Speed mentoring offered valuable feedback for newcomers on the startup scene

First-year students at the university have their tutors. When you’re starting at a new job, you have your supervisor. With a startup, you might feel a bit lonely first: so many things to learn but no one to ask. Helsinki Think Company and their Mentoring Evening came to the rescue.

On a sunny Thursday the freshly started co-op Vyyhti was excited. Their first aspiring projects after Sustainergies Cup were rapidly rolling forward. How to present your idea in 10 seconds? What about our strategy for the future? Online presence? Running the everyday chores of a company? The Vyyhti team needs to learn the ways of a fresh startup in a flash.

Starting your own business is both exciting and scary. Luckily Vyyhti was invited to participate in Helsinki Think Company’s Mentoring Evening where they met up with alumni with entrepreneurial background.

“We felt that many good aspiring business ideas could be helped with a little boost and healthy criticism in a form of mentoring” says Helsinki Think Company volunteer Armi Ahvenainen. “We also wished to strengthen the bond between the alumni and students: the knowledge gained during studies and working life is highly valuable for the younger generation.”

mentorointiHelsinki Think Company volunteers Elsa Mäki-Reinikka and Armi Ahvenainen kickstarted the evening with their energy followed by Vyyhti and the other teams presenting themselves and their ideas shortly. The teams were first asked to write down three questions for the mentors. Then the fun part started: speed mentoring! Every mentor had about 10 minutes of time to spend with each team. When the speed mentoring started we quickly noticed that Vyyhti needs to be well prepared to present themselves in a nutshell. We got some good practice for this as we needed to explain our story for every mentor as quickly and grasping as possible. We got some good pieces of advice from a range of topics. Strategy work, web pages, accounting – just to name a few.

An hour of speed mentoring passed quickly and our heads were full of questions and ideas how to improve our little co-op. We also discussed that having a mentor or two in the beginning would be a terrific chance for every newcomer in the startup scene. When scary-sounding words like periodic tax returns are thrown on the table there’s someone to reassure you that it will all be ok.

So thank you Helsinki Think Company for the arrangements and the mentors for valuable feedback! Perhaps in a couple of years the co-founders of Vyyhti will be mentoring next generations of student entrepreneurs.

The author is a co-founder in the freshly started student co-op Vyyhti.