Do you have any questions? Here you have the answers!
What does a Bridge for Billions program look like?
An incubation program helps early-stage entrepreneurs validate their idea or project, build a business plan validated by potential customers, and cover the fundamentals and essentials of early-stage business development and growth.
Sometimes, it can be confused with an acceleration program, which helps boost the growth of businesses that already have traction. The main difference between incubation and acceleration entrepreneurship programs is the stage the entrepreneurs are in.
Entrepreneurs in incubation stages often have a clear business idea. However, they are looking for structure because they do not know how to take the next step, are trying to validate an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) or even have sales but without necessarily having found the sustainability of their business.
An incubating entrepreneur needs support to launch or maintain a business in the market due to the lack of validation of his or her value proposition and overall business plan.
Bridge for Billions builds entrepreneurship programs with the support of other public and private organizations. By participating in a Bridge for Billions program:
- You will have access to our platform with 8 online business modules, with which you will learn step by step while you develop your idea, validate your business plan and see if your product or service fits in the market.
- You will receive weekly mentoring sessions (1 hour per week) with a personal mentor who will accompany you at each stage, helping you to validate your progress and think critically.
- You will participate in group meetings with other entrepreneurs in your program. These sessions will give you the opportunity to network and connect with the other participants in your program edition and share the challenges you are facing.
- You will have continuous support from our Program Managers who are specialists in programs during all the months of the program.
- You will have lifetime access to our community of entrepreneurs, mentors and investors from around the world who will support you and help you expand your network.
- At the end of the program, you will be able to download your executive summary to use when looking for investors, grants, partners and co-founders, which will increase your chances of success.
- You will receive a certificate of completion if you successfully complete the program.
- You will be able to access tools and discounts on services for your startup such as Google Cloud Services, Taskade, Mailjet, Hubspot for Startups, Amazon Web Services, and Stripe, among others.
- Early stage entrepreneurs with a solid idea that they are passionate about, an MVP/prototype with little business structure or a start-up company.
- Entrepreneurs from all over the world with a good internet connection and access to a computer.
- Committed entrepreneurs who can dedicate the necessary time to the program.
We have supported more than 3800 entrepreneurs from more than 99 countries and 75% of them are still active after the first 2 years.
- Our structured methodology will help you optimize a product or service step-by-step so you can make sure it has a market fit and is financially viable. Learn more about our methodology here.
- Your personal mentor will guide you with his or her experience and support you to help your business evolve.
- Sessions with other program participants will provide you with support and help you develop your soft skills.
- Throughout your work on the platform you will develop your Executive Summary, a document with essential information about your business.
- Our Investor Pitch Template will help you develop the content you need to present your business to potential investors.
- Our global community of founders, mentors and investors, to which you will have lifetime access, will expand your network and increase your access to different opportunities and connections.
How can I be part of a program?
- Apply for your place. There are two ways:
- If you want to participate in one of our programs but don’t know which one, go to the Entrepreneurs page and check which programs have open calls right now (we update this page constantly). If you meet the program requirements then create your entrepreneur account and apply here (it won’t take you more than 20 minutes).
- If you are already familiar with any of our open calls, then go to the program’s website and apply directly there.
Please note that if you are several people in the project only 1 person will have to fill out the application. Later, once the incubation starts, you will be able to add your colleagues to work together.
- Acceptance into the program. We will review your application and let you know via email if you have been accepted into the program. Please note that there are limited places in each of our programs.
- Confirmation to the program. If you have been accepted you will receive a confirmation email.
- Onboarding call. welcome. A 1h30 online training session where before starting the program we will explain in more depth what the program is about, what your role will be and what are the next steps to follow.
- Matching Process. The Matching process is what we call the process of finding who will be your mentor during the program. During this phase you will meet mentors interested in your project and who could potentially be those who will accompany you during the program. Once this stage is over you can send your preferences to your Incubation Manager and he or she will be the one to make the best teams. For more information read the question Who are the Bridge for Billions mentors? > Will the program randomly assign me a mentor?
- Incubation Program. Once you have found your mentor you can start the incubation program. During the months of the program you will have weekly meetings with your mentor, while you work on the development of your business thanks to our 8 business modules and build your executive summary (which you will be able to download once the program is finished).
To access the selection process you must fill out an online application. Thanks to this application we can guarantee that the accepted entrepreneurs are prepared for the incubation program. We evaluate applicants based on:
- The state of maturity of your project at the time of application (must be from a solid idea to an early stage company, e.g. have done a market analysis, have an MVP in place, have first customers, for example).
- The needs they have at the time of application (they are trying to get market validation, planning their go-to-market and/or have a clear roadmap for the next few months). We are not an investment fund so if the entrepreneur’s needs are to get funding this is not the ideal program.
- The intention to invest time in understanding the problem you are solving for your customers (during the program you will have the possibility to study your customer segments).
- Passion for solving the problem and launching your business.
- The availability of time needed to complete the program (in general, we ask participants to dedicate a minimum of 6-8 hours per week for the full duration of the program). Read the requirements of the program you are applying for carefully, as it may happen that some calls for applications are more demanding in this regard.
The best advice we can give you for your application: show us that you have really thought about your business and the problem you are solving, and that you are willing to put all your energy into making it happen.
Don’t forget that some of our programs may have specific selection criteria, so check the profiles that each program is looking for before applying.
Our incubation programs help you with the following:
- Define more clearly your position in the market by working on your value proposition, your competitors and allies map.
- Create or develop your business plan touching on all areas of your project to optimize your resource allocation and increase your chances of securing funding.
- Compare the different offers and customer segments with each other and with those of your competitors to determine which are the priorities and define where you should start.
- Check the viability of your business and adapt your model if it is not viable, so that you improve or ensure that your product or service fits the market and increase your chances of success.
- Generate a clear growth and impact plan for you and your team that will serve you for years to come.
- Have a support network including mentors, entrepreneurship experts and other entrepreneurs who are going through the same journey as you.
- And last but not least, create a complete executive summary fully customized to the reality of your business (which you can use when looking for investors, grants, partners and co-founders to increase your chances of success).
Therefore, if your business does not have these needs then the program will most likely not be for you.
No, if you apply to more than one program, all other current applications will be cancelled. This ensures that the selected entrepreneurs focus on a single program.
Who are the Bridge for Billions mentors?
- Our more than 3,000 active volunteer mentors come from a wide variety of backgrounds and industries. They have at least 5 years of experience in their area of expertise, are trained in the Bridge for Billions methodology and share our passion for helping democratize access to support for entrepreneurs around the world. Learn more about our methodology here.
- All mentors in our Community sign a confidentiality agreement so you don’t have to worry about your intellectual property.
- All active mentors commit to support you for the duration of the program.
Your mentor will support you throughout the program to validate your strategy at each stage, to maintain critical thinking and to think out of the box.
Mentors will collaborate with you through our platform and, in addition, will meet with you in a weekly video call of 1h/1h30 depending on your mentor’s availability during the duration of the program. Once the program is over, you will be able to decide what your relationship is and how you want to continue it.
Not at all! You will go through our Matching Process so that both you and the mentor choose each other. Here’s how it works:
- You will have the opportunity to modify your profile so that mentors can get to know your business and its challenges.
- If they are interested in your project and believe they can add value, they will send you invitations to meet for a short introductory meeting.
- You will have several weeks to meet with your potential mentors and decide who you would prefer to work with.
- You can then rank them in order of preference. They will do the same with the entrepreneurs they meet.
- Our algorithm will create the best teams taking into account interests and preferences. Keep in mind that in most cases the preferences are maintained although there may be cases in which you are assigned with another profile or, due to the characteristics of that program, the assignment is manual.
- If you are happy with your mentor, go to the platform and sign the Mentoring Agreement (a document where you both agree to work together, and where you also sign a confidentiality and data protection agreement). If, for any reason, you are not completely comfortable with your mentor, you can communicate this to the Program Manager, wait and apply for another program where your project fits or, as a last option, leave the process.
- Once the Mentoring Agreement is signed you will start the incubation program.
No. In all of our programs we first review applications and accept participants. Once accepted, you will have the opportunity to meet the mentors interested in your business.
Other questions about the program
The program has a minimum duration of 4 months, however, it may vary depending on the program. Entrepreneurs must commit to work 6 to 8 hours per week on their business project.
On the other hand, the more time you are able to dedicate, the better the results will be. We have structured the program so that you can complete all activities in 6-8 hours per week (including a 1-hour video call with your mentor and participation in the workshops). If you cannot commit to at least 6 hours per week for a minimum of 4 hours per week, this may not be the time to participate in one of our programs.
Most typically, during a week you will spend time working online on our platform, meeting via video calls with your mentor, other participants, and the Bridge for Billions team. In addition, you will likely be engaged in other activities to learn about your customers and develop your business plan.
Please note that the program consists of:
- Work on our online platform following our step-by-step methodology. Learn more about our methodology here.
- Have a 1h/1h30 video call to validate the work previously done with your mentor, discuss challenges and next steps.
- Attend Networking Calls, sessions with other entrepreneurs in your program to learn more about the business modules you are currently working on in our platform and to network and connect with other participants in your program edition.
- Access extra articles and resources on our platform and our online community.
- We also recommend several off-platform activities so that you can validate your hypothesis (e.g. customer interviews, focus groups, competitor research, etc.).
Don’t worry, there are different ways to fit our program into your schedule. Here are some tips:
- As it is an online program, you will have total flexibility to develop your work on our platform. So you can dedicate time to your business when it is most convenient for you.
- You can add your co-founders or part of the team to your project (at no additional cost), so you can split some of the work.
- The amount of time you spend at each stage will depend on the amount of research you have done on the topic. In other words: the amount of time you need to spend will be reduced if you use the research you have already done before starting this program and focus on the areas where you need more support.
Our platform focuses on a single business, so you can focus your efforts on a single mission. You will be able to have more than one product or service as part of your business, as our program will allow you to see the viability of each of your offers and be able to compare them.
Of course! Our platform is made to collaborate with your entire team. You can easily invite your colleagues to join your project and collaborate seamlessly in its development.
You will be able to work at the same time, but please note that our platform does not allow live collaboration as with Google Docs (you will only see a teammate’s edits after refreshing the page and you must be careful not to override or rewrite each other’s work).
Nothing! Our entrepreneurship programs are funded by public or private organizations.
We advise you to have a laptop or desktop computer and preferably one of these browsers: Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox. However, our platform is also suitable for cell phones.
Also, we expect you to have a stable and reliable internet connection both for your weekly review on the platform and to participate in the calls with your mentor via video call.