Vol4 issue3 2018 finalised

Page 16



Mentoring London Entrepreneurs


By Zufi Deo

remember seven years ago when 10 ofus turned up at the Wellcome Collection's Cafe on Euston Road.

We were all buying coffee hoping the staff would not kick us out. This was the very first meeting of the Business Mentoring Meetup Group. Mitch Bourne - an Ozzie Entrepreneur - set up the group and encouraged all of us to support each other on a peer support basis. A month later he had to leave the UK. The choice was either let the group close down or step forward and take ownership. The CSR program of my Business Entrepreneur Commons, London - was organised to promote entrepreneurship in the London area. I took an open innovation based approach. I would support groups I felt would be useful to


Volume 4 Issue 3, 201 8

entrepreneurs and would help them with their marketing. I felt this would help generate the ecosystem of support entrepreneurs badly needed in London. To give you an idea, there were barely any accelerator programs in London unlike today. Now we have well over 50 accelerator programs. Back then there was the financial crisis and university educated white collar professionals faced redundancies. You could feel the uncertainty in the air. So, it was natural to take ownership of the business mentoring meetup group and ensure the much needed support was made available to the London entrepreneurs. Our first challenge was to organise space for our group and provide it with stability. UCL Entrepreneurship Society allowed us host our Business mentoring meetup