This innovative project combines different levels of mentoring support for SMEs in different phases of the growth and development cycle. It provides an integrative framework that can be used to benchmark and develop the skills levels of mentors (from novice to expert). The framework is sensitive to the needs of leaders in a range of SMEs including those in early start-up, transition or growth phases of development. The project promotes university-business partnerships through the development of intelligence to enable business mentors to operate in prioritised regional sectors. By developing progression pathways (a certification scheme) for business mentors and moving towards international certification of business mentoring the project will help to overcome a lack of information on standards that are one of the most significant barriers to SME engagement across the EU.
The aim of the project is to complement the existing set of mentor trainings with clearly missing elements and also to elaborate an international certification scheme for mentors the application of which is expected to enhance the EU recognition level of this profession. An Erasmus+ project led by BBS and called TRUST ME can be considered as one of the predecessors of MentorCert. TRUST ME produced a (soft) skill card for general SME-mentors, a hard knowledge package indispensable for a mentor and also several assessment tools (entry level, continuing assessment and final assessment) for the mentor training courses developed by TRUST ME.
- Further develop the TRUST ME mentor skillcard and refine it so that it can be used to benchmark and develop the skills levels of business mentors at a variety of levels (from novice to expert). The different levels of mentoring support for SMEs will correspond to different phases of the growth and development cycle of the SME to be mentored.
- To promote university –business partnerships through the development of cluster -based intelligence to enable business mentors to operate in clusters of strategic importance (e.g. Fintech, tourism industry, etc.) to the local economy.
- To develop progression pathways for business mentors and move towards international certification of business mentoring compliant with ISO 17024. The very important attractive element of the project will be the certification scheme. This will open the way towards producing certified mentors in a later phase, after experimentation of the scheme under the direction of the accredited certification bodies. Since the certification procedures will be offered by accredited certification bodies the access to large entrepreneurial populations will be ensured. This leads to a continuously growing impact on these populations.