MAC-Team

MentorCert - Certification process for SME Mentors

MentorCert logo 518x376MentorCert exploits results of the Erasmus+ TRUST-Me project (led y HU) and of the Erasmus+ Certi4Train project. 
- TRUST-Me developed skillcards and blended learning materials for potential SME business mentors.
- Certi4Train produced an ISO 17024 compliant certification scheme for trainers participating in dual mode trainings.
The MentorCert partner wishto further develop the mentioned projects refining, developing and integrating the results of the TRUST ME and CERTI4TRAIN projects to provide SMEs with a mechanism to access internationally certified, standardised mentoring services on offer. In addition, the project aligns the business mentoring activity with sectors of strategic importance to the local economy.

MentorCert complement TRUST-Me results in two aspects:

  1. A differentiation between different levels of mentorship seems necessary.
    A beginner mentor is supposed to accomplish trainings of Trust me project or to prove equivalent knowledge while higher levels need the acquisition of deeper, refined soft and hard competences and also certain pre-defined real-life practical experience. In order to produce these new curricula and benchmarks MentorCert project will carry out a “preparatory analysis” work package.
  2. Another complementation of previous results proved to be imposing: Different sectors where the SMEs are operating may need business mentors with somewhat divergent competences.
    According to the needs of the partners’ economic regions the project will define sectors – presumably of mutual interest – and develop supplementary mentor training curricula and practical experience benchmarks derived from the specific sectoral needs.

Aims & Objectives

This innovative project combines different levels of mentoring support for SMEs in different phases of the growth and development cycle. It provides an integrative framework that can be used to benchmark and develop the skills levels of mentors (from novice to expert). The framework is sensitive to the needs of leaders in a range of SMEs including those in early start-up, transition or growth phases of development. The project promotes university-business partnerships through the development of intelligence to enable business mentors to operate in prioritised regional sectors. By developing progression pathways (a certification scheme) for business mentors and moving towards international certification of business mentoring the project will help to overcome a lack of information on standards that are one of the most significant barriers to SME engagement across the EU.

The aim of the project is to complement the existing set of mentor trainings with clearly missing elements and also to elaborate an international certification scheme for mentors the application of which is expected to enhance the EU recognition level of this profession. TRUST-Me produced a (soft) skill card for general SME-mentors, a hard knowledge package indispensable for a mentor and also several assessment tools (entry level, continuing assessment and final assessment) for the mentor training courses developed by TRUST-Me.

Specific objectives:

  • To further develop the TRUST-Me mentor skillcard and refine it so that it can be used to benchmark and develop the skills levels of business mentors at a variety of levels (from novice to expert). The different levels of mentoring support for SMEs will correspond to different phases of the growth and development cycle of the SME to be mentored.
  • To promote university –business partnerships through the development of cluster -based intelligence to enable business mentors to operate in clusters of strategic importance (e.g. Fintech, tourism industry, etc.) to the local economy.
  • To develop progression pathways for business mentors and move towards international certification of business mentoring compliant with ISO 17024. The very important attractive element of the project will be the certification scheme. This will open the way towards producing certified mentors in a later phase, after experimentation of the scheme under the direction of the accredited certification bodies. Since the certification procedures will be offered by accredited certification bodies the access to large entrepreneurial populations will be ensured. This leads to a continuously growing impact on these populations.

Deliverables & Outcomes

The project’s limited scope reduces the activities to the theoretical preparatory work: elaboration of the criteria of mentor assessment, redaction of an ISO 17024 compliant mentor certification scheme manual and develop the specific Experts Committee required by the ISO requirements.

The certification scheme will be a ready-for-use tool but its practical experimentation goes beyond the scope of this project, in terms of time as well as budget, and will be carried out after the project’s end, in further projects.

Project's 4x4 vertical and horizontal issues of the training material development:

  • Vertical issues:
    • tourism industry – working group led by BBS
    • Fin Tech – led by LBU
    • agro-food industry – led by UCP
    • construction industry – led by WUT
  • Horizontal issues:
    • transition – led by BBS
    • start-ups – led by LBU
    • nascent entrepeneurs – led by UCP
    • mature enterprises – led by WUT
  • Results on the completion of the project:
    • The final result is foreseen on the completion of the project:
      an ISO-compliant certification scheme targeting, after experimentation beyond the project, the improvement of the national and international level of recognition of business mentors.
    • A long-reaching result:
      the elaboration of interregional projects aiming at the establishment of integrated regional networks of certified business mentors in a number of European regions extendable to new regions and countries.
    • A Business plan for the exploitation and sustainability of the project’s results after the project’s end.
      This Business plan will include an agreement on the intellectual property rights of the results, a definition of a business model of the certification scheme for maintenance, update and sustainability, and a definition of rules for a free access to all outputs produced through the project. This Business plan will be elaborated in cooperation with the certification bodies representing themselves in the Expert Committee and with others getting interested in the project during its implementation.

Further info: www.mentorcert.eu