In May, Futurpreneur Canada co-hosted a global Mentoring Master Class with Youth Business International (YBI). YBI is an organization dedicated to creating and supporting an international network of organizations providing thousands of young entrepreneurs with an integrated package of support to help them start and grow sustainable businesses. This Master Class, led by Hoang Anh ThiLe, Head of Mentoring at YBI, John Cull, Mentoring Consultant at YBI as well as Linda Morana, Mentor in Residence at Futurpreneur, brought 23 mentoring program managers and CEOs representing 19 different countries and youth entrepreneurship focused organizations to Toronto. What was in store? A full week of learning, best practice sharing and showcasing the hotbed of entrepreneurial activity and spaces in Toronto.
The focus of the Master Class was to have meaningful interactions and opportunities to share experiences, explore good practice and learn from the world’s best mentoring experts from both within and outside the network.
Some members like the Australian and Mongolian participants travelled over 24 hours to Toronto to experience this rare opportunity. Each day had a different mentoring theme and purpose, which were held between MaRS Discovery District, Brightlane, BrainStation and the venues selected were a true representation of Canadian entrepreneurship.
The theme of the first day of the Master Class focused on, “Spotlight on the Network” where all 23 members introduced their organizations, how they each deliver training, financing and mentoring for entrepreneurs in their respective countries, and highlighted innovations in their mentoring programs. The talented Carolyn Ellis of BrillianceMastery.com visually depicted all the presentations to help facilitate networking amongst members. Check out her visual representation of Futurpreneur Canada below.
Tuesday was all about celebrating – celebrating entrepreneurship, mentorship and Futurpreneur Canada’s 20th anniversary! Held at the Simpson Tower, Master Class participants, entrepreneurs and mentors and other supportive stakeholders in the entrepreneurial space came together to learn from each other, showcase entrepreneurs’ products and services and to network.
Attendees had a spectrum of learning opportunities to choose from. From tales from seasoned entrepreneurs like Hershel Segal of Le Chateau and DavidsTea, to a panel of rock star mentors and sessions on creating a good corporate culture.
Just a few of the key learnings from this celebratory event:
Herschel Segal from Le Chateau and David's Tea at #AECanada: I didn't do the planning I should have done, I put too much on the creative.
— Globe Small Business (@GlobeSmallBiz) May 31, 2016
— Andrew Devenport (@AndrewDevenport) May 31, 2016
— Alex Tveit (@AlexTveit) May 31, 2016
— Rachel Shuttleworth (@rachelinternets) May 31, 2016
Wednesday’s session, focused on “YBI Network Communities of Practice and Discovery” which showcased the brilliant innovations in mentoring practiced within the network – including India’s expertise in roles for mentors beyond one-on-one, Spain’s experience in taking mentoring from pilots to scalable programs, Australia’s know-how in providing mentorship for indigenous communities, and more. This was a successful day of peer learning and mentoring.
Leading us through Thursday’s learning journey was Canadian mentoring expert, Catherine Mossop, President of Sage Mentors Inc., who shared her expertise on tools mentors can use in mentoring conversations. She introduced a powerful question mentors can ask their mentees at the very beginning of their relationship: “What is important about you.” The response to this question will provide mentors a window into their mentee’s values and what they hold dear.
Catherine also highlighted one of the main roles of a mentor, which is to support entrepreneurs in developing more advanced critical thinking skills. She demonstrated this concept by having the group draw a water bottle, and said, this is typically what the entrepreneur will see, that is, the problem/challenge/situation that is right in front of them. It’s the mentor’s role to help them see beyond the situation and draw the space around the water bottle.
In the afternoon, Catherine led the group through case studies that represented mentoring programs at different stages of growth. She had us identifying the main challenge for each case study and provided a solution and plan on how to implement using the Visual Issues Map below. This is a very useful tool that can also be used by mentors with their mentees.
Friday’s session was led by Middlesex University researchers Julie Haddock-Millar and Chandana Sanyal who shared some of their work on the global entrepreneurial mentoring research they have started as well as some good practices in monitoring and evaluating mentoring offerings. Below are a few take-aways on best practices in monitoring and evaluating mentoring programs as outlined by Dr. David Clutterbuck, an internationally renowned mentoring thought leader and researcher.
Measure the effectiveness of mentoring and the program through your relationship and program. Ask yourself the following:
All in all, the Mentoring Master Class was a successful week of learning, sharing, experiencing and connecting, and the 23 members in attendance realized the power of supporting one another in creating valuable offerings for volunteers and entrepreneurs globally.