Do you have a question that isn’t answered here? Please send an email to info@idea.net, we are happy to help!

General IDEA Questions

What is IDEA?
IDEA offers online services through the platform Idea.net to organizations that help businesses in emerging markets to start, grow or find finance.
The mission of IDEA is to support sustainable economic growth through entrepreneurship.

What is an IDEA portal?
IDEA Portal is an online space provided by Idea.net to build network, boasting the tools to virtually support the start, growth and finance of businesses.

A portal is presented as a website where entrepreneurs can create their business proposals, investors can find interesting plans to fund and mentors can give their advice to entrepreneurs. Portals can be created around a focus location, an industry, or a business purpose.

Who administers the IDEA portals?
IDEA does not administer portals, except for our IDEA Gateway Portal. Administration and moderation of portals is done by our customers, which can be banks, incubators, investment funds, accelerators and NGOs.

What are the regulations regarding interest rates and payback period?
IDEA or customers of ICD (portal owners) do not retain or place charges on investments or payback period. Our present focus is on enhancing membership by attracting entrepreneurs, investors and mentors and not yet on placing charges to members. However, this may change in the future.

How do I delete my account?
If you would like to delete your account, please send a message to info@idea.net.

I forgot my password, what do I do?
If you forgot your password, please click on the link “Forgot your password? Click here to recover.” in the login screen of your portal. You will receive an email with a link on which you need to click to reset your password.

FAQ’s Entrepreneur

Do you have a question that isn’t answered here? Please send an email to info@idea.org. We are happy to help!

How do I create a business summary on the IDEA platform?
If you are not yet a member of an IDEA portal, you can register by clicking on the button “Start here” in the top right of you’re the homepage of your portal. You will be asked to choose a role, please select “Entrepreneur”. You will be taken to a form where you can fill in some details about you and your business. After having clicked “join”, you will find your entrepreneur profile and your business summary by clicking on your name at the top right of the screen. You can continue editing your profile and summary, to make it as complete as possible.

If you already have a member profile on an IDEA portal, you can create your entrepreneur profile by clicking on the button “Create your entrepreneur profile” in the right section of the homepage of your portal. After you have created your Entrepreneur profile, you can continue and create your business summary by clicking on the button “Create your business”.

Are there any up-front fees required to my submission of business plan?
There are no up-front fees required for submission. The registration and creation of a business summary on our platform are free of charge, including a business plan and financial plan. However, this may change in the future.

What is going to happen after I created my business summary on IDEA?
After completing a business summary, we advise you to upload documents like full business plan, financial plan and contracts to provide as much information about the business as possible. We provide templates for a full business plan and financial plan that can be really helpful in this process. Once a business summary is created, you can look for a mentor on the platform that can provide feedback for you to improve your business plan. To increase your chances of finding a match with investors or mentors, you are welcome to join multiple relevant portals. You might be contacted by our investor matchmaking team if there is interest for your business or an investor may contact you directly.

What is the purpose of adding a company to your business summary?
Depending on the stage of the business, a company can be added to a business summary. If a company has been formally registered for a business idea, we recommend you to add the company with its details and link it to your business summary. The more detailed information you give about your business, the bigger your chances are of finding a match with investors. Adding a company increases the trustworthiness and sustainability of a business plan.

Who is able to view my profile and business plan?
Visitors that are not yet a member of your portal are only able to view the name, location and summary of your member profile. Of a business summary, visitors are able to view the name, industry, country, the stage of business and the date it was created.

Mentors and investors to which you have granted full access to your business plan, will be able to view all information in your plan, including all supporting documents.

Administrators of your portal always have full access of all details in your profile and business summary, including all supporting documents.

Can I get direct financing from IDEA?
We do not directly provide funds, or any sort of financing. Our goal is to help entrepreneurs with a start-up or an established business find finances for their initiative, by presenting their formalized business plan to accredited investors.

How big are my chances to receive finance?
We can never give any guarantees that we will find entrepreneurs an investor. The process of finding an interested investor is long and costs time, effort and commitment until it delivers some results. Bringing together an entrepreneur and investor can almost be as challenging as arranging a marriage. It is a matter of matching demand and supply, under the right circumstances. However, it is definitely an opportunity worth trying!

Will IDEA give me feedback on my business plan?
IDEA does not provide feedback to entrepreneurs on their business plans. If you feel your business plan is of sufficient quality, please contact your portal administrator using your messenger inbox on the portal. If they consider that your plan is feasible and that investors in their network may be interested in financing it, they will get in touch with you regarding further steps.

How do I find a mentor?
You can find an overview of all mentors in Idea portal using the search tool: please click on the magnifying glass in the search bar in the top menu of Idea portal. This will take you to the search page. You can filter on ‘Mentor’ using the filter section on the right of your screen, under ‘Type’. This will give you an overview of all registered mentors. You can click on the name of the mentor, which will take you to the mentor profile. Here, you can check if the experience and expertise match the needs of you and your business. If it does, you can send the mentor a mentoring request by clicking on the purple button “Request mentoring”. You will receive a notification when the mentor has accepted or rejected your request. Pending mentoring requests are gathered in your Mentor Dashboard.

Both entrepreneurs and mentors can initiate to connect with each other. We advise entrepreneurs and mentors to only connect if the mentor has the expertise and interests a business needs.

How do I respond to an offer for mentoring?
When a mentor is interested in helping you improve your business summary, he or she can send you an offer for mentoring. You will receive a notification of such a request in your e-mail. If you accept the offer, the mentor will gain access to your full business plan, including all supporting documents.

You can find your mentor request by logging into your portal, www.idea.net Once you are logged in, click on ‘Dashboards’ in the top menu, then on ‘Mentor’. You will find the request under “Respond to a mentoring request”. You can click on the name of the coach who is offering to be your mentor, in order to view his/her profile and mentor profile. You can either accept or reject the request from you Mentor Dashboard.

How do I connect with investors?
Investors are anonymous on the platform; they are visible as regular members to others on the platform. Investors need to be the initiators of the contact with entrepreneurs. If an investor is interested in a business, full access to attached documents may be requested.

How is the trustworthiness of mentors and investors assured?
Members are responsible for checking the trustworthiness of others, before granting them with access to documents like a full business plan or financial plan. This can be done by checking CVs, references and social networks like LinkedIn. Please read the Terms of service found in the footer to be aware of rights and obligations when accessing and using the portal.

From which countries are potential investors?
Investors registered in the IDEA platform are not restricted to specific locations. They could be from any country. However, since most of the existing portals in the platform are country focused, it is probable that investors registered are from that country (local investment) or with a strong interest in a particular country.

How do I respond to a full access request from an investor?
When an investor is interested in your business summary, he or she can request full access to your business plan, including all supporting documents. You will receive a notification of such a request in your e-mail.

You can find your full access request by logging into your portal, idea.net. Once you are logged in, click on ‘Dashboards’ in the top menu, then on ‘Entrepreneur’. You will find the request under the tab “Interested investors”. You can click on the name of the investor who is requesting full access to your business plan, in order to view his/her profile. You can either accept or reject the request from you Entrepreneur Dashboard.

What is the minimum and maximum amount of finance I can ask for?
In principle, there is no minimum or maximum amount of finance you can ask for: the system accepts any value under one billion US Dollars as ‘finance needed’. However, different IDEA portals may establish different participation requirements when it comes to financing need. You will find this information on the specific portals, or you can contact the portal administrator in question.

How do I delete my account?
If you would like to delete your account, please send a message to info@idea.org.

I forgot my password, what do I do?
If you forgot your password, please click on the link “Forgot your password? Click here to recover.” in the login screen of your portal. You will receive an email with a link on which you need to click to reset your password.

FAQ’s Mentor

Do you have a question that isn’t answered here? Please send an email to info@ Idea.org. We are happy to help!
How do I become a mentor on the IDEA platform?
Do you have experience with business plans, finance, marketing, management or with doing business in Africa, OIC Member Country? There are many entrepreneurs here that need your advice for their business planning, finance or marketing activities. You can register as a mentor on the IDEA platform by following these steps:
– Register with the START HERE button above.
– Set your mentor preferences.
– Search the members for business plans.
– Check out & join our national portals and business plan competitions.

How do entrepreneurs connect with mentors?
Both entrepreneurs and mentors can initiate to connect with each other. For entrepreneurs there is a [Request mentoring] button visible in the profile of mentors? For mentors there is an [Offer mentoring] button visible in the business summary? Mentors also have a “Recommended businesses” section in their mentor dashboard. We advise entrepreneurs and mentors to only connect if the mentor has the expertise and interests a business needs.

How do I find a business to mentor?
The system will find business plans that match the information you entered in your mentoring profile. You will find these matches in your mentor dashboard: go to ‘Dashboards’ in the top menu, then click on ‘Mentor’. Under “Find a business to mentor”, you will find the matching businesses listed. You can view the entrepreneur profile and the business summary by clicking on the name of the entrepreneur or business. If you are interested in coaching this entrepreneur, you can click on the button “offer mentoring” in your mentor dashboard. If the entrepreneur accepts your offer, you will gain full access to the plan, including all supporting documents. Entrepreneurs can also take the initiative themselves and send you a mentoring request.

How do I respond to a mentoring request?
When an entrepreneur wants your help to improve his business plan, he or she can send you an offer for mentoring. You will receive a notification of such a request in your e-mail. If you accept the request, you will gain access to the full business plan, including all supporting documents.
You can find your mentoring request in your mentor dashboard: go to ‘Dashboards’ in the top menu, then click on ‘Mentor’. You will find the request under “Respond to a mentoring request”. You can click on the name of the coach who is offering to be your mentor, in order to view his/her profile and mentor profile. You can either accept or reject the request from your Mentor Dashboard.

Who can see my member- and mentor profile?
Visitors that are not yet a member of your portal are only able to view the name, location and summary of your member profile. Members of your portal are able to view all information in the member profile. Administrators of your portal always have full access of all details in your profile, including all documents.

Your mentor profile is visible to all visitors and members of your portal.

FAQ’s Investors

Do you have a question that isn’t answered here? Please send an email to info@ Idea.org. We are happy to help!

How do I become an investor on the IDEA platform?
You can register as an Investors on the IDEA platform by following these steps:
– Register with the START HERE button above.
– Set your investment preferences.
– Search the portal for business plans, or look at the list of recommended businesses in your investor dashboard.

How do I find a business to invest in?
The system will find business plans that match your investment preferences based on the information you entered in your mentoring profile. You will find these matches in your investor dashboard: go to ‘Dashboards’ in the top menu, then click on ‘Investor’. Under “Recommended Businesses”, you will find the matching businesses listed. You can view the entrepreneur profile and the business summary by clicking on the name of the entrepreneur or business. If you are interested in a particular business summary, you can click on the button “Request full access” in that particular business summary. If the entrepreneur accepts your request, you will gain full access to the plan, including all supporting documents. The initiative can only come from you, as you investor profile is invisible to entrepreneurs until you send them a full access request.

How do entrepreneurs connect with investors?
Investors are anonymous on the platform they are visible as regular members to others on the platform. Investors need to be the initiators of the contact with entrepreneurs. If an investor is interested in a business, full access to attached documents may be requested.

Who can see my member- and investor profile?
Visitors that are not yet a member of your portal are only able to view the name, location and summary of your member profile. Members of your portal are able to view all information in the member profile.

Your investor profile is only visible to the administrators of a portal. Other members of the portal can only see your member profile, so you cannot be recognized as an investor. Entrepreneurs will only be able to view your investor profile after you have sent them a request to have full access to their business plan.