Training for Startup Mentors-
Best Practices from the USA

Get to know the American best practices in startup mentoring, enabling you to work more effectively with startup teams as a mentor.
Participate in the 5 interactive sessions and meet, learn from and network with unrivaled US experts from some of the best known American startup accelerators and universities teaching entrepreneurship.

One of the secret weapons of any successful startup is a great mentor. By sharing their knowledge and experience, a mentor not only sets their team up for success but also contributes to the development of the entire startup ecosystem.
The US Startup Mentor Training Program is open to any startup founder, corporate executive or expert who is ready to share their knowledge as a mentor. The aim of the program is to equip mentors with the know-how, tools and best practices necessary to guide startup teams towards sustainable growth.

The program is organized by CEU iLab in cooperation with the US Embassy in Budapest.

What's in it for me?

Be a catalyst for change

Entrepreneurship is a practical discipline where role models, best practices, success stories but even stories of failure serve as great sources of inspiration. On the flip side, there is a widespread perception in Hungary that the lack of knowledge sharing is an important hindering factor of entrepreneurial success. This program enables you to act as a catalyst for change by becoming a better startup mentor!

Receive a CEU iLab Equipped Startup Mentor Badge

All participants completing the five sessions will receive a virtual „Equipped Startup Mentor Badge” from CEU iLab, that they will be entitled to use across their social media profiles and websites.

Learn new skills

During  the five  interactive sessions, you will participate in lectures and workshops delivered by US experts. The range of topics will be as wide as possible, allowing you to gain insight into  startup mentoring best practices, case studies and mentoring frameworks.

Participate in creating a joint Mentor Manifesto

At the last session, participants will draft a joint Mentor Manifesto that can serve as a point of reference for any startup mentor in Hungary in the future.

Build your network

During the online and offline sessions you will have the opportunity to meet and network with the speakers and other participants from a wide range of backgrounds: startup founders, university faculty, corporate executives etc. This way you can widen your horizon and build your local and international network.

Contribute to building the Hungarian startup ecosystem by sharing your knowledge

Build a strong, resilient startup ecosystem based on trust, knowledge sharing and collaboration across companies and institutions.  As a mentor you can serve as a multiplier, creating a wide  economic and social value.

Be part of a strong mentor community

The program creates a dynamic community that supports entrepreneurial partnerships. We would like to keep this community alive even after the end of the program so that members can continue to share their knowledge and experience in startup mentoring.

Program Timeline

Session 1: The challenges of working with startups


Nathan Furr (INSEAD)


19 May 2021, 4 pm - 7 pm (CET)



This session will explore in an interactive format the differences between the entrepreneurial and the corporate management and mindset. Through practical activities you will understand how to build bridges between your experience and startups.

Session 3: Creating opportunities for startups to build powerful businesses
– interactive session with team-building and buffet dinner


Patrick Riley (CEO of GAN)


30 September 2021, 5 pm - 9 pm (CET)


CEU Budapest campus, Auditorium & online
(hybrid event)

What kind of support do startups need the most? How to help them access the human and financial capital they need to build powerful businesses and to make a meaningful impact? What does the data from 100 global accelerators and 12.000 mentors say about how mentors can do their job most efficiently? What kind of mentorship models can pave the way for startup success?
GAN was originally launched by Techstars with the aim to align the accelerator industry around globally accepted best practices and to create a standardized model for their success. Since 2014, GAN is an independent organization, a natural third-party in the startup world, able to identify, address, and support all members equally, running programs in 120+ cities all over the world, which have supported more than 10,000 startups. Patrick is going to share his enormous first-hand expertise about how to best support startup teams so that they become powerful and sustainable global businesses.  

Detailed program

5 pm – 6:30 pm: talk by Patrick Riley (delivered online)
6:30 pm – 9:00 pm: facilitated network and dinner

Session 2: Startup Mentoring Best Practices from the US - MIT and Techstars
(the session will be part of SMART Conference 2021)


John Hill (Techstars)
Katja Wald (MIT Enterprise Forum Cambridge)


10 June 2021, 4 pm - 7 pm (CET)


hybrid (online and Groupama Arena)

During this session experts from two of the most well-known US accelerator programs will walk you through their best practices of startup mentoring. The session will be preceded by a panel discussion with Hungarian founders who will share their experience about US and international accelerator programs they participated in and their own mentoring experience.

Detailed program:

4-4:45 pm
Panel discussion on the significance of startup mentoring and international best practices from the YCombinator, Techstars and ProVeg acceleration programs
Akos Deliaga (founder, Talk-a-Bot)
Peter Csillag (founder, Starschema)
Csaba Hetenyi (founder, Plantcraft)
Tamas Gorbe (co-founder, Menten AI)
Andrea Kozma (director, CEU iLab)

Nora Wagner-Varady (project manager, CEU iLab)

5-5:45 pm
The role of startup mentors in the growth of a startup – a practical approach
Katja Wald (Executive Director, MIT Enterprise Forum Cambridge)

6-6:45 pm
“Power the Network”, “Dream Big” and “Give First” - Insights from Techstars, one of the World’s Most Iconic Incubators
John Hill (VP of Network, Techstars)


Register for the event series.


Session 4: Behavioral Aspects of Entrepreneurship


Marisa Peer (Globally acclaimed therapist, Best-selling Author, Award-winning Speaker)

CEU iLab Fall Cohort Introductions


26 October 2021, 4 pm - 5 pm (CET)


CEU Budapest campus, Auditorium & online
(hybrid event)

Building a startup doesn’t only require hard skills like financial literacy, marketing, HR or tech skills but also a huge amount of self-confidence, self-belief, people skills, endurance, perseverance etc. that enable founders to step up as leaders and to project their vision onto their co-founders, partners and clients.  During Session 4 we would like to discuss how mentors can support startup founders in their personal development process, as they are creating something completely new in a rapidly changing, uncertain environment, taking huge risks. Marisa Peer is going to talk about how to bring down limiting self-beliefs and get rid of impostor syndrome which very often stand in the way of entrepreneurs to realize their business potential.

Detailed program:
4 pm – 4.50 pm: talk by Marissa Peer (delivered online)
4.50 pm - 5 pm: networking and refreshments
5 pm - 6 pm: the new startups in the InnovationsLab’s acceleration program make their introductions
6 pm - 8 pm: networking, buffet dinner and drinks

Session 5: Disciplined Entrepreneurship - Creating More and Better Entrepreneurs


Bill Aulet (Managing Director, Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship)


30 November 2021, 5 pm - 9 pm (CET)


CEU Budapest campus, Auditorium & online
(hybrid event)

In this session, Bill Aulet will give participants an insight into the Disciplined Entrepreneurship method he developed, without doubt the most well-known systematic framework for building innovative products in the world. Bill will talk about what discipline in entrepreneurship means and why it is important, how startup mentors should approach this framework, when it should and when it should not be used and which steps definitely should not be missed.

Detailed program:
5 pm – 7:30 pm: talk by Bill Aulet (delivered online)
7:30 pm – 9:00 pm: reception for program participants

Participation criteria

Excellent command of English

The language of the sessions will be English. Participants should have advanced-level written and oral English skills.

Experience in business development

We expect participants to have some experience in business development either from a business or academic angle. Any industry and any company size counts. We typically expect startup founders, executives, SME managers, advisors and researchers/faculty from entrepreneurship-related university programs or departments to apply.

Readiness to share your knowledge

The aim of the project is to train startup mentors who will then go on and share their experience with startup teams. Please only apply if you are ready for this. There is no benchmark however - it does not matter how much time you can invest in mentoring. A single hour on a monthly basis can have a huge impact on an early-stage startup.

Readiness to participate in all 5 sessions

We expect participants to cover all sessions of the program. As an absolute minimum, attending 4 sessions out of the 5 is required.


Marisa Peer

Globally Acclaimed Therapist, Best-selling Author, Award-winning Speaker

Session 4 - 26 October 2021

Marisa Peer is an internationally award-winning, qualified hypnotherapist with advanced certificates in hypnotherapy from the Hypnotism Training Institute of Los Angeles. While having helped hundreds of clients, including Hollywood celebrities, CEOs, royalty, and sports stars for over 30 years, Marisa’s unique Rapid Transformational Therapy®️ (RTT®️) now supports tens of thousands of people worldwide to overcome their own personal challenges and lead happier, more fulfilling lives. Her mission is to spread the message that there are simple, rapid, and effective techniques everyone can use that can truly change their life. She is the best-selling author of five books, and you may also know her from starting the I Am Enough movement.

Patrick Riley

CEO and Managing Partner
GAN Ventures

Session 3 - 30 September 2021

Patrick Riley is the CEO of GAN which is a highly-curated community of independent accelerators, corporates, and investors. GAN connects startups to the human and financial resources they need. He's also Managing Partner of GAN Ventures, the VC fund associated with GAN. Earlier in his career Patrick worked for the American Red Cross and later he oversaw the sales and operations for a venture-backed healthcare technology company that had a recent exit. Following his passion to support start-up companies around the world, Patrick joined Techstars, a well known tech accelerator, and oversaw its growth which included the development of GAN. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two girls, bike riding, traveling, and skiing around Colorado

Bill Aulet

Managing Director, Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship and Professor of the Practice of Entrepreneurship, MIT Sloan School of Management
Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, MIT Sloan School of Management

Session 5 - 24 November 2021

Bill Aulet is changing the way entrepreneurship is understood, taught and practiced around the world. He is an award-winning educator and author whose current work is built off the foundation of his 25-year successful business career first at IBM and then as a three-time serial entrepreneur. Since 2009, he has been responsible for leading the development of entrepreneurship education across MIT at the Trust Center. His first book, Disciplined Entrepreneurship, released in August 2013, has been translated into over 20 languages. In 2021, Bill was recognized by the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) as the 2021 Entrepreneurship Educator of the Year.

Katja Wald

Executive Director
MIT Enterprise Forum Cambridge

Session 2 - 10 June 2021

Katja is the executive director of the MIT Enterprise Forum Cambridge, one of the oldest entrepreneurial support organizations in the world. She is a driving force of innovation, connecting the most promising startups with mentors, educators, investors and customers.

John Hill

VP of Network

Session 2 - 10 June 2021

John Hill is the Network Catalyst at Techstars. He supports and grows a global network of tech entrepreneurs, mentors and investors who surround them and the Techstars team. Previously, John was the Higher Education Evangelist for LinkedIn.

Nathan Furr

author, professor and advisor of innovation and strategy
INSEAD, Stanford

Session 1 - 19 May 2021

Nathan Furr is a professor of strategy and innovation at INSEAD in Paris. He earned his Ph.D. from Stanford University. His bestselling books include The Innovator’s Method and Leading Transformation (Harvard Business School Press). Nathan works with leading companies such as Google, Microsoft, Citi, ING, Philips and Solvay.

"Mentoring is about inspiring. It is very rewarding to share my several years of startup support experience with young teams and see how this accumulated learning can help them grow."

Andrea Kozma

Director, CEU

"Mentoring is a possibility to help future entrepreneurs reach their goals more quickly based on our earlier experience. This process benefits all participants so we do it with pleasure.."

Marton Olah

founder, Absorice

"Mentoring startups with truly disruptive ideas helps me think outside of the box. We cannot go back and use the best practices because there aren't any. Innovation needs to be part of our culture. We’re in trouble if we can’t catch up with the constantly transforming world. Mentoring keeps me fit for the customers."

Margo Kohanecz

Managing Director, WSI Origin Consulting

CEU iLab, the organizer of the program

CEU Innovations Lab (iLab) is the startup incubator and accelerator of Central European University.

In the past 5 years,  iLab  has incubated  65  early-stage projects with success stories such as that of Brokerchooser, Talk-a-bot and  Salarify . iLab  teams raised altogether funds worth 8  million Euros and created  more than 235  jobs. CEU iLab  is industry-agnostic, taking projects from any industry, however, there is a prevalence of teams in fintech, food and health.

What makes CEU iLab unique is the synergy it creates between academia and business.

CEU iLab takes startup teams into its one-year incubation program twice a year. The next cohort starts in September 2021.

Register to participate in the US Startup Mentor  Training Program


Registration for the US Startup Mentor Training Program

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