MIT Venture Mentoring Service
A service which mobilises students, staff and alumni to start and scale businesses. The service matches both prospective and experienced entrepreneurs with skilled volunteer mentors.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Venture Mentoring Service (VMS) was founded in 2000 after two successful MIT-affiliated serial entrepreneurs proposed and were asked to develop a programme to remedy a gap in how the university supported emerging entrepreneurial ventures.
The programme which provides a model that other universities can follow is freely available to MIT students, alumni and staff with ideas that they would like to turn into businesses. The entrepreneur and the venture must both be based in the greater Boston area and participants are expected to commit to a sustained relationship with VMS as well as be professional, open and responsive to the volunteer mentors who work with them.
VMS matches both prospective and experienced entrepreneurs with skilled volunteer mentors. Participants meet initially with two mentors for a wide-ranging discussion so they gain as complete a picture as possible and identify the most critical action areas. Subsequently, a team mentoring approach is used with groups of 3-4 mentors who are continually tailored to each mentee’s challenges. Meeting frequency and length of participation are up to the mentee who receives support in sessions that provide practical, day-to-day professional advice and coaching.
Mentors are selected based on their relevant experience and their careers represent a wide range of experience, such as founders, CEOs, chief technical officers, or executives of companies. They give support across a broad range of business activity including product development, marketing, intellectual property law, finance, human resources and business management. VMS mentors contribute over 12,000 hours a year.
The message to participants is that the mentoring services are educational only. All business decisions remain under the full control of the participating founder.
VMS complements and works cooperatively with the numerous other MIT centres and programmes promoting entrepreneurship and offering resources to encourage the formation of new businesses and R&D.
If you know any national or local scaleup programmes that you want to recommend as a potential case study for the Institute to consider please do get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org