Meet our mentors: Cosmin Mihaiu

Cosmin Mihaiu is an entrepreneur, business developer and mentor on the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme.

Name: Cosmin Mihaiu

Occupation: Entrepreneur and Business Developer

I have previously run my own health-tech start-up, selling a digital product to both private and NHS organisations in the UK. I have participated in several start-up accelerators, managed several R&D (grant funded) projects, worked with and pitched to different investors and I understand both the ups and downs of trying to bring an idea to life, especially in the healthcare environment.

Unfortunately, after 7+ years of putting too much energy in the above, it ultimately led to burn-out. I had to step away from my own “start-up baby” and take a long break, easing myself back in the ecosystem. I am hoping my experience can help others in their journeys.

Why did you choose to become a mentor on the NHS CEP, are you enjoying the experience and how have you supported your mentee/s so far? 

I became a mentor after Professor Tony Young introduced me to the process.

I want to work with aspiring entrepreneurs to help bring their ideas to implementation. The NHS has many people with great concepts that can improve care delivery and patient outcomes, and I would like to lend a hand to accelerate this. I am enjoying the experience of meeting new people, hearing of the interesting ideas they are working on, seeing how they are learning from their mistakes or successes and getting inspired that we are all working towards improving the NHS. This also has a trickle-down effect to developing countries, which ultimately makes the world better.

So far on my mentoring journey, I have had 1-to-1 online sessions to understand what the mentees are working on, their difficulties and I am providing advice around prioritisation.

The NHS CEP is such a great, extensive group of people, full of amazing ideas and passion. Mentoring a few entrepreneurs and seeing them grow (both professionally and their ideas) is such a fulfilling activity.

What do you think makes a good mentor and can you see the impact that mentoring is having on your mentee?   

Firstly, a good mentor is one that listens to understand the entrepreneur/person’s business hurdles, but also potential inner difficulties. A good mentor knows that bringing an idea to life takes a lot of energy and sometimes the best support is just moral support and being there for them.

It’s also important for a mentor to recognise where they can and cannot help, rather than expressing opinions that can potentially confuse the mentee.

I believe my advice has helped improve my mentees pitching and understanding mentor whiplash.

What is the best piece of advice you have been given in your professional career? 

Be careful of mentor whiplash- Advice is good, but too much advice with conflicting opinions will often slow one down in not knowing how to (best) proceed. Also, one’s experience doesn’t necessarily replicate to another one. 

Do not forget to take breaks – I learned this the hard way.

Cosmin Mihaiu is one of over 300 professionals that volunteer there support to the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme and support our next generation of innovators. If you are interested in supporting the programme visit our mentor pages