Mentoring and other forms of personal and entrepreneurial project development are offered

Mentoring and other personal development relationships, such as coaching and tutoring help start-up entrepreneurs identify and overcome problems and develop their business networks. They provide valuable support in the form of knowledge, experience, social capital and encouragement on a long-term basis.  These relationships are effective learning and business support tools that can be used to reinforce the entrepreneurial skills that students have acquired and to support personal development as an entrepreneur. This is also an important activity to help student entrepreneurs build their business networks.

Effective matching of student and graduate entrepreneurs with experienced entrepreneurs will increase the business's chances of success and can help make other support services more effective.  Mentoring could be provided by academic staff who have entrepreneurship experience or by experienced entrepreneurs from the HEI's entrepreneurial ecosystem, for example company managers and often alumni. An entrepreneurial and innovative HEI should actively recruit mentors and provide them with training, resources (e.g., IP assistance), formal recognition and rewards.

To ensure that academic staff are interested and engaged in helping student entrepreneurs, HEIs need to ensure that appropriate incentives or rewards are in-place, for example:

  • Monetary resources (budget, personnel, infrastructure)
  • Promotion
  • Reduced reaching/administrative responsibilities
  • Study visits
  • Training

Alternatively, alumni are often a good resource because they are typically happy to “give back” to their alma mater and volunteer their time to help student entrepreneurs.

Key to developing successful mentoring relationships include setting objectives and goals, limiting the relationship to a fixed duration to avoid building dependence, and using feedback mechanisms to improve relations.

Peer-to-peer mentoring, such as entrepreneur clubs, where members help each other, and group mentoring can also be a successful method of providing personal support to student and graduate entrepreneurs.

  • Guidance notes