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Mentor Program Overview

Our goal at UIC is to build an inclusive entrepreneurial community where all students have access to the support and resources they need to learn, grow, and succeed as entrepreneurs. We're launching the UIC Innovation Spark Series this fall to support students in their entrepreneurial journey as they prepare to showcase their startups ideas, receive feedback, compete for cash prizes at the Spark Series: Demo Day.

We need your help to provide guidance and inspire our students along the way! In a recent focus group, UIC students rated mentorship as a key aspect of their entrepreneurial journey. As a mentor, you will play an important part in the process by being an advocate and resource who is available to provide advice to help UIC students explore and refine their business idea. With your support, students will feel empowered to grow their idea and achieve their goals.

Mentoring is set up using a pool system where students will review your areas of expertise and schedule time with you during your identified office hours. Some participants may want to meet regularly whereas as others may just need occasional technical assistance or have specific questions they need addressed. Mentoring sessions will range from 15 - 30 minutes each. Please let us know if you find that students are not keeping appointments.

Fall '23 Mentor Expectations & Timeline Heading link

  • Commit to holding office hours for a minimum of 90 minutes until the Demo Day (November 8).
    • Commit to being a mentor by Friday, September 29
    • Share a short bio (include areas of expertise) and headshot by Friday, September 29
    • Start to hold office hours the week of October 2
  • Participants will reach out directly to schedule time; these meetings can take place virtually or in-person.
  • Approach mentoring with empathy and openness; students have varying levels of experience.
  • Listen, learn, assess, ask questions, provide feedback, and help students set realistic milestones and goals.
  • Share resources and help to connect students with extra assistance as needed.

The UIC Innovation Spark Series: Demo Day will take place in-person on November 8 – we hope you can attend.

Apply to be a mentor

Frequently Asked Questions Heading link

  • Mentors may participate virtually if they do not live in the Chicago area.
  • Mentors may meet with teams outside of business hours at their own discretion.
  • We understand that things come up; if your commitment level changes, you can still participate.

If you have questions or concerns as you’re mentoring, the UIC team is here to help! We’ll check in with your regularly, but you can also email us at