At Futurpreneur Canada we don’t just provide financing to young entrepreneurs, we make sure they have the best conditions to succeed, by supporting them with resources and tools to help them start their business, but above all, by connecting them with a valuable ally, their mentor.
Today, our community of volunteer mentors has over 2,800 experienced professionals, all driven by the same desire to give back by helping young entrepreneurs succeed. And their commitment pays! In addition to helping with the launch of a business, mentoring is a key to developing strong businesses that will survive over time.
Do you have over five years of people management or entrepreneurship experience? You may fit the profile to become a mentor, and these five signs may confirm whether or not mentoring is for you.
1. You like to learn new things every day
Being a mentor is not a one-way relationship; in fact it’s quite the contrary! It’s a mutual learning relationship. Working with a young entrepreneur helps to enhance your skills as a team leader. This can also be an opportunity to discover a new industry and stay on top your game! Devon Brooks, mentor for Zach Berman and Ryan Slater (The Juice Truck) insists on this point:
“I very much get something from this. It keeps me fresher than anything else I do. You only get your first time launching a business once. As a mentor, I get it over and over again. Each time I begin a new mentorship, I benefit from a start-up experience right from square one. It keeps me on the front lines. Innovating. Reflecting. Problem-solving. It’s an exercise that yields immediate results for me.”
2. You like to listen, advise, and encourage
At Futurpreneur, we don’t expect a mentor to have the answers to all of their mentee’s questions or to give their mentee the solution to all their problems on a silver platter. The mentor’s role is to help the entrepreneur to gain confidence and the necessary knowledge to deal with the ups and downs of a start-up. The mentor should be patient and take the time to really understand the concerns and questions of the entrepreneur. They help the entrepreneur identify the issues and challenges and stimulate their thought process by helping the entrepreneur ask themselves the right questions. A good mentor encourages and supports his mentee in order for him/her to think and make their decisions independently. This is what Denis Loboda, co-founder of Air Xposure, retains of his mentoring relationship with Gulam Juma:
“At one point, the business faced permit issues for flying the drone in the Canadian Airspace. Attaining permits for legally providing the service took longer than expected, so Gulam was very helpful in opening my mind to new opportunities and thinking outside of the box for potential cash flows.”
3. You’re not afraid to share your negative experiences
A mentoring relationship does not only consist of a mentor sharing their positive experiences with their mentee, it is also about sharing the negative experiences and the lessons learned from them. As an experienced professional, you have faced many common problems that affect start-ups and have definitely learned from your mistakes. When a mentor shares their mistakes with a young entrepreneur, this allows them to avoid the pitfalls and helps them gain valuable time!
4. You draw inspiration from those around you
Being in contact with young creative entrepreneurs, who are full of ideas and optimism, is anything but boring! Being closely involved in the start of an incredible project such as the launch of a business is seen as a privilege and considered a source of inspiration for many of our mentors. Glenn Nishimura, who mentors three entrepreneurs, speaks with passion:
“Mentoring is without a doubt one of the most rewarding parts of my professional life. I’ve always felt a strong connection to building things, and the satisfaction and pride you feel while doing it. Sharing in the excitement and feeding off their drive is why I enjoy it so much! All of my mentees are smart and dedicated people with a fire in their gut. That inspires me every day.”
5. You look for new ways to give back to the community
We all remember someone who has helped us at one point or another during our life and allowed us to move forward in the right direction. Today it’s your turn, you can be that someone with a young entrepreneur. This is one of the reasons that motivated Jeff Ryzner to become a mentor:
“There’s that indescribable feeling that you can only get from giving back. When I look back at almost every stage throughout my life, there have always been amazing people to help me. I guess I am self-aware enough to know that I never really would have achieved much without their help, so I want to be that person who impacts other people in the same way.”
Written By: Claire Gendron, Bilingual Marketing Content Coordinator, Futurpreneur Canada