Why Mentorship for Underserved Communities is Critical

group of 4 people gathering at a table | Innovators Central

The value of mentorship in developing and training the next generation of entrepreneurs is well documented.

Research shows that 33% of top performers in new tech companies were guided by a mentor, with only 10% reaching that status without one.

But statistics are only part of the story. As powerful as mentorship is, underserved communities still face significant barriers to starting a business.

Where the Gaps Are

The traditional gaps to entrepreneurship in underserved communities are well known, and one of the largest is access to capital. According to a report by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Black entrepreneurs are about three times more likely than white entrepreneurs to have profitability affected by a lack of access to capital.

But the gaps span beyond access to capital; mentorship is another big barrier for underserved communities. About twenty-five percent of Black and Hispanic-owned startups have one or fewer connections to turn to for support in building their business.

Why Mentorship is Critical

The most apparent reason mentorship needs to be expanded for these groups is the explosion in entrepreneurship within them. Let’s take a quick look at the business growth potential within underserved communities.

Over a ten-year period, women-owned businesses grew 1.5 times faster than others. The same is true for communities of color, where African American startup growth was 34% compared to just 6% in non-minority firms. And within Hispanic communities, participation in entrepreneurship has more than tripled in the past few years.

This performance is mirrored within immigrant and refugee communities whose likelihood of forming a business is the highest.

Mentorship to underserved communities is more critical than ever. Without it, the above realities mean a lot of talent, ideas, and innovation are being left on the table. Developing programs to mentor these communities better is also critical to economic development.

How Mentorship Impacts Business Performance

The diversity of culture and gender within new and established businesses significantly impacts enterprise growth. Businesses with over 30% women in critical positions outperform other companies within their industry.

And for companies with the highest diversity of culture and color, the outperformance of peers is even higher. These trends show that despite barriers to access to capital and mentorship, when given the opportunity, these groups excel.

Stepping Up to the Challenge

The Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre (HBEC) at Georgian college believes that new, underserved, and immigrant entrepreneurs should have equal access and opportunity to develop their ideas and bring their visions to fruition.

Our XcelerateNow program was designed to help entrepreneurs learn new tools for business development and provide opportunities for business engagement. With online webinars and in-person events, the program connects immigrants, refugees, and newcomer entrepreneurs with funding and resources to help them move past traditional barriers and bring their ideas to life.

As the need for more robust mentorship opportunities for underserved communities grows, keep abreast of how this program can help your journey with our social media posts on Facebook and Instagram, or reach out to us at info.xceleratenow@gmail.com for more information.

HBEC is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs find the right mentorship and resources. Contact us to find out how we can help.

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