Mentors give a new boost to Starter Tartu teams

This semester, the Mentor Feedback Carousel of the Starter idea development programme was held online and lasted for a whole week. The Mentor Feedback Carousel is a stage in the programme ran by the Startup Lab and gives student teams a great chance to get honest feedback and recommendations on their business idea.

From 18 to 26 March, twelve student teams seeking innovative solutions to everyday problems, for example, strawberry picking, taking care of your dog, growing plants, time management, food, environment etc., got feedback from 19 mentors from different fields. Each team had the opportunity to talk to three mentors about developing their idea. In total, there were nearly 40 meet-ups, where also new useful contacts were exchanged.

Mentors in the Starter programme are well-known people in the Estonian startup community who have a lot of experience from different projects. As before, there were some mentors who are also Startup Lab alumni and have once been in the same situation. Regarding legal questions, the teams can get help from the IT law master’s students working under the name of Legal Clinic.

One of the mentors, the Proekspert business developer Katre Purga said that being a mentor to Starter teams is a great alternative to everyday work. “It gives me the chance to see new interesting perspectives and offer support to the teams. Meanwhile, students get to try out their team dynamics in agile business development. Every mentor relationship accelerates the development of the idea. Thanks to the mentors, the teams may avoid certain mistakes,” said Purga.

According to the Manager of Startup Lab, Maret Ahonen, the mentor week is one of the key points in the Starter Tartu programme, helping teams to find a narrower focus and gain support and positive criticism. “I am very grateful to mentors for their willingness to dedicate their time and attention to Starter teams, because one mentor relationship can change the whole life,” said Ahonen.

Student team PocketTour, who plans to create a virtual travel guide, underlined three key points they learnt at the Mentor Feedback Carousel:

  • Find potential partners,
  • Learn to know your field of operation in depth,
  • Know your customer and market your product accordingly.

The mentors who participated at the event were: Andres Vaher, Anneli Ohvril, Ants-Oskar Mäesalu, Evgenia Trofimova, Juta Kuhlberg, Kaisa Hansen, Kaisa Kopliste, Kalev Külaase, Kaspar Kuus, Katre Purga, Laur Lõhmus, Marelle Ellen, Markus Lember, Merit Valdsalu, Rimante Valancauskaite, Sven Parkel, Taavi Tamm, Triin Kask and Vaido Mikheim. The Starter Tartu team is grateful to all of them.

Startup Lab is a subunit of the University of Tartu School of Economics and Business Administration. It provides hands-on entrepreneurship education and pre-incubation services. Teams who have joined the Starter Tartu business development programme participate in workshops supervised by mentors, who are start-up founders and entrepreneurs from different business sectors.

Starter Tartu programme is financed by the European Social Fund.

Further information: Martti Saarme, Marketing and Communications Specialist, Startup Lab, University of Tartu, +372 5909 4726,