I recently had the opportunity to be a mentor for the entrepreneurship@UBC program, and I would highly recommend getting involved as a mentor or advisor in your local community. It is a great way to keep up with developments in technology, to connect with the next generation of entrepreneurs, and to exchange ideas with other mentors and advisors.
At e@UBC, I mentored a team called the Screw Cutter Project: you can read about them here. The Screw Cutter Project has the goal of disrupting health care in the developing world, by providing solutions to real problems in operating rooms. The Screw Cutter device enables technicians in the operating room to cut screws to custom lengths, without having to resort to using bolt cutters (hard to believe, but that actually happens). During my time as mentor, we worked through the e@UBC Lean Launch Pad program to identify the value proposition, determine the customer segments, and build and test business models in the market. This enabled the Screw Cutter team to move through market validation much more quickly than they would have been able to do on their own, and get feedback on their product and business model fast.
As a mentor, I provided business advice based on my experience working with technology startups and global enterprises, and helped them move through the Lean Launch Pad program quickly and efficiently. As part of the Engineers in Scrubs masters program, the Screw Cutter team brought a working prototype of the screw cutter as part of the program, and it was great to visualize how this would work in the operating room. It was great to work with a team of entrepreneurs who wants to make a difference in the world, and improve the lives of patients and doctors in the developing world – especially when they have already developed a working prototype and are ready to make it happen.
If you have a chance to be a mentor or advisor for a program such as e@UBC, I would highly recommend it!