MIP identifies mentors that counsel entrepreneurs on knowledge acquisition, perspective, and social skills, guiding them along complex decision-making phases.
Murate Idea Park (MIP) is a public-private collaborative project nurturing the Florentine innovation ecosystem. Part of MIP’s mandate is promotion, incubation and support of new innovative businessess. Through a systematic process (CallForIdeas), startup proposals are received, assessed and 15 companies are selected every 4 months for admission to MIP entrepreneurship training program. At the conclusion of the training program and a successful pitch, 5 winning startups are admitted to MIP’s incubation program.
Mentorship in MIP complements MIP’s formal training activities, starts at an early stage, and provides encouragement, guidance and support to entrepreneurs as they grapple with the difficult questions throughout their journey.
MIP’s Mentors are individuals with a positive track record and are experienced in industry, in investment, or in entrepreneurship. In addition to the individual skills (finance, business, legal, marketing, sales, operations, etc), mentor’s personal motivations and people’s skills are important considerations in selection of MIP mentors. Mentors work pro-bono, and share their knowledge and guidance freely, opening their networks when appropriate.
In MIP, the entrepreneur selects the mentor and the selection is also facilitated by MIP. In order to measure the success of the mentorship practice, track the progress, and discuss areas that need improvement, regular meetings are held between the mentors, mentees and the MIP organization.
Regular awareness campaigns (to attract and select suitable mentors): includes creation of multimedia content and its distribution: 15k €/yr.
Mentor interactions: intervieweing and selection of the mentors, and regular meetings (mentor-MIP, and mentor-entrepreneur-MIP): 0.5 person-year.
Evidence of success
Since the start of the practice in 2018, more than 100 startups have been incubated and paired with mentors. Currently more than 70 mentors, with a wide range of skill sets, assist MIP.
CEO of Genuino.Zero startup: “Mentor support has been fundamental to the success of our business”.
a) Creation of a pool of mentors, addressed by establishing an awareness program (through appropriate channels) to attract skilled mentors.
b) Willingness of entrepreneurs to be mentored, addressed by appropriate communication and by providing examples of program success to the entrepreneur.
Potential for learning or transfer
While the formal training support is indispensable, there is still room for a more informal, but deeper entrepreneur development that is the embodiment of Murate Idea Park mentorship program. To our knowledge, this is a novel, institutionalized, practice. Our experience has shown that the bonding and the lasting relationship between the entrepreneurs and their mentors accelerates the personal maturity of the innovators, and as a result improves the potential for success.
The mentorship program practiced by MIP is transferable to all organizations that nurture and assist new entrepreneurs and new businesses. The methods and processes developed in MIP are systematic, with the key activities being:
a) Identification and attraction of a powerful pool of mentors.
b) Meetings between the pool of mentors and the pool of entrepreneurs, facilitated by the organization, and mentor/mentee matching.
c) Regular bilateral reviews between any two of the organization, mentor and the mentee.
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