New startups, new topics, new challenges. As the second round of participants goes marching in, we are looking for tutors for our young entrepreneurs who have made it to the support programme. Tutors? So… what do tutors do? To outline that and to give us a concrete idea of what the tasks of a tutor can be, the kraftwerk Team and Gisela Koloska (HR development at swb AG) hosted an informative meeting in the kraftwerk. They met about twenty interested persons – among them were also two participants of the Mercedes-Benz Werk Bremen.
A tutor is the first person you contact, he or she acts as an interface to experts and supports the startups on the way to reach their goal. That sound dry? In every day practice, regular meetings between tutor and startup mean an inspiring exchange! To tackle problems by joint looking for solutions, arranging to meet new people and connecting newcomers with precious contacts means a change of perspective for both sides. There is nothing as valuable as the ability to take the broader view. By cooperating and collaborating with innovative startups, established companies gain kindling insight in unconventional methods – besides valuable knowledge. There is mental enrichment in strange methods that are not according to the usual company’s way of doing things and thinking stuff. This is priceless inspiration for the tutor’s very own way of working. Not least, in order to be accepted as a participant of the support programme, the startups have to come up with a sound and promising business idea. Thus, the support of and exchange with a technically ambitious and innovative plan of these young entrepreneurs holds the possibility to be part of the realization of a forward-looking company.
There are no special requirements needed to become a tutor. Curiosity, openness, passion – that’s about it. On the organisational level, being a tutor will demand about 10% of your working time, but you will also invest private time and energy. The first phase of the support programme lasts six months, so it will be from six to a maximum of 14 months when the programme ends. This means the executive should consent and, at best, support the tutor and the idea of the programme. As last year’s tutors confirm, this should not be a problem any more.
Speaking of experienced tutors: Four of them talked about their personal involvement and observations. What is needed to become a tutor? “You have to be ready to face and examine fresh ideas, but that is so energizing”, Klaus Kerwel relates. He is also pleased about added contacts from unrelated industries he gained from his startup. “I am a business woman with strong commercial knowledge – and they were all total tech-nerds and geeks”, laughs Britta Poppe. “Now I know: You really need everybody on a team.” Likewise, getting involved with different ways of thinking is one of the main aspects for Christoph Döpp: “You have to be flexible, plus you must not view it as ‘business’.” All of the four tutors sum it up as follows: Being a tutor is a valuable, exciting and enriching challenge. (By the way: What the assignment meant to them in detail, why they did it, whether they will continue… all of this and more can be read more accurately in their blog-portraits.)
So what next? We are looking forward to binding registrations until Monday, January 16th. On Matching Day, about a week later, startups and tutors will meet and build their teams. It is our aim to have a commercial and a technical expert to tutor each of the startups. Mentoring will start on the spot, tutors will also meet for exchange.