Jerome Meir brindando capacitación a los mentores. Foto: ASPIRE

UVG-EMS: Promoting entrepreneurship with world-class mentoring


By: Janine Sazinsky

By José Carlos Barillas, Rodrigo Valdés 

A culture of innovation and entrepreneurship is being forged at the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (UVG) with the launching of the UVG Entrepreneurial Mentoring Service (UVG-EMS) pilot program, which aims to support entrepreneurship potential within the UVG and AGEXPORT community. The inaugural mentor training session, held on March 6, 2024, included prominent mentors volunteering for the UVG-EMS program, as well as the guidance of Jerome Meier from MIT-VMS.

EMS mentors advising entrepreneurs. Photo: ASPIRE

EMS mentors advising entrepreneurs. Photo: ASPIRE

This mentoring service in business and business management, based on the successful model of the MIT Venture Mentoring Service (VMS), offers personalized coaching sessions to their mentees, where two or more qualified mentors provide unbiased guidance based on their experience and a rigorous code of ethics. During the first training session of the pilot, two startups presented, Ahau-X and Hylos. They each received feedback and guidance from the mentors in-training, on the continued development of their projects.

The day also included an introduction to the Achieving Sustainable Partnerships for Innovation, Research and Entrepreneurship (ASPIRE) project, from which the UVG-EMS initiative emerged, and a presentation by Jorge Mario García, Director of the UVG CREA Entrepreneurship Center, who outlined the foundations of business mentoring.

UVG EMS mentors. Photo: ASPIRE

UVG EMS mentors. Photo: ASPIRE

The mentors then received training from Jerome Meier, who emphasized the importance of focusing on the needs of the entrepreneur, offering constructive advice, and sharing experiences.

In addition, an online panel with MIT-VMS mentors was held, where they answered questions and offered recommendations to guide entrepreneurs within UVG-EMS. Afterward, the mentors met with the entrepreneurs to provide them with personalized mentoring, offering feedback and support in the development of their projects.

More than 20 mentors and 10 ventures are participating in this pilot, which is expected to conclude in November 2024. The new mentoring initiative not only promotes an entrepreneurship and innovation spirit but also reveals UVG’s and its collaborators’ dedication and commitment to promoting business development in Guatemala.


UVG-EMS is part of the entrepreneur’s path outlined by the UVG CREA Entrepreneurship Center. At UVG CREA, the development of the entrepreneurial spirit in the UVG community is promoted and supported through inspiration, training, support, and networking programs with the Guatemalan entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem.


The ASPIRE Project is a five-year, $15 million project funded by USAID and implemented by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (UVG), and the Guatemalan Exporters Association (AGEXPORT), with the goal of creating a world-class, replicable model for how Latin American universities, in collaboration with the private sector, government, and local communities, can respond to local and regional development needs. The project implements a collaborative approach to research, teaching, innovation, entrepreneurship, and tech transfer, based on the combination of local assets and knowledge with MIT’s experience in the innovation ecosystem.

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