Mentoring process – Denisa Zlata

About the author

Denisa Zlata

Denisa is experienced business development manager and expert with a demonstrated history of working in the research, development and innovation domains. Skilled both in creativity and industry sectors with analytical skills, project management, business consulting with focus on EU funding schemes. Strong public affairs professional who studied public policy at Central European University (CEU) in Budapest and culture theory and management at Charles University in Prague.

BtG – Finding opportunities and building portfolio

(Video with subtitles)

About the author

Martin Schwarz

Martin graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Bratislava. He works at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava as an external teacher. In addition to his pedagogical activities, he is also actively involved in authorial work especially illustration, comic book creation, drawing and classical graphic techniques. He also has experience with filmmaking. He participated in several solo and group exhibitions in Slovakia and abroad and received several awards. He is the author of illustrations for several books, in 2019 he published the author's book Friends from the Wall. He teaches figure drawing, typography and computer graphics at the School of Design.

Mentor’s important role in supporting the learner to create his/her own opportunities

This article discusses the experience of using module No.1 of the Bridging the Gap (BTG) project in work with a mentee. It includes knowledge of the importance of using individual tools to define the possibilities, key competencies and goals of a mentee. As a result, the project BtG shows the need of the right setting and direction of a mentee in his/her professional life.

As a mentor, I chose Module No.1 Demonstration of the experience in the Creative and Culture Industries. As I teach at the School of Design, I found this area very useful and beneficial for students studying in the creative industries.

With the selected mentee I went through Module no. 1 with its individual points. The student is studying the field of Graphic Design and was very satisfied with the introduction of the BtG project platform. This platform represents an opportunity to become fully acquainted with possibilities and possible procedures for orienting in the given issue.

1. Demonstrating experience

Mentee understood that for his future in the creative industry, it was necessary to define in advance his visions in artistic and business activity as well. It is clear from his reactions that after the presentation of this module of the section “Mind map and ideas generation” he realized the importance of choosing the most suitable tool that will help him in his further professional development. He understood the procedure of individual steps and reacted very well to the chosen scheme. In the next part “Top 10 skills children learn from the Arts” of the module, the student realized the importance of analyzing his abilities for his best development in the creative industry. He considers the individual activities in the module to be sufficient and clear in every way. Based on the section “Welcome to Imagineering in a Box”, he understood the importance of cooperation between individual fields of the creative industry.

The activities listed in the module were understandable, clear and helpful. In the section “Creative ideas don’t come easy”, he realized the importance of getting to know the work of artists who has already worked in the creative industry, as well as defining the environment that will help him in his professional development. The “Flow theory and activities” part was a bit challenging for the student due to its extensive theoretical study. He understands that information is important for the further development and proper setting of his work in the creative industry, but he said that reading the theory for too long discourages him from trying practical activities.

1.2 Methods and Tools

In this part of the module, we went through its basic idea with the mentee and that is to find out whether I, as a mentor, can use the individual tools and activities to achieve the choice of the appropriate method and tool to get as close as possible to the mentee and show him the most suitable business plan for him and point out short-term and long-term goals and ambitions. We managed this succesfully. Using the individual tools of the module, I was able to precisely define the mentee’s professional area and also enable him to define his goals, whether short term or long term. Mentee also appreciated and understood the self assessment tool in this part of the module. The activity was understandable and inspiring for him. He also greatly appreciated the link for creating creative project canvas. This tool was completely new to him, nevertheless he considers it understandable, helpful and very interesting. I also introduced the mentee a SWOT analysis, which he had a problem to understand from the beginning but step by step, using a given procedure, he mastered at least the basis of its creation and understood its meaning. In the digital tools section, the mentee was more at home, the instructions were clear and understandable for him. He understood the issue and also understood the importance and necessity of digital content. When getting acquainted with goal measure objectives and success indicators using the tool in the module, we had no problem for the mentee to understand what is required of him and what it means. He realized the need of cross motivation between teams and partners to produce high quality quantitative data.

Bridging the Gap- Mentors’ voices about training tools and methodologies

The mentoring process in any field of work is a challenging and demanding process. For this reason, we, as Creative Enterprise mentors always seek to find and value any type of guidance that makes our task easier and more beneficial for our mentees.

The educational platform, which has been developed as part of the Bridging the Gap project, is a very useful tool that is provided to mentors and people who are thinking of starting their mentoring career, as it contains a variety of training tools and methodologies. The modules that have been developed serve as guidance to mentors and they cover the following three basic thematic areas:

1) Ideas and opportunities

According to the feedback, this module helps mentors learn how to create a learning environment that is optimal for learning, through the use of different tools and methodologies. The mind map was proven to be a very handy tool, as it allows for very rough ideas to be visualised. This in turn, may lead to other processes that are beneficial, such as extremely interesting discussions to develop, answers to different questions to be found, potential problematic areas to be anticipated as well as solutions to future problems to identified. Such knowledge has been considered to be extremely important and necessary for a good mentoring relationship.

2) Resources

Again, this module has helped mentors learn a lot of valuable information about extremely important issues, such as how to build and sustain networks with other people, enterprises, organisations and other institutions and the different ways in which opportunities for funding can be accessed. One of the important tools that was presented was the Creative Project Canvas.

The Creative Project Canvas has also proven to be extremely useful, as it allows for a holistic visualization of any entrepreneurial idea, from start to finish. It also allows for deeper reflection with any target group. In this way, mentors can help their mentees develop their project in a more sustainable and transparent way. As with the mind map tool mentioned above, the Creative Project Canvas gives us the opportunity to engage in important discussions that can potentially highlight problems, opportunities and solutions. 

3) Into action

This is a very important part of Bridging the Gap educational platform, as it highlights all the skills and competences that are required by all of us, as Creative Enterprise mentors. For example, one very useful competence that has been referred to was the ability to present your product in an interactive and interesting way. Again, a variety of different tools are offered in the platform, which have a lot of advantages (eg.they are flexible, do not require advanced technical skills and are practical and easy to use).

To sum up, the Bridging the Gap educational platform and its training materials has been proven to be an excellent tool in the hands of mentors and prospective mentors who hope to improve their skills and plan beneficial mentoring opportunities for everyone.h

Entrepreneurial competence

The concept of entrepreneurship includes competencies such as dynamism, expansiveness, courage, activity, risk-taking ability, predictability and imagination. It is the ability to seize opportunities and ideas and turn them into values for others. They fall into two categories: acquired (i.e. knowledge and skills) and natural (e.g. responsibility, openness, aptitudes).*

An article by Beata Krawczyk-Bryłka and Barbara Geniusz-Stepnowska entitled Professional predispositions of the artist and the characteristics of the entrepreneur “analyses and compares the personality traits attributed to artists with the characteristics of an effective entrepreneur” in terms of the range of competencies that determine the implementation of business ventures. Briefly: ” is an attempt to answer the question of whether the predisposition to artistic work is a supporting factor or a barrier to taking on the role of an entrepreneur”.** According to the study of artists, they are characterised by broad creativity, developed imagination, learn from mistakes made and learn from previous experiences. These features provide a great basis for building your successful businesses. The characteristics of artistic personality that can cause difficulties in such activities are nonconformism and a high need for independence – resulting in difficulties in adapting to the social environment and a frequent lack of conscientiousness and order of actions, which in turn can cause difficulties in carrying out tasks of an office nature. And according to JL Holland’s popular professional predisposition test, people of the artistic type “are innovative, non-conformist, impulsive, non-standard, intuition-based, sensitive. Decisions are made on a sense, prefer creative tasks, prefer to work on ideas, concepts rather than on specific products.”

For comparison, the personality of the entrepreneur is characterised by an orientation to the goals set, a focus on economic benefits and the resulting high motivation of achievements – the need for competition. Despite their high ambition, consistency, and self-esteem, these personalities often use manipulation to gain power or can be aggressive.

Predispositions common to both artistic and entrepreneurial types, such as perseverance, commitment, passion, independence, creativity are manifested in a personality called indirect. People with this personality are characterised by an average level of internal cohesion, a combination of creative artistic competencies such as high sensitivity and ability to express with developed organizer talent, the ability to make independent decisions and initiate innovative solutions. These competencies make up the respective predispositions of the entrepreneur-artist.

The project conducted in 2016-2020, by the Warsaw School of Arts  -“Entrepreneurial Artist”- as part of the Operational Program Knowledge Education Development, focuses on training artists in the field of entrepreneurial competence. “The project is intended to develop competencies related to the management of artistic projects and creativity, which is a unique composition of knowledge, skills and workshop of the contemporary artist – manager.” You can learn more about the project at



Tranining materials – Wenancjusz Ochmann

(podcast with subtitles)

About the author

Wenancjusz Ochmann

Wenancjusz is a senior mentor in Foundation ARTeria, Zabrze (Poland). He is sharing his experiences in using "Break-in the desk" framework and Creative Project Canvas.

Testing phase Training materials (IO4 and IO6)

About the author

Virginia Walch

Virginia has developed her career in the framework of the management and coordination of European Projects and the design and implementation of internationalisation actions in the European context. She has participated in the piloting activities of the Bridging the Gap project and speaks about this experience in testing phase Training materials (IO4 and IO6)