of mentoring took place which is equivalent to a $250,000 of value alone injected back into the ecosystem all through a pay it forward ethos.

Stone & Chalk’s Head of Community Programs*, Annie Le Cavalier, worked with each founder to understand their needs and key priorities ahead of going to market, to source suitable qualified mentors. This year, we had 36 startups/scaleups participating in the program, generating 68 mentor matches, with some startups engaging multiple mentors to gain a balance of perspectives.

More than 75% of the startups & scaleups have expressed that at least one of their mentor relationships will continue into the future. Some relationships have already transcended into deeper levels of engagement through formal advisory positions, non-executive directorship, and investment.

According to a UBS study, 70% of startups that receive mentoring survive for 5+ years; double the rate compared to those that don’t which is why this program is so pivotal.

One of the mentees, Neil Smith from SimpleKYC commented that his mentor helped him, “gain a better understanding of how to manage and grow a team”. He reflected that, “While there is no quick fix to growing your team or to better manage them under strain, there are mentors out there who can guide and help me look at the future, to enable us to achieve our objectives. The match that Annie achieved was exceptional in my view in meeting my needs.

Another mentee, Anne Moore, Founder of PlanDo, commented, “Founders tend to have attributes like resilience and being able have a long-term vision, however these traits alone are not sufficient to grow and scale a business. There are a swathe of technical skills needed, and this comes with mentoring from expert individuals that have these skills, which can be translated into gaining insight into how you see yourself as well as how the market will see you.” She continues, “This has brought enormous practical value from S&C to me. I wouldn’t get this program anywhere else.”

The resounding success of the program was due in part to the mentor’s mindset and willingness to go the distance with founders.

“I had this idea that mentors were meant to scatter their pearls of wisdom and we were supposed to run around and pick them up and figure out what to do with them, but the reality was the opposite. My mentor rolled up his sleeves and completely got in there with us”, commented Niranjan Deodhar, founder of OpenOrbit.

Mentors & Mentees

Stone & Chalk is incredibly grateful to its mentors and the support they have provided in helping our startups and scaleups realise their potential. In exciting news, our mentors have pledged to continue providing their time to the community year on year. We’re excited to work with them and continue to co-create the program; building on the strengths of previous years and scaling nationally.

If you’d like to become an official mentor, please get in touch with Annie via this link.

*Updated August 2019: Annie is now General Manager of Stone & Chalk Melbourne

11 December 2018