Finding the right mentor can be a challenge. Despite an industry’s size, there are only a finite number of people with experience, skillset, and desire to impart knowledge to future generations. And when you factor added barriers to people of color, women, and other traditionally excluded groups, it can be challenging to bring together mentors and mentees.
There is ample evidence that the growth of entrepreneurs in all categories has created an even more significant need for qualified mentors than before. Statistics show that women-owned businesses are growing twice as fast as all other categories. And today, minority-owned businesses make up over 18% of all US enterprises.
But where do business owners turn when they are looking for a mentor? And where do potential mentors turn to when they have skills to offer. Here is a look at 20 resources that both can utilize to find one another.
General Business Mentoring
- MicroMentor – MicroMentor is a well-established site began by Mercy Corps. They have been successful at working globally and cross-culturally to connect entrepreneurs and mentors through a social media style profile system that puts the power of connection in the hands of both parties.
- SCORE – SCORE is US-based and focused on building. SCORE offers editorial and “how-to” articles, workshops, and a profile-based program to allow small businesses and new entrepreneurs to connect with more experienced entrepreneurs. They stretch across the US with branches in every state.
- Small Business Development Centers – Founded and run by the US Small Business administration, SBDC chapters can offer small business consulting and training. They are handy for small businesses with little or no resources available to them for business consulting.
- Women’s Enterprise Centre – Canadian-based Women’s Enterprise Centre is a non-profit enterprise that provides mentoring and business advice to help women entrepreneurs succeed.
- The Forum – This charity organization has been helping women entrepreneurs across Canada succeed in business by matching new business owners with experienced mentors that challenge and nurture in an environment designed for personal and business growth.
- Women’s Business Development Center – Centered in the US Midwest, WBDC offers training and mentorship to support, inform, and guide women’s business ownership. They can help match mentors and sponsor mentorship events to increase awareness.
- Association of Women’s Business Centers – The AWBC is another US-based organization centered on mentoring and training. It’s an excellent resource for women of color and women starting businesses later in life.
- Minority Business Development Agency – The MBDA is a department within the US Department of Commerce. They offer multiple avenues of assistance, including mentoring programs aimed explicitly at developing minority business leaders.
- Black Connect – Black Connect offers minority business owners training, assistance, and mentorship to address specific cultural, financial, and personal barriers encountered by minorities within the business and startup world.
- Black Entrepreneurship Program – Like Black Connect, the Black Entrepreneurship Program offers training and mentorship to Canadian minorities. It was established as a partnership between the Canadian government, private enterprises, and Canadian financial institutions. It helps new business owners work through the challenges presented to them when starting a business and can match them to someone with a shared experience.
- Boots to Business – Another US-based program from the Small Business Administration, Boots to Business offers entrepreneurship programs to veterans exiting the military services. It includes mentorship as part of an introduction to entrepreneurship to allow veterans to establish new businesses.
- Canadian Veteran Business Directory – Part of the Prince’s Trust Canada, the Canadian Veteran Business Directory offers advice, support, and mentorship for transitioning vets looking to become business owners.
Finding a mentor can be a difficult process. At the Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre (HBEC) at Georgian College, we understand that finding the right mentor is an important step. We can help new entrepreneurs from any walk of life in training, education, funding, and mentorship to find the right match to help in both personal and professional growth. Contact us today to find out how we can help find the right mentor and prepare you for the next level for your business or idea.