CWRU Venture Mentor Program (CVMP)

The CWRU Venture Mentor Program (CVMP) is housed within the Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative (CTSC) as part of the Translational Endeavors Component, to provide a broad base for expansion and inclusion. The CVMP provides team mentoring to our young faculty, students, and staff from a pool of local experts with a wide range of experiences and industry expertise. Our process stems from the MIT Venture Mentor Service, a hugely successful program that has spawned over 100 similar programs across the U.S and around the world. Their approaches have resulted in many successful ventures, and demonstrate that mentoring works best in a conflict-free and confidential environment.

To provide CWRU researchers with unbiased, confidential business advice in a safe and conflict-free environment, in order to help develop, inspire and empower their pursuit of commercial opportunities in the biomedical space. To provide more opportunities for getting technologies out of the lab and into patients. To increase the value of the researcher and the venture.

Both mentors and entrepreneurs sign codes of conduct to ensure that all expectations and regulations are well-understood and abided. Venture mentoring meetings are 90 minutes long, organized and ran by the CVMP staff with a minimum of two mentors. In addition to meeting with the entrepreneurs, all mentors meet quarterly to review the program, address concerns, highlight achievements, and provide refresher training as needed.

Keys to Success

  • Team mentoring provides a wide range of expertise and advice from a range of disciplines essential to product development and commercialization.
  • Mentors are trained to provide confidential, real-world advice to investigators.
  • Structured programming and long term commitments to entrepreneurs mean more success for their ventures.
  • Both mentors and entrepreneurs must agree to a code of conduct that helps ensure the conflict-free, safe advisement necessary for success.
  • Investigators agree that there are no guarantees that mentoring will automatically mean a license deal or start-up company; Advice and guidance that is provided by mentors is at the discretion of the entrepreneurs. Mentors are not held responsible for the course of action taken.
  • Formal rules of engagement and clear expectations and procedures provide the structure needed for all to feel comfortable and engaged.
CVMP Staff

Expectations of CVMP staff

  • Maintain confidential records on each entrepreneur who requested services from CVMP, including meeting notes and assessments.
  • Schedule all venture and All-Mentors meetings, workshops, lectures, etc. Meeting locations will be provided, equipped with projectors and necessary audio-visual equipment, as well as refreshments.
  • Available for discussions about mentor/mentee conflicts

CVMP is open to all post-docs, graduate students, staff scientists and junior faculty drawn from CWRU translational research programs in health, medicine and biotechnology across campus and affiliate hospitals. The entrepreneur must be active in the venture and based in the greater Cleveland area. All stages of development of ideas and businesses are welcomed. Entrepreneurs learn how to perfect their products or services, identify markets, build business plans and seek funding. Success is not only defined as the success of the venture but in the experience and growth that the entrepreneur gains as a result of the guidance from their mentoring team.

Expectations of entrepreneurs

  • Commit to a sustained relationship with CVMP
  • Be professional, open, respectful and responsive to volunteer mentors
  • Provide CVMP, to the best of their ability, with accurate information updates of their venture, and for identifying any current or potential claims against or liabilities of their business.

Our mentors are an elite group of highly experienced professionals drawn from local businesses all over the Greater Cleveland area including lawyers, consultants, translational officers, CEOs/CSOs, company founders and venture capitalists. These professionals are recruited on a volunteer only basis, donating their time for many reasons including intellectual appeal of this work, wanting to return something to the institution and the entrepreneurial community, and networking across all disciplines.

There are two core principles that are vital in this program– confidentiality and conflict of interest. We are entrusted with critical information that we must protect. Mentors must notify us of any financial involvement with any venture and recuse themselves from their mentor role with respect to that particular venture.

Mentor Qualifications

  • Must be free from conflict with entrepreneur/company
  • Remain financially independent of the venture they are mentoring
  • Have experience in growing an enterprise
  • Provide approximately 1 hour per month of time on a completely voluntary basis
  • Sign an acknowledgement/agreement form
  • Participate in quarterly All-Mentors meetings
  • Complete a 1.5-hour mentor training session upon entry into the program

If you are entrepreneurial-minded and would like to join the CVMP, or if you would like more information on becoming a mentor, contact us at to provide basic contact information. All provided proprietary information provided by applicants will be kept confidential by CVMP. You will be contacted by a staff member to set up an in-person meeting to discuss the program and answer any questions you might have.


Our talented mentors are drawn from businesses all over the Greater Cleveland area including lawyers, consultants, CEO/ CSOs, company founders, business owners, and venture capitalists.


Entrepreneurs are drawn from CWRU translational research programs in health, medicine, and biotechnology across campus and affiliate hospitals.


Our staff provides all administrative support necessary to allow mentors and entrepreneurs to focus on mentoring.