Getting involved in supervising and mentoring
We have two inter-related roles that support the educational journeys of our EnterpriseTECH and EnterpriseTECH STAR programmes. Although they may sound similar, they are different functions in practice and draw on different styles of teaching techniques, knowledge exchange, and professional experience.
Our cohorts tend to comprise mostly STEM-based PhD researchers and postdocs with entrepreneurial aspirations from across Cambridge, but you don’t have to have a STEM background yourself or be a Cambridge alum!
We are recruiting supervisors for EnterpriseTECH, our foundational programme that runs as a team-based activity. There’s around 10 teams per cohort, with two cohorts a year, about 120 students in all. We assign one supervisor per team and they provide structured supervisions informed by teaching frameworks that we provide.
We are also recruiting mentors for EnterpriseTECH STAR, and their role is to guide individual students in a more personalised and directed way as they evolve the early stages of their own business ideas.
If you are a coach or seasoned entrepreneur with experience aligned with the entrepreneurial ecosystem and you are looking for an opportunity to give back, grow your network and inspire future entrepreneurs, you would find either (or both) of the roles rewarding and enjoyable.
Along with personal and professional growth opportunities, as supervisor and/or mentor you can connect with a diverse group of students, researchers, inventors, and others in similar supporting roles, which can lead to new or revitalised networking opportunities. An exciting part of being involved means there is the chance to work alongside innovative projects and fresh business ideation whilst gaining insights into emerging technologies, all of which can be a rewarding learning experience.
What background is required?
We look for people who have a broad set of teaching abilities in both established and emerging sectors, whose professional experience and expertise would enhance our programmes. Our supervisors and mentors include academics and professionals from the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
You will be an ideal fit if you have a PhD or equivalent scientific or technical knowledge and/or an MBA, and have experience in supervising university-level students and researchers, coaching startups, setting up your own business, or providing advice on early-stage business-related themes.
We are expanding our pool and actively seeking more women for both roles.
EnterpriseTECH runs twice a year and lasts about ten weeks. The programme commences with a 40-hour lecture intensive during the first week, then the team’s supervisor becomes a primary vehicle for teaching.
The forum of the “Cambridge supervision” is where students truly learn how to apply theoretical lecture material to a real-world project that the student team has been assigned. A supervisor’s breadth of ability and dexterity in helping the students bake in that material through practice makes all the difference to their learning experience and the programme as a whole, so the supervisor function is a very important element in the success of EnterpriseTECH.
The purpose of the supervisions is to build on the lectures by using a learning-by-doing approach. Sessions last up to two hours each and provide a rich and intellectual learning environment. They are scheduled out of working hours and take place, usually, in CJBS meeting rooms.
The Supervisor role
The supervisor guides their assigned team of around five or six students through the research process for composing a commercial feasibility report on one early-stage technology project as it’s the team’s main task to produce a 3,000-word report at the end of the programme along with a video infomercial and a pitch.
To aid in this, we provide a suggested structure for three supervisions that each supervisor provides for their team during the research spell, which is about 8-weeks in reality. The supervisions cover these themes:
- Exploring the technology (of the assigned project) and evaluating the opportunity it presents.
- Developing the business proposition, conducting market research, looking at the competitor landscape etc.
- Refining the research and analysis in readiness for preparing the assessments.
The supervisor also reviews and comments on assignment material as it’s prepared, attends Launch Night and Pitch Night, provides short supervision reports and detailed feedback to the programme management team on their team’s progress and final assessment.
Our 10-week hot-house programme begins with Launch Night and ends with Showtime!, a creative celebration where students showcase their personal and professional development as entrepreneurs alongside their emerging business ideas. They also do an Investors Pitch behind closed doors.
We bill STAR as 180 hours, 10 weeks, 20 STAR people – and we do tend to live up to that! We deliver 40 lectures and workshops covering five themes which you can read about on the programme’s webpages, we also have mentoring brunches on Saturdays, ongoing individual sessions, and personal business development research. We select up to 20 students who have successfully completed EnterpriseTECH. STAR Cohort IV starts in April 2024.
The Mentors role
Mentors provide both general and specific advice to help the students progress their business ideas and expand their capability to access, join, and leverage networks they might need on their entrepreneurial journey. We have structured the mentoring part of the programme to ensure each student has the best opportunity to connect with mentors with the most relevant or specific experience. We group mentors into areas of expertise, including The Personal Journey, Customers and Marketing, Funding and Money Matters, Business Know-How, and Sector Specialists.
We assign a mentor to each student, and they act as a progress touch-point throughout the programme. In addition to events and brunches, students communicate with mentors when they need advice.
Students have to complete a range of mentoring sessions, demonstrating their engagement and providing evidence they used the meetings to gain insights or ask for advice. Most students are entirely new to the role of entrepreneur, so we ask our mentors to help them articulate their needs and develop their knowledge and networks― whatever stage they are at.
At the end of the programme, students deliver a pitch deck, a one-page business summary, an extended business plan, a short video pitch/interview, and a next-steps to-do list. They seek feedback from mentors on these assignments.
What some of our supervisors have to say
Become a supervisor
Please fill out our online form if you’d like to get involved in supervising our EnterpriseTECH students.
+44 (0)1223 765501
Dr Rebecca Myers