Friday 27/04/2012

"Best Agers" Mentor Business Startups

During March of 2012 there were three pilot mentoring projects in which mentors from the Best Agers group (above 55 years of age) mentored the business projects of young entrepreneurs.

There were two mentors involved in the process, and three business cases, each of which had one to two representatives from a larger business.

There was quite a lot of variety in the business ideas that were mentored: starting from the development of a sport centre’s climbing wall, continuing with the sewing of dressing gowns, and ending with the creation of advertising for the communication industry. Work during the mentorship process went smoothly.

Mentors were well organised, and so were the mentees. There were also high expectations for the mentoring process from all sides, which were to a large extent fulfilled. Mentors were actually very helpful in regards to explaining, specifically, how “the business world” operates, and what a project needs to have to attract investment or attention from banks for financing. This general, overall knowledge, combined with explanations of how to analyse a business idea from a business perspective, were regarded as the most important learning outcomes by mentees. Furthermore, mentors were very helpful with developing a structure for the business plans, and planning the working process of business plan writing.

Mentees reported that there was lack of specific knowledge from the fields their businesses were in; they also noticed that some of the specific knowledge from the mentors was a bit outdated. Also, mentees had quite high expectations for business networking, and they expected the mentors to introduce them to wider network of business people including investors, potential business partners, etc.

Overall, however, one can reach conclusions along the same lines as one of the Mentor’ s evaluations of the mentorship process: “Any case depends on the people that are involved, on their readiness to absorb and synthesise their own solutions. In general, the program helps mentees to create the awareness that the solution often is inside themselves, and one just needs to call it out and name it”.

To conclude, in all three cases the mentors helped the mentees to find solutions, and triggered further actions in the development of their businesses.

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With demographic change and the current economic crisis looming, the cities and regions of the Baltic Sea Region have to find creative ways of disclosing and utilizing unused opportunities. SSE Riga is one of the "Best Agers" project partners.
More about the project > 
More about the project >