The start of November officially kicked off RMIT’s Venture Mentoring Service (VMS) pilot program: a sister program to the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) VMS. RMIT VMS is a collaboration between RMIT Activator and the RMIT Research & Innovation Portfolio.
Unlike other mentoring programs, RMIT VMS primarily focuses on delivering value through initiatives such as face-to-face training by MIT and group mentoring sessions, where a team of diverse mentors works with a single startup team or entrepreneur. By focusing on delivering the best experience for mentors, the program creates a virtuous cycle of value that is ultimately received by the entrepreneur.
Earlier this month, a diverse array of mentors came together to receive hands-on training from MIT experts, including how to ask open-ended questions, the advantages of team-based mentoring and the unique mentor-mentee relationship.
Swee Mak, Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research Capability) and Professor of Innovation said “The RMIT VMS pilot program is a significant initiative designed to provide our staff, students and alumni with real-world advice from highly experienced industry mentors. It is one of a number of strategic programs that RMIT has established to help our budding entrepreneurs and researchers to create value from their ideas and research projects.”
MIT’s Senior Venture Advisor Louis Goldish advised the mentors to think about where their mentees want to be in five weeks instead of five years from now, and to focus their mentoring around the idea of meeting short-term milestones.
Mentor Tony Forrest stated that his reason for volunteering his time in the program was to give back after a long working career. Tony elaborated, “I enjoyed mentoring people while I was working and thought this is another opportunity to provide some of my experience and share with others. I’m most looking forward to the outcomes of the particular ventures and watching the entrepreneurs develop.”
Fellow mentor Trudi Sampola (Marketing Transformation Director at carsales.com) said, “when you work in an organisation day-to-day you get tunnel vision, and for me, VMS was the opportunity to have that outside thinking by working with a bunch of really clever and inspiring people. So I guess the reason I wanted to get involved was the networking piece but also growing my own headspace.”
Eleven teams have been selected for mentoring during the pilot program, six researchers from R&I and five from RMIT Activator. The VMS pilot program will run until April 2019.
If you have any questions or would like more information about the program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.