Archives For mentors

Let’s Grow Together!

Brian —  June 8, 2014

Does your idea have legs, but it doesn’t quite seem to run? It’s not easy to turn a dream into reality and young entrepreneurs can’t be expected to have a full set of skills necessary to launch their idea. Innové’s mission is to help you launch your world-changing idea successfully.

All semi-finalists will be paired with mentors who care about the person as much as they care about the project. We want this to be an encouraging, affirming, and fun experience! On top of that, our mentors – called Navigators – have expertise in mission, start-ups, finance, operations and more. These caring Navigators with a lifetime of experience can help to bring out the best from the idea and help shape it for a successful launch.

Semi-finalists will also gather for a one-day workshop to share ideas, and receive coaching toward success while building community together. The relationships you build will prepare you to launch your world-changing idea. Networking is important, and to be able to make connections with other young entrepreneurs who share your passion can be life-changing.

Finally, on top of our Navigators, we have dozens and dozens of Skills Coaches. Each of these Skills Coaches has a very practical area of expertise and each is available to you. Does launching your idea require legal help such as protection of IP? There are Skills Coaches available to you for that. Could you benefit from an hour with a financial wizard, or an expert in process or manufacturing? We have Skills Coaches for that. Skill Coaches can provide you with the practical tools to help you fill in the missing pieces of your idea, whatever that missing piece may be.

Our mission is to help you launch successful. Funding plays a large role in that, but so do practical skills. We are here to help you with both.

A Chipmunk on the Train Tracks

Brian —  March 12, 2014

Innové aims to help brand new initiatives launch or to help existing initiatives scale. Some Innové initiatives are nothing more than an idea from a great social entrepreneur working to get it going and off the ground. Others have recently launched or have been operating for a couple of years and they are looking to scale their initiative for broader reach.

The two types are very different in need and approach.

It’s been said that a new organization is like eight small children chasing a chipmunk. There is lots of noise and confusion, scrambling in every direction, and a lot of wasted energy. The earliest stage of life for a new initiative is both motion and commotion, but not yet very much locomotion.

At this point almost nothing is done in an orderly way. Records are mess, thoughts and ideas are scribbled everywhere, and budgeting procedures can be haphazard. But there is great flexibility, unlimited motivation, a willingness to try new things, and the capacity to respond quickly!

To contrast, an organization with a couple of years to mature is generally quite orderly. It knows where it has been and has a good sense of where it is going. Procedures have been defined, there is a pecking order, and there is a patient advance along a settled path. It reminds you of a locomotive steaming down the tracks with everything functioning predictably and energy being transformed into forward motion. But this can lead to a decrease in learning and motivation, a little possibility of going anywhere except where the tracks lead.

Innové steps in to corral the chipmunk, our Navigators (mentors) and skills coaches giving valuable insight in terms of direction, procedure, budgeting, and discipline. Our aim is to help those idea-makers get on the right track.

On the flip side, our Navigators bring a fresh set of eyes that can bring zest, fresh thought, and renewed energy that is critical for existing organizations to go to the next level. We’re not looking to drive an initiative “off the rails”, but we will look where we can provide some steam.

Completely different needs, but our Navigators have seen it all.

Learning Exchange on Strategy

Charlie —  October 1, 2013

One of our learning exchanges in our recent Innové Immersion Day was on Strategy, a thoughtful mindset that every young social entrepreneur needs. Here is Kevin Kickhaefer’s slide deck from the Immersion Day. Hope it is helpful and you seek to launch your venture!

45 and Counting

Charlie —  January 31, 2013

139 Applicants submitted proposals to Innové for funding and support. This was a remarkable number for an endeavor in its first year. Our brilliant Publicity Task Force did a great job. Further brilliance was demonstrated by our Screening Task Force as they read over every application several times and selected 45 to move to the next step. The Navigators Task Force is currently reading the 45 applications and will select up to 24 as Semi-Finalists on Monday, February 11.

At the February 11 Navigators Meeting, each Semi-Finalist will be assigned a Navigator to guide them through the rest of the process. At this point Innové becomes a competition! Semi-Finalists will vie for funds to be determined by the Judges. At the same time, all Semi-Finalists receive mentoring, skills coaching, an opportunity to expand their networks and a worthwhile experience from Colonial Church. Every Semi-Finalist will be posted on the Innové website for you to meet and see and subsequently pray for.

On Saturday March 9, all Semi-Finalists, Navigators and as many Skills Coaches as possible are required to attend the day-long Innové Semi-Finalist Workshop. Under the direction of its own Task Force, this Workshop is coming together beautifully and looks to be a very exciting day. There will be inspirational speakers, entrepreneurial experts from throughout the Twin Cities, plenty of time to connect and network with coaching and other resources.


Innové itself is an entrepreneurial project. We’re learning a lot as we go along. It’s been well received not only by applicants, but by a number of organizations that have offered their own support. You’ve seen the media coverage as well. Brian Jones has visited business programs at St.Thomas and Bethel, as well as entrepreneurial groups, all of whom invited him to share our experience even as we are experiencing it! We continue to pray that Innové will make an important contribution to our life together as a church and, most importantly, to God’s work in the world.