Mentorship generates high impact for the development of youth enterprises. Mentors are the key factor for entrepreneurs’ success and as such they need support mechanisms, experiential exchanges and practice transfer. Leveraging on its global network, Impact Hub Belgrade has been facilitating local and trans-national connections, curating the generation and application of entrepreneurial skills and supporting the acceleration of impact entrepreneurship. Both ERSTE and SDC supported Impact Hub Belgrade in strengthening mentoring practices by: creating a pool of local and international mentors, connecting, pairing and empowering them through open-source, peer-exchanges and curated know-how transfer and match-ups. The “Mentors’ Trust” and “Match-Me-Up” have started to provide key support to impact entrepreneurs, mentors and experts and to generate scalable innovations.
Identified Gaps in Mentoring Practices
In a context in Serbia of emerging (impact) entrepreneurship, mentorship is unmistakingly the key element to drive the development and growth of both entrepreneurs and their ventures. Since it is still a pioneer stage we are operating in, even (potential and perspective) mentors have not refined their tools. In this budding ecosystem, the definitions and applications of mentorship are disparate ranging from the role of “business buddies” to the one of consulting.
To respond to the gaps and the challenges faced by mentors, Impact Hub Belgrade designed a methodology and a support mechanism to be tested through practice. The prototype consisted in offering local business-practitioners and experts hands-on mentoring with international mentors and business practitioners from the Impact Hub global network. Departing from basics – building trust relationships as the conditio-sine-qua-non in mentorship – we called the venture “Mentors’ Trust”.
The objective of the Mentors’ Trust
To establish a supportive and enabling mechanism for Impact Mentors, strengthening their mentorship approach through mutual learning, peer-to-peer practice exchanges and match-ups