Volunteer Spotlight: Jon Rossi, Idea Navigator

Every entrepreneur’s path with RMMFI is unique. While Business Idea Lab is the starting point for most, some are in a place where they would benefit more from one-on-one mentorship. These entrepreneurs are connected to Idea Navigators, volunteers who work with them to define a high-level vision, test their concept, apply feedback, and identify potential barriers to moving forward.

Jon Rossi is one of our current Idea Navigators. He decided to volunteer because he wanted to be a resource to first-time entrepreneurs, and he valued that RMMFI serves a part of the community that is often overlooked. What drew him to the Idea Navigator role in particular was the chance to help entrepreneurs build strong foundations. While shows like Shark Tank can give the impression that entrepreneurship is an easy process that happens overnight, Jon wanted to guide entrepreneurs to think critically about the viability of their idea and whether being a business owner is really what they want to do.

In his role, Jon focuses on asking the right questions as entrepreneurs explore their ideas. His skills in lean methodology are well suited to helping entrepreneurs validate their assumptions and think about their minimum viable product. Jon has seen that new entrepreneurs often feel like they have to get everything set up right away in order for the business to work. As an Idea Navigator, he helps them take a step back to figure out what they actually need to get started and what parts of the business can wait.

Recently, Jon has been working with an entrepreneur interested in starting a t-shirt printing business – a perfect fit since Jon used to have his own successful t-shirt company. Jon has been able to share his experience, the steps he took to research the product, and the questions he asked early on. The entrepreneur has appreciated Jon’s transparent and informative approach and is grateful that he has offered “insights, resources, and examples to follow for a good foundation.”

Volunteers like Jon make it possible for RMMFI to provide tailored, individualized support to entrepreneurs at every stage of their journey. We’re thankful for all our volunteers who choose to share their talents and passion to promote an inclusive small business community.