Fortyone experienced mentors from all over Europe gathered in Barcelona on 26-27 October for the first workshop of the Early Warning Europe Mentor Academy (EWE Mentor Academy). During this two-day event, participants analysed each stage and challenge of the mentoring process. Their objective was to come up with a flexible methodology and set of tools that will be used to expand Europe’s network of mentors, and enhance the quality and availability of tools for successful mentoring.
For many mentors, the workshop provided an opportunity to meet other mentors with specialist skills in key areas and to consider a range of alternative tools and approaches. Experience as a mentee, crisis management and financial literacy were identified as ‘must have skills’ for new mentors. Case studies with peer coaching / peer-to-peer discussions, role play, and checklist aids were recommended as useful methods for training new mentors.
Participants embraced the concept of developing common tools and a methodology to use as a benchmark in European countries. They emphasised the importance of early engagement between entrepreneurs and mentors, before challenges become too urgent.
Research conducted by Early Warning Europe (2020) in Greece, Italy, Poland and Spain indicated that SMEs face an increased risk of closure and insolvency due to challenges related to sales and marketing, a problematic business model, debt management and finances. However, in recent years, inflation and supply chain disruptions in the wake of Covid pandemic and the war in Ukrainian has added to the challenge.
The EWE Mentor Academy is an initiative of the European Union. Its aim is to improve the availability and scope of services for companies in distress, by expanding the network of mentors and services available in European and third COSME countries. The project will create an online training programme that can be used by business mentors working with companies in financial crisis and at other decisive moments of their business’s lifecycle (e.g. transfer of business ownership). The training programme will also help mentors to identify the most effective ways to enhance company resilience.
For more information, visit EWE Mentor academy’s website.