Founders and innovators can benefit from my coaching and mentoring experience

I would draw heavily on my own personal experience – i.e. on insights gained in setting up my own business, and working for and in startup businesses.

Coaching experience

Coaching experience includes:

  1. Three Newcastle University students
    1. M.Sc., E-Business and Information Systems, and who achieved a Merit
    2. BA Hons, Media, Communication and Cultural Studies, First Class Honours
    3. Master’s Degree, MA Arts, Business & Creativity (starting a clothing marketplace);
  2. Northumbria University PhD candidate (whom I had introduced to the Port of Tyne Harbour Master);
  3. Teesside University students – formerly of Pinevio: now CEO and CFO of TransferGo, CEO of XtGem;
    1. Over a period of 9 months, I mentored this team of Lithuanian entrepreneurs, arranged an investor pitch session for them, and helped them get on to The Difference Engine accelerator programme, precursor of Ignite 100
  4. Working with a local property startup to help validate their business model and find customers

Workshops

Flowing from the two dozen workshops I have delivered to early stage entrepreneurs (and ‘intrapreneurs’ in existing organisations), the lessons learned from coaching teams through the exercises will be used directly for individuals. I have delivered two business model canvas workshops for UKTI Sirius programme for overseas founders

Over the last five years, I have informally mentored on a number of startup weekends in the North East (e.g. during 2013 and 2014, at Northumbria and Teesside Universities, and one focused on social enterprise), and helped out at one in San Francisco!

In terms of a structured framework of business support, I would use my experience of the following for myself and with Clients (depending on need and / or Client progress):

  • Initial relationship building
  • Clarifying strengths of Clients, based on the ‘Business Model You’ canvas (supporting individuals)
  • Understand idea for product or service and status of the business itself, using the Business Model Canvas (to identify potential for viable and sustainable business model)
  • Validate progress using tools such as a Validation Board or Product Roadmap to test riskiest assumptions and set short and medium term next steps
  • The information gathered will then inform a plan of future sessions to track progress and lessons learned

These steps have helped provide checks of real-world experience (versus the projections which are often found in business plans), and the outcomes translate into more robust and confident founders who can shape future dialogue using facts and validated learning.

Based on talking with founder teams at the recent Lean Startup Summit in Canary Wharf, their feedback was clear that I ‘get’ the startup domain and they value my insight and encouragement relating to the challenges they face.