The Worshipful Company of Information Technologists (WCIT) is aiming to boost the number of members involved in mentoring tech startups, as it continues on its mission to support more entrepreneurs throughout the UK.
The WCIT is a City of London livery company that does educational and charitable work, including the support of entrepreneurship.
WCIT master Nic Birtles recently spoke to Computer Weekly about the importance of both mentorship and entrepreneurialism.
He explained the WCIT take on an estimated 40 new members a year with between 80 and 100 currently onboard as mentors for tech startups.
Members of the WCIT range from IT pros who have started their own businesses to those who have run multi-national companies. Members are asked to give time, resources and possible contacts through personal networks to support the company’s activities.
“The mentors help you with how to communicate your ideas and firm them up,” Birtles said.
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Birtles has been a member of the WCIT since 1988 and became a liveryman in 1992. Since 2002 he has also chaired the entrepreneurship panel.
Paul Finch, WCIT member and managing director of software-as-a-service firm Konetic, said the mentoring schemes available through the company support startups in taking the leap to running their business full-time instead of something they try to do on the side.
“It is to help with peoples' fear – people who need that kick to go from good money to sometimes no money," he said. "I say it’s like when I abseiled off a 300ft building in Sidcup. There is no support until you’ve made the leap.”
But Finch said sometimes its about letting startups know they don’t have the right idea and it won’t work. “The startup world can be a very lonely place, so we have senior players who can help with much needed advice,” he said.
WCIT will be holding the UK Technology Entrepreneurs at Enterprise Awards again in 2015. Taking place in June, it is the fifth year WCIT will hold the awards, which aim to shine a light on the technology entrepreneurial spirit of the UK.
“The awards aim to not only help others but to raise aspirations,” said Birtle.