The development of the robust mentor network will enhance the region’s entrepreneurial environment to support company creation and scale up in a number of industries to drive economic development.
The new volunteer group has already gained over a dozen members and is projected to rapidly expand to over 50 in the New Year with a shared vision to accelerate entrepreneurship and innovation growth and diversification activity in the region.
The mentors, who are either currently working or retired with specific industry background or in-depth knowledge in a specific area such as law, finance, marketing or sales, are chosen based on their experience and availability, and will form an important part of the RGU Startup Accelerator programme.
“The mentors we have already engaged can see the huge potential to support early stage entrepreneurs and innovators in a real way with lasting impact,” said Chris Moule, Head of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group at RGU. “There is a massive amount of knowledge and experience in Aberdeen and the North-east, and by tapping into that we can help create the next generation of Scottish business success stories.”
Members of A.I.M will have their own dedicated mentor area in the RGU Innovation Space next to the the RGU Startup Accelerator facility in the recently announced ONE Digital Entrepreneurship Hub, which is located at the historic RGU Schoolhill site in the centre of Aberdeen.
The Startup Accelerator, developed and managed by RGU, will support entrepreneurial teams of students, staff and recent alumni from RGU and the North East Scotland College (NESCol), with the aim of helping the region’s entrepreneurs and innovators to create new businesses.
“A successful startup accelerator programme is very much a mentor-led process,” said Gordon McConnell, Vice-Principal of Commercial and Regional Innovation. “These startup teams need different types of mentors at each stage of their development and the creation of the Aberdeen Innovation Mentors will be a positive step in supporting the ambitions of these entrepreneurs.”
The competition element of the startup accelerator is currently in the final phase with over 40 judges from a half a dozen countries scoring over 100 startup teams who made it through the first round of judging. The successful teams that make it through the judging will begin their entrepreneurial journey in January 2019 and receive up to £10,000 of funding each, leading to the creation of new businesses to support the region’s economic development.
The mentors will first meet the chosen startups from the programme at a ‘Mentor Mashup’ event in February which will be held at the ‘Innovation Station’, a dedicated on-campus innovation and entrepreneurship space in the university’s Sir Ian Wood Building.
It is expected that some mentors will also support the ongoing Innovation Skills & Tools programme, which delivers free, extra-curricular short courses for students, staff and alumni in a range of innovation topics. Recent modules have included intellectual property, design thinking, social entrepreneurship and legal structures for startups.
Anyone who is interested in joining the Aberdeen Innovation Mentors can contact the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group at RGU by emailing: email@example.com