London’s Tech City is getting a new mentorship programme that aims to connect UK business leaders with startups, with a view to providing training, advice and aid collaboration.
We’ve written a fair bit about London’s so-called ‘Tech City’ since Prime Minister David Cameron first outlined his vision of creating a tech cluster to rival Silicon Valley in East London. The new scheme, announced by The Tech City Investment Organisation (TCIO), includes monthly speed-mentoring days, as well as an online platform to connect tech startups and entrepreneurs with UK business leaders. The platform, developed by f6s (pronounced “F-success”), will provide a searchable matchmaking service to help mentors and the startups find each other.
The programme will be led by Kevin Eyres, LinkedIn’s former MD for Europe, who’s the current “Talent Champion” for TCIO. “There’s a huge value in having someone available who can say ‘I have been here before’ to help others learn from their successes and failures”, says Eyres. “The basic assets for success are already in place in Tech City and momentum around the area is growing. With the mentorship programme, we want to ensure the area reaches its full potential by linking new, creative minds with established talent so they can benefit from their experience.”
As for the monthly speed-mentoring events, they will give entrepreneurs the chance to meet potential mentors face-to-face, and build relations with industry veterans. The first speed-mentoring session will take place this Friday (4th November) at The Trampery in Shoreditch, and will constitute 13 mentors and 13 entrepreneurs. The mentors include reps from Match.com, Launch48, Springboard and even a former head of Corporate Development at Google.
“Too often, small companies and entrepreneurs don’t have a sounding board, someone who can speak from experience of both success and failure to encourage the risk taking that is necessary to grow and develop a business”, said Eric van der Kleij, CEO of the TCIO and also one of the mentors. “One of our most important roles as an organisation is to ensure that Tech City continues to grow, and that the growth is sustainable. We can really make a difference as a facilitator, connecting startups and entrepreneurs with industry veterans they might not otherwise have come across.”
The programme is designed to scale as the Tech City community grows and as demand for mentoring rises, and its goal is to have 100 mentors on board by the end of the year. TCIO was set up by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) to help the existing cluster of tech and creative companies in East London develop.