How you can make a difference at an entrepreneurial grass roots level.

In the Spring of each year London Business School (LBS) launches its Entrepreneurship Summer School (ESS) which offers students with a business idea the opportunity to research and explore the viability of their potential enterprise.  An essential part of the school is the combination of academic study, real life research, market testing and getting insights from a business mentor. 

Finding mentors to support its students, who are mainly MBA graduates, is where the Freemen of the Company of Entrepreneurs steps up to the challenge.  Since the earliest days of the founding of the Company, it’s Freemen have been engaging with the ESS to help and support their 2,000+ students.  That’s a lot of impact!

The student cohort to explore their business start-up idea in more depth than simply academic. The mentors help them by challenging their thinking, asking insightful questions and sharing their experience.  When the student do the grassroots research and testing on their clever idea, the mentors help by challenging their assumptions and make sure they ask the right questions, not just reinforce their ideas.  Some will turn this into a business and the idea is validated.

Some will discover that their idea doesn’t have viability in its original form.  This is an important and positive part of the Summer School experience.  Those students with businesses that are not viable often pivot or turn into other opportunities.  Mentors help the students see alternative approaches and that saves a lot of time, money and energy on something destined to fail.

As you can see from their newly published Founders Book, it has been the starting place for many a success story! There is no shortage of ideas for future commercial ventures.  Universally, year after year, the feedback from both the mentors and the students is the fantastic experience both parties gain.  Mentors learn as much from their mentees as the other way round.  Relationships are built and a future generation of entrepreneurs is born. 

The commitment for mentors is 3-4 hours over 3 or more meetings.  As discovered last summer it is easily done over zoom but prior years mentors testify to the power of meeting in person.  Taking part exposes you to a great cohort of impressive individuals with a wide range of ideas.  In 2020 a Company of Entrepreneurs business mentor had a winning student whose idea was floating cities.  Watch out for this business becoming a commercial venture in Europe very soon.

If you have done it before, Jeff Skinner will be in touch directly, probably in May. If it is something that you are interested in, then go and watch this Zoom recording to find out more. If you want to be involved then email James Talbot, Chair of Outreach, who can give you more detail.

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