Skolkovo recently released a report citing positive results from its 2014 Skolkovo Mentor Program.
The report states that the program has been so popular that local start-ups have encouraged the organizers to find more mentors.
The Skolkovo Mentor Program is part of the Skolkovo Foundation’s plan to build an entrepreneurship culture within Russia. They plan to accomplish this by using advice from leaders in their various industries.
The program’s goal is to pair experienced, successful business owners with innovative protégés who need assistance marketing and commercializing their exciting new ideas.
Since the program began in August 2014, 68 protégés and 79 mentors have requested mentorships within the program. Organizers have successfully paired 28 mentorships.
Skolkovo’s acceleration department recently conducted a survey with 38 local companies. The survey included a five-point scale covering three categories — the mentor’s qualifications, the mentor’s usefulness, and the overall program.
Each company surveyed graded the program as 3.9 or higher.
Thirty-seven percent of the survey participants reported that they met at least once every two weeks. Twenty-six percent said that they met once a month. Sixteen percent reported that they met once a week, and only 21 percent claimed that they collaborated less than once a month.
Of all the participants, 79 percent stated that their meetings were initiated by the protégés and not the mentors.
The only negative feedback from the survey stated that there should be a greater variety of mentors for the protégés.
“Our startups welcome the mentorship program but some have trouble finding the exact mentor they need,” Evgeny Taubkin, director of the Skolkovo Investment Service, said. “This shows the program has huge potential and room for improvement.”
“We just need a bigger pool of mentors,” a representative from software company Simmakers said. “And since most startups seek investors, it makes sense to attract more mentors from the world of investment. Business developers with experience are also useful.”
The program plans to double the number of pairings in 2015. To apply, submit the form on the sk.ru website.