Start-up Mentoring Program

 

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The mentoring program is designed to allocate 3 mentors to an EPFL entrepreneur working on a start-up project . Since inception, more than 40 entrepreneurs have benefitted from the expertise of our pool of selected mentors in order to serenely approach the human and technical challenges of starting up a new venture. See the list of companies that have been involved in the mentoring program.

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Why participate if you are an entrepreneur?

  • To benefit from relevant advice and connections from 3 senior Alumni or friends of EPFL;
  • To challenge your vision and decisions with external viewpoints;
  • To improve the soft skills needed to grow your business (presentation skills, investor communication, human ressource management, interpersonal skills).

Are you an EPFL entrepreneur looking for mentoring ? Contact us at innovation.alumni@epfl.ch

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“When I jumped into the startup world right after my PhD at EPFL, I was a well-trained scientist with very little business experience. I very soon found myself in situations where I simply “didn’t know” – my EPFL Alumni mentors have helped me structure and sequence my actions to identify and avoid crucial early mistakes. They have given me savvy and trusted guidance through important challenges on my way to becoming a successful entrepreneur.”

– Sylke Hoehnel, CEO/Co-Founder, Sun bioscience.

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I applied to the Alumni mentoring program as our start-up was going through a sudden and not enough expected growth phase. Through the program I have met diversified profiles having experience that we would never been able to hire. As they are not customers or investors it’s easier to share your challenges or worries and therefore they have rapidly been able to help us on sales, pitch, networking and more generally strategy.

– Laurent Chatelanat, CEO/Co-Founder, Olympe.

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Why become a mentor?

  • To share your experience and contribute to the personal development of an entrepreneur ;
  • To nurture young talents and consequently support the local innovation ecosytem;
  • To stay connected to EPFL.

EPFL constantly recruits new mentors. If you have gained a solid experience in an innovation-driven industry,  have a first-hand entrepreneurship experience or specific skills helpful to grow a start-up (legal affairs, sales, marketing,…) please share with us your interest in mentoring young entrepreneurs by filling out our online form. Please upload your CV.

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 « As an industry executive (Nestlé & General Mills), I very much enjoy mentoring start-ups at EPFL. While sharing my business skills and experience with high potential entrepreneurs, I also learn a lot from their fresh, creative and passionate approach to starting-up their venture. It is a very rewarding experience at the heart of one of the most vibrant innovation ecosytems in Europe. »

John Wanvig, EPFL Alumni mentor.

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Rules and matching process and mentors recruitment

EPFL Alumni matches entrepreneurs and mentors through four annual events where three start-ups are invited to present. Each start-up will receive 3 mentors upon mutual interest to work together. Once the matching is made, the entrepreneur meets his/her mentors between 6 to 10 times a year on average.

The program is regulated by a moral code of conduct that will be respected by both mentors and mentees. EPFL Alumni stresses the selfless dimension of the program in order to avoid any conflict of interest in performing mentoring activities. We reserve the right to refuse new mentors based on their motivations and competencies of the candidates. We evaluate each new candidate through personal interviews.