Impact for scaleups
Businesses ventures assisted
In external finance raised by participants of VMS
Organisations in 26 countries trained to launch their own version of VMW
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Venture Mentoring Service (MIT VMS) helps students, alumni and staff turn their enterprising ideas into businesses using a team mentoring approach to provide practical, day-to-day professional advice and coaching.
VMS supports innovation and entrepreneurial activity through the MIT community, matching experienced and prospective entrepreneurs with skilled volunteer mentors. Mentors are selected because they have experience relevant to the needs of new entrepreneurs and for their commitment to the programme.
The programme begins by building a detailed picture of the scaling business and identifying critical action areas. Further support is delivered through team mentoring sessions and one-on-one meetings and entrepreneurs can also book 30-minute practical advice sessions covering key business areas including legal, intellectual property, human resources and product development. Services are available to participants throughout the scaling journey, starting from an initial venture idea and growing into a viable business; and are aligned with other entrepreneurship programmes at the university.
Participants are also given the opportunity to showcase their businesses to potential investors at an Entrepreneurial Edge Event each autumn. Invited VMS entrepreneurs can also practise a four-minute elevator pitch in front of around 80 mentors at a monthly Snapshot Pitch Presentation.
MIT VMS also disseminates its mentoring model to other institutions, transferring the methodology, concepts and practices underpinning its model through a series of training programmes under licence from MIT. In the last 16 years, the MIT VMS Model has been successfully replicated in organisations ranging from universities and economic development agencies to business incubators in different geographies across the world.
VMS also brings together mentor teams to help more advanced ventures with major changes and opportunities such as strategic partnerships and exits and mergers. In 2021, VMS relocated to the MIT Innovation HQ, an innovation and entrepreneurship hub that provides collaborative space for students.
“Through VMS, we were able to get very specific, valuable insights into the industry from our mentors that would have otherwise taken us years to obtain. Also, having a pool of mentors with varied skills allowed us to have a much more holistic help from the programme for different parts or stages of our business.” Vishnu Menon, Founder & CEO – Uteepi
“… I consider [MIT VMS] the gold standard in mentoring programs. The mentoring program they were instrumental in setting up and implementing in Manizales-Mas, Colombia, is the best I have seen in practice yet.” Dan Isenberg, Founding Executive Director – Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project