The power of mentoring entrepreneurs and new business leaders is well established. And the impact of immigrant entrepreneurs is equally imprinted on new business growth and culture.
But sometimes, two phenomena converge to create innovative and unique ideas within business. These ideas power job creation, economic growth, and benefits to the communities in which they’re located.
Why Mentoring Matters
Big business has long understood the power of mentorship, and over 71% of the companies on the Fortune 500 list have mentoring programs. These statistics are no less impactful for small businesses. Data shows that those with a mentor in their early years survived more than five years, doubling the typical survival rate average for small companies.
There are several reasons why mentoring helps new and developing businesses:
- Broader Perspective – Having someone who has walked the path of an entrepreneur helps provide a fresh and broader perspective. Mentors can provide practical insights that come with experience.
- The Value of Experience – Many entrepreneurs and founders of new businesses have a vision for a product or service but may not have the formal training or hands own experience of operating a business. An experienced mentor can help leaders understand and learn how to manage beyond the vision for inevitable decision-making on day-to-day operations.
- Building Connections – Networking and building connections with the help of a mentor is vital to new businesses. By acting as a bridge to fellow business associates and the community at large, entrepreneurs have access to networking and connections they otherwise may have missed.
Empowering Immigrant Entrepreneurs Through Mentorship
Immigrant entrepreneurs face many challenges native entrepreneurs avoid. Language, cultural differences, unfamiliarity with the business and general community, and other variables increase the number of barriers to entry into the business. Yet data shows that they thrive as entrepreneurs despite these added challenges.
By linking immigrant entrepreneurs to general mentorship and mentor programs specifically designed to serve these communities, the power of both combines to create a win-win for everyone involved.
Immigrant entrepreneurs already face uphill challenges. Unable to put their ideas to work in their home country, they have opportunities they didn’t have before. But at the same time, they’re learning to change their thought processes and habits to acclimate to their new surroundings.
Caught between orienting themselves to their new home and starting a business, the process could be overwhelming. A mentor can help them follow through and move forward with their business ideas. They can provide guidance and support on the development of the business, which frees them up to navigate their new country on a personal level.
The ability to navigate change helps build trust and free up new ideas and innovation. Many immigrant entrepreneurs faced severe personal restrictions, financial limitations, or persecution in their previous land.
By focusing on the business value, mentors provide a safe sounding board and useful advice without negative consequences. This environment helps bring the immigrant entrepreneur out of long-held reservations about trusting others with their livelihood and unlocks the power of their ideas.
Universality of Mentorship
By creating mentorship opportunities for immigrant entrepreneurs, the power of mentorship becomes universal. With sensitivity and emphasis on serving immigrant communities, mentors help break down the barriers to show these new business leaders that the value of mentorship works with all groups regardless of origin.
As barriers fall, immigrant entrepreneurs feel more confident to move forward in a general business community because the ideas, guidance, insights, and connections available to them are the same as those available to native entrepreneurs.
Providing a Path to Immigrant Entrepreneurs Through Mentorship
Immigrant entrepreneurs can reinvigorate native, immigrant, and business communities with new ideas, unique visions, and innovation. By incorporating these qualities into the business community at large, everyone benefits.
The Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre (HBEC) at Georgian College offers world-class mentorship to native and immigrant entrepreneurs. By adding these unique and diverse voices to the business community, HBEC can help guide new arrivals to where their ideas drive innovation and growth in their community and across their new country.
Contact us to learn more about how our mentorship programs can fit your business needs.