Since the Mentoring Program started in 2016, seven partnerships have been set up. Each of them is composed of an experienced cluster manager within TCI and a cluster newcomer in an early stage if his/her career. The feature is that each partner comes from a different type of organization and different part of the world. Some of the mentorships are from Germany and Mexico, Australia and Spain, New Zealand and Mexico, just to mention a few examples.
We talked with Alejandro Caicedo, mentee from Colombia, and its mentor, David Fernández Terreros from Spain, about their experience working together and their expectations and achievements.
“It is an opportunity to challenge and to be challenged intellectually, to get into different realities and to question yourself your own assumptions on cluster policies. I got to learn new trends and new ideas” explains David Fernández Terreros, from the SPRI Basque Business Development Agency.
The mentee Alejandro Caicedo, Director of the Colombian Cluster Network, also evaluates the program very positively “It helped me in having a global perspective of cluster development and trying to see what is happening in other regions and to think out of the box”.
Joan Martí, Director of Cluster Development at ACCIÓ in Catalonia shared his experience as a mentor of Kelly Blainey from Creative Industries Clusters in Australia, and explained how they organised the mentorship.
Martí emphasizes this kind of learning is key nowadays because the training process is not anymore in one way “It is not anymore about on expert saying something and one freshman or woman getting the knowledge, now is at least in two directions.” When asked about the values of this mentorship process he summarizes it in four words: “network, knowledge, self-reflection and opportunities for future collaborations”.