BizMentors

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Status:
Preparatory Project Concluded, pending approval main application
Funding: Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme 
IACN: Partner; Co-Leader with Northeast Iceland Development Agency (NIDA) of WP2 

BizMentors

BizMentors will develop, scale and expand an innovative structured business mentoring initiative across a diverse range of settings with its partners in the NPA Region. BizMentors makes expertise accessible and inclusive at a low delivery cost in dispersed communities. As a free online service, entrepreneurs will be able to gain access to peer-to-peer business expertise that will equip them with the supports, skills, networks & confidence to take advantage of the unique natural capital and innovation capacity that remains untapped in the NPA region.
BizMentors, an interactive and inclusive mentoring platform aims to complement existing mentoring support offerings. This project will utilize a user-centric quadruple helix approach to overcome common challenges experienced by start-ups and SMEs in the NPA region. Through innovations and shared learning, this project will validate the existing model across partner regions
and sectors.Having engaged with end users across the partner regions in the preparatory phase, piloting of the business mentoring programme will focus on Agri-Food, the sector commonly associated with processing / refinement of natural resources in the partner countries. The mentoring model developed will be adapted to each region participating in the project, and ensure its transferability to other business sectors, and other countries (not just in the NPA region). To support this, a transnational Handbook of Best Practice will be developed that share lessons learned in the development of the online model and that can be used to address challenges in disparate regions.BizMentors will provide an inclusive free mentoring service that supports all startups and existing SMEs without exception. BizMentors will inform decision makers seeking to implement effective, low cost and sustainable mentoring solutions through mainstream programmes across the NPA and beyond.

IACN and BizMentors

Work package T2 , lead by Icelandic partners IACN & NIDA has two activities; A.2.1-Translation of Best Practice Handbook (BPH); delivering a BPH in Finnish & Icelandic, available online and for print. A.2.2-Implementation of existing paper-based model in Finland, IS and NI for local mentors/mentees; delivering a paper-based model operational as a pilot in 3 languages, available online. BPH was developed in T1 to showcase the BizMentors (BM) initiative and contribute to its transferability beyond the NPA region. In T2 the T1 BPH is translated into Finnish & Icelandic, adapted for cultural nuances. This is vital for transferability of the model to participating countries. BM documentation will be available to users for greater applicability and implementation beyond the geographic scope of the project. While translations take place in Finland & Iceland, NI will pilot existing paper-based model, currently used in Ireland, and depends on 3rd party matching of mentors & mentees. FODC will provide feedback on challenges and lessons learned to partners before further implementation takes place. Target groups are BM project officers, future managers of the platform, mentors & mentees. All partners will be part of T2 but the activities require significant contributions from the Icelandic, Finnish and NI partners for local facilitation, translation, adaptation and implementation of the paper-based model. Translation will be based on the English version of the T1 BPH. Implementation of the paper-based model in Northern Ireland, Iceland & Finland hinges on the analysis of current situation and policies from T1, the development of mentor and mentee pool in each region, also in T1 and the establishment of Regional Advisory Groups. T2 provides the basis for T3 in terms of language and cultural context and of feedback for development of the online interactive model. T2 is crucial to the successful transnational element providing a pre-trial phase of implementation

Partners to BizMentors

Western Development Commission, Ireland 
SCCUL Enterprises CLG, Ireland
Fermanagh and Omagh District Council (Northern Ireland)Savonia University of Applied Sciences, Finland
Northeast Iceland Development Agency (Atvinnuþróunarfélag Þingeyinga), Iceland
The Federation of Finnish Enterprises of Savo, Finland
The Finnish Enterprise Agency of Kuopio Region (Finland)
Eyjafjordur Business Development Agency (Atvinnuþróunarfélag Eyjafjarðar), Iceland

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