Input provided by Serkan Tezkel, Social Entrepreneur and Mentor Coach from Germany

The student lab at Mentoring Europe has collected inputs from one of our guests who joined the EMS 2022 and has provided inputs on the workshops he attended throughout the three-day summit. For this blog post, he has summarised the workshop session Creative approaches to building an evolving alumni engagement strategy rooted in the entrepreneurial mindset and mentorship.

Organisation: Werth Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation University of Connecticut, USA

Facilitator/s: Julie Gehring

In this workshop, we focused on the University of Connecticut’s Werth Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation’s NETWERX model, which has three main components: Mentees, i.e., first- and second-year students; Mentors, i.e., alumni who have graduated in the last 10 to 15 years; and 4+1 thirty-minute sessions every two weeks for two months. Involving alumni as mentors brings several benefits that were clearly highlighted during the workshop.

– Easier access to recruitment.

– Mentors have a similar background to mentees

– Alumni want to give something back

– Brand awareness comes to the forefront through the alumni network

– Capacity building becomes easier with the help of various opportunities

– Partnerships for mentors and mentees in the form of internships and fellowship opportunities

This was what and why part of the workshop. We then focused on the “how” part of the NETWERX model. Through targeted e-newsletters, supportive virtual events for alumni to add value, highlighting active mentors, and Werth Coffee Talks where special guests are invited to inspire alumni. All activities are coordinated by students and take place on Mondays and Wednesdays beginning at 2:00 pm. They are also published as podcasts. They have about 10 speakers per month.

Social media promotion is the main tool of the NETWERX model.

The program identifies the group of unemployed students who have almost completed their studies, to get them out of their difficult situation by understanding their needs and providing them with additional training.

In summary, the NETWERX model applied in value combines an entrepreneurial mindset and mentoring activities that lead to a growing mindset and environment for all participants.

In the discussion part, the main question was “How can we find a balance between social entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial mindset, and mentoring programs in Europe?”. We were able to develop some options and perspectives related to this question. It is inevitable that more social entrepreneurship will emerge to build sustainable programs. The combination of entrepreneurship, the cultural aspect of mentoring programs and government regulations can be successful if we really want such a balance to be achieved soon in the design and development of new mentoring programs and projects. Innovation in the social economy can bring new perspectives. Mindset development could also be considered innovation if it brings new solutions to social problems.