By Maximilian Clarke

The Tech City Investment Organisation (TCIO) today announces the launch of a new mentorship programme which will bring together top UK business leaders with digital start-ups and entrepreneurs to provide training, share advice and foster collaboration.

Led by Kevin Eyres, Talent Champion for TCIO, the programme has been developed to following feedback from companies in Tech City and best practices from other tech communities. TCIO will host monthly “speed mentoring” sessions, while an online platform developed by f6s (pronounced “F-success”) will provide a searchable matchmaking service. This will help mentors and mentees to find each other and access relevant features and tools, putting control of the relationship in their hands.

“There’s a huge value in having someone available who can say ‘I have been here before’ to help others learn from their successes and failures," said Kevin Eyres. "The basic assets for success are already in place in Tech City and momentum around the area is growing. With the mentorship programme, we want to ensure the area reaches its full potential by linking new, creative minds with established talent so they can benefit from their experience.”

The monthly speed-mentoring events will provide the opportunity for Tech City entrepreneurs to meet potential mentors face-to-face, gain advice and explore potential partnerships with several experienced industry veterans. The first speed mentoring session will take place on Friday, 4th November at The Trampery in Shoreditch, involving 13 mentors* and 13 entrepreneurs. The mentors will include Eric Lawson-Smith, Partner and Head of Media at Arma Partners; Alex McCracken, UK Head of the Accelerator Group at Silicon Valley Bank and Karl Gregory, Managing Director at Match.com.

Eric van der Kleij, CEO of the TCIO, said: “Too often, small companies and entrepreneurs don’t have a sounding board, someone who can speak from experience of both success and failure to encourage the risk taking that is necessary to grow and develop a business. One of our most important roles as an organisation is to ensure that Tech City continues to grow, and that the growth is sustainable. We can really make a difference as a facilitator, connecting start-ups and entrepreneurs with industry veterans they might not otherwise come have come across.”

The programme is designed to scale as the Tech City community grows and demand for mentoring rises, with the goal of having 100 mentors on board by the end of the year. In addition to the monthly events, the programme will also facilitate longer-term relationships or profit share arrangements through a standard contract system.

Brent Hoberman, co-founder of Lastminute.com, internet entrepreneur and investor, said: "As an entrepreneur and as an investor, I’ve seen what a dramatic impact a good mentor can have on a start-up business. It’s great to see a programme like this, in what is already a flourishing technology community. The programme will really help facilitate access to mentors, which will not only help amplify the growth of the area but help make start-ups in London and the UK more competitive.”