Skip to content
Merrick School of Business



CEI Coaching Program – Coaching Levels and Descriptions

 The Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation provides coaching assistance to student clients and alumni who have graduated within the last five years. As you contemplate where you fit in, review the categories below to learn where you are along your entrepreneurial journey. Click on the category, and learn what coaching resources are available to you.

  Dreamer – Student or Alumnus* who aspires to be an entrepreneur and seeks feedback to bring structure to an underdeveloped idea.

Dreamers are matched with Coaching Apprentices, Graduate Assistants, select volunteer coaches, Ratcliffe Fellows, or the Center’s staff. [Learn more]

  Early Riser – Early Risers are able to reference a written framework and may have gone through a “back of the napkin” exercise through the CUBE.

 Early Risers receive assistance from Coaching Apprentices, Graduate Assistants, select Volunteer Coaches, Ratcliffe Fellows, or the Center’s staff. [Learn more]

 Midday Thinker – A Student or Alumnus* has analyzed the business opportunity and has ideas of a business name and structure, a notion of where to locate the business, and has begun to rigorously analyze its competition, target market, and developed pro forma financials.

 Midday Thinkers are matched with Graduate Assistants, Volunteer Coaches, Ratcliffe Fellows, or the Center’s staff for mentoring purposes. [Learn more]

 Afternoon Planner – Student or Alumnus* has drafted a Business Plan and requires a review of the Plan. This is particularly important if a Student Client is seeking funding for their venture or needs to lease space.

 Afternoon Planners will be paired with Faculty, Ratcliffe Fellows, the Center’s staff or a specialty Mentoring Team. [Learn more]

 Pragmatist - Student or Alumnus* has launched their business by registering the business, completed the Business Plan, when applicable - incorporated, secured funding, signed an office lease, leased or purchased equipment, identified suppliers, obtained necessary inventory, hired and trained employees, and has prepared marketing materials. [Learn more]

 Start-up – Student or an Alumnus* has been in business for two or fewer years and is facing a specific challenge with funding, cash management, marketing, CRM (customer relations management), sales, and or operations. [Learn more]

 Growth – Student or an Alumnus* has an established, vibrant business operating for two to five years, and has a specific need to identify, analyze, and harness new marketing opportunities or bring scale to the enterprise. [Learn more]

 Veteran – Student or Alumnus’s* business is doing well with a steady rise in sales, is profitable, has a well defined organizational structure and formal human resources policies, strategic plans have been developed and the business is focused on achieving continued growth. [Learn more]

 Transitioning * As the firm faces economic or technical challenges, a change in its customer base, or weakened sales, and has a need to pivot the business through discovering or creating new products, services, or processes, including support with innovation management challenges or deal making. [Learn more]

  Exiting – A Student or Alumni firm is contemplating the exit through a merger, an acquisition, an ESOP (Employee Share Ownership Plan), or an IPO (Initial Public Offering). CEI believes this level of mentoring will be best served through one of our Resource Connections. Our Coaching panel can help identify a range of resources for your benefit. [Learn more]

 * Alumni participating at this level are subkect to a fee based on the nature of services required, or will be referred to the Small Business Development Center