This is a research report about the research that has been conducted on the business model for the
European Center for Evidence-Based Mentoring.
The European Center for Evidence-Based Mentoring has already launched about a year ago, in March
2016 and established their mission and vision. However, how to achieve these ambitions is not
completely elaborated yet. A business model demonstrates: “how a business creates and delivers
value to customers and outlines the architecture of revenues and costs associated with the business
delivering that value”, (Teece, 2010). The ‘problem’ of ECEBM is that they do not have research
evidence on what the business model should look like, corresponding with the mission and vision.
Hereby, it is not possible to make evidence-based decisions about a clear elaboration of the business
model. Therefore, the research assignment is really important because it will provide research
evidence which will help the program group to make evidence-based strategic decisions on what the
business model should look like, corresponding with the already determined mission and vision.
The problem of ECEBM leads to the main question of the research:
Which business model can be designed for ECEBM, corresponding with its mission and vision?
The answer to the main question will result in a business model.
The Double Loop from the book “Design a better Business“ by Patrick van der Pijl (2016), is used as
guideline for the research design. The research/design process of the Double Loop is based on the
methods Design Thinking and Business Model Generation, which fit ECEBM‘s situation as start-up,
problem and organisational plus research goal the best. Based on the Double Loop, the research has
been conducted in four research phases: understanding the current business, customer and context;
ideation for the business model; prototyping the business model; validating the business model.
The research resulted in a business model that is perceived valid by ECEBM’s customers and
program group, corresponds with the determined mission and vision and is linked with their customer’s
needs and desires, developments in the business context and the organisational feasibility.
The designed business model shows that ECEBM offers knowledge, possibilities to learn and develop
your mentoring program and establishes connections through events, a research database, a quality
tool and online videos about the success factors of mentoring programs. Likewise, ECEBM provides
access to their network through a LinkedIn profile and member database, insight in the EU agenda
and matters and consults public consultations on behalf of its members. The targeted customer
segments are spread throughout Europe and are mentoring programs, researchers, umbrella
organisations for mentoring programs, students and teachers doing research on mentoring, the
governments, businesses and social institutions with research questions about mentoring and het
Boudewijnfonds. The success of the business model lays in the community of researchers,
practitioners and coordinators of mentoring programs, which offer research, knowledge and
experience for free. So together with this community, ECEBM co-creates the value that it offers to its
customers. ECEBM reaches its customers through events, their network, Skype, calling or mail
(personal contact) but also through automated services like a newsletter and their website (selfservice). The most important partners to ECEBM are: Friesland College, NHL university of applied
sciences, Nordwin College, ROC Friese Poort and Stenden university of applied sciences, EU
institutions, mentoring programs and umbrella organisations in Europe, researchers from the
University of Groningen and other research organisations, the Center for Evidence-Based Mentoring in
Boston and local, regional, national and European authorities. They provide ECEBM with physical,
intellectual, human and financial resources which enables ECEBM to offer the earlier mentioned value.
Comparing the revenue streams of the evidence-based business model with the costs, the research
has not shown whether the revenue streams will be sufficient enough to ensure continuity for ECEBM.
Furthermore, the research shows there are several offers that have not been validated yet but they are
assumed valuable additions to ECEBM’s business model: online courses, livestream of events, first
month of the membership for free, personal consultancy services, members get the right to put
ECEBM’s logo on their website, receptions at events for members only and initiating peer review.