PT - UCP - Portuguese Catholic University

MentorCert

  Faculty of Biotechnology – Portuguese Catholic University

Portuguese Catholic University - Regional Centre of Porto (UCP-CRP) is a well-established University – located in Porto, in the North of Portugal, focused both on Teaching and Research and complementing its mission with a range of activities related to society with a focus on promoting Partnerships, Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer. The UCP at Porto has a Business School, and specific Technical and Scientific Services to society in different areas of knowledge.

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UK - LBU - Leeds Beckett University

MentorCert

  Leeds Beckett University

Leeds Business School at Leeds Beckett University has over 5,000 students studying a range of academic and applied higher education programmes. It is based in the prestigious Rose Bowl building in the heart of Leeds’ thriving financial and business district.

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Aims & Objectives

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.

 

Specific objectives:

- 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.

Background

The project is proposed to follow an existing Erasmus+ project led by Budapest Business School and Funded by the Hungarian National Agency TRUST ME – http://www.trust-me-project.eu/index.php/en/ and a former Erasmus+ project led by the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology and funded by the Luxembourg National Agency (CERTI4TRAIN - https://sites.google.com/site/certi4train/. TRUST ME developed skillcards and blended learning materials for potential SME business mentors. CERTI4TRAIN produced an ISO 17024 compliant certification scheme for trainers participating in dual mode trainings.  Budapest Business School and its partners wish to further develop the mentioned projects refining, developing and integrating the results of the TRUST ME and CERTI4TRAIN projects to provide SMEs with a mechanism to access internationally certified, standardised mentoring services on offer. In addition, the project aligns the business mentoring activity with sectors of strategic importance to the local economy.

 

The new proposal MentorCert will complement TRUST ME results in two aspects.

First a differentiation between different levels of mentorship seems necessary. A beginner mentor is supposed to accomplish trainings of Trust me project or to prove equivalent knowledge while higher levels need the acquisition of deeper, refined soft and hard competences and also certain pre-defined real-life practical experience. In order to produce these new curricula and benchmarks MentorCert project will carry out a “preparatory analysis” work package.

Another complementation of previous results proved to be imposing: Different sectors where the SMEs are operating may need business mentors with somewhat divergent competences. According to the needs of the partners’ economic regions the project will define sectors – presumably of mutual interest – and develop supplementary mentor training curricula and practical experience benchmarks derived from the specific sectoral needs.