mentor opportunities

Mentors and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) play an integral role in EPIcenter's New Energy Incubator. Incubator Clients are matched with a team of Mentors and Subject Matter Experts based on their specific business needs. The teams are coordinated by an EPIcenter Coach. Together the teams provide the Incubator Clients invaluable expertise as they develop their businesses.

What's the difference between a Mentor and a Subject Matter Expert? Click here to learn more!

expectationsapplication       FAQS       


Interested in becoming a Mentor or Subject Matter Expert in EPIcenter's New Energy Incubator? We are currently accepting applications (see the FAQ section for more information). Before starting the application, take a moment to review our expectations of Mentors and SMEs below:     

Mentors are expected to volunteer approximately 2-4 hours of their time each month to meet with the Client.
Mentors are expected to use a method of asking questions to encourage critical thinking and to draw out ideas.
Mentor teams are to function as a living example of effective teamwork for a Client team.
Mentors and SMEs must communicate effectively with the Client team and Coach.
Mentors provide assistance to the team to set and achieve milestones which will lead to a sustainable business.
Click here to apply!


what is a mentor?

A Mentor is a volunteer with knowledge and experience that could be useful to someone who is starting a new business. Mentors come in all shapes and sizes with varying backgrounds, experiences, and personalities. Mentors have a willingness to be trained in EPIcenter's methodology of mentorship. This methodology includes asking questions to encourage critical thinking on the part of the Client and to draw out ideas and underlying presumptions. Mentors are NOT there to tell the clients what to do. Rather, the Mentor role is to help the Client self-discover what is needed to take the next steps to grow a business and accomplish milestones on a timely basis.

A client's Mentor Team will, collectively, help fill a gap in the startup company's team whether that be in marketing, regulatory, business development, accounting, etc.

Mentors need to be independent (not relatives, longtime friends, investors, or directors), and not receiving any compensation from the company to be mentored.

Mentors should be able to commit approximately 2-4 hours each month to meet with the Client.

Interested in becoming a Mentor? Click here to apply!

what is a subject matter expert (SME)?

A SME is a volunteer with specific knowledge and experience that could be useful to someone who is starting a new business. SMEs are called upon by Mentor Teams to offer specific or technical information helpful to the Client or to answer specific questions as they arise.

SMEs can also lead trainings on specific topics for multiple Clients at once (ex. leading a one-hour training session on how to use Quickbooks).

Interested in becoming a Subject Matter Expert? Click here to apply!

can someone be both a mentor and a subject matter expert?

An individual may take a different role at different times with different Clients.

what is a coach?

A Coach is an EPIcenter employee who will guide the Incubator Clients through a curriculum designed to help them further develop their business. They will also coordinate with the Client's Mentor Team, which is composed of multiple Mentors and SMEs, as needed.

what is the process for becoming a mentor or a subject matter expert (sme)?

Individuals who are interested in becoming a Mentor or a SME should complete the application. The application will be reviewed and a member of the EPIcenter staff will reach out to schedule a preliminary meeting to learn more about you and tell you more about the role and expectations.

Those interested in becoming a Mentor will then attend a Mentor Orientation session to receive further training and to get to know other Mentors. Depending on the specific needs of the Incubator Clients at that time, you may be invited to attend a Mentor Matching Event, where potential Mentors meet the Incubator Clients to learn more about one another. Both Mentors and Clients will provide feedback to EPIcenter staff regarding who they think would be a good fit for them. The Coach will use that feedback to match the Client with a team of Mentors. If you are not matched with a Client right away, we will hold on to your information and may call upon you to act as a SME, or invite you to future Mentor Matching Events.

Those interested in becoming a SME will be contacted as needed to assist with Client questions or creating Client training courses.

Are mentors and subject matter experts financially compensated?

No. These are volunteer roles, and no compensation will be provided. However, there are many other benefits to mentoring. These relationships are very rewarding and often result in a friendship that lasts long after the formal relationship ends. It is a great way for individuals to give back to the community and industry that enriched their lives and gave them a sense of purpose.

can i invest in my mentee's startup?

To avoid any conflict of interest, Mentors and SMEs are not permitted to invest in their Mentee's startup. If, during the course of a mentorship, a Mentor/SME wishes to financially invest, the mentorship role will be terminated and another suitable Mentor will be engaged.

How do i stay up-to-date on the progress of the incubator?

Our Power Network members are the first to hear about any news or updates. Click here to learn more.

I would like to support the incubator financially. how do i invest, offer a grant, or arrange other financial support?

Contact Jill Vassar, Director of Development and Partnerships, at (210)904-2682 or


If you have any questions please contact:

Andi N. LittlejohnProject Manager