A few months ago I was asked to be a mentor in the Founder Institute program here in Chicago. I was delighted to see a profile of the program in the New York Times recently as I've become a big fan since being involved with the program.
The Founder Institute, if you haven't heard of them, is a global program that helps entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground by going through an intensive months-long training program. Entrepreneurs work through their idea, do a lot of planning, incorporate, and get started on their business all while under the guidance of a large group of local mentors who are at the ready to provide help when called upon.
Unlike YCombinator which we went through, the aspect I like most about the program is it's friendly for people who already have jobs and are trying to start their businesses on the side. The reality is most people can't just take multiple months off to attend an incubator program, usually for financial reasons, but also because of family commitments. Founders Institute is like going to night school for entrepreneurs.
If you're thinking of starting a technology-related business, I'd urge you to check out the Founders Institute as a potential option. The price to join is fairly affordable and the network of peers and mentors you then have access to is extremely helpful. It also provides a badly needed framework of accountability for you - you can literally get kicked out of the program if you don't get your deliverables done or you score particularly low on their evaluations, and as far as I know, there are no refunds!
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