Entrepreneurs and executives interested in helping startups by sharing their own experiences can hear first hand from one of the executives of an MIT program that has worked with more than 700 new ventures at a Council for Entrepreneurial event on Thursday.

Jerome Smith, co-director of the Venture Mentoring Service at MIT, is leading an introductory event to help the CED launch its own VMS program next month.

In a Q&A with Local Tech Wire, Smith talked about the program and its benefits.

What were the key reasons for developing and launching the program at MIT?

The founders of the MIT VMS program wanted to initiate an educational program within MIT that would connect aspiring entrepreneurs from the MIT community (students, alums, faculty, staff, etc) with experienced business mentors to improve the probability of success of their ventures.

How have you benefited from mentoring in the past?

My business career was in a large corporation and in that context mentoring was career based rather than the business mentoring at MIT VMS and now at CED.

What are the key benefits those who have gone through the MIT program realized?

The key benefits to the entrepreneurs who utilize MIT VMS are the connections to a team of experienced business people who are willing to give guidance on the complete range of business issues that confront any start up venture.

Are there benefits as well for those who do the mentoring beyond possible developing future business opportunities?

There are extensive benefits to the mentors including the opportunity to work with bright entrepreneurs with exciting business concepts. In addition, the mentors become associated with MIT and get to network with a very large group of their peers.

The CED VMS program will be launched in February.

Teams of three to four mentors will offer entrepreneurs guidance in areas such as product development, marketing, intellectual property law and finance.

A training session for executives who wish to serve as mentors is set for Jan. 27.

For more about the CED program, read here.

For more about the MIT program, read here.

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