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Mentorship & Entrepreneurship: why the two belong together

WHY DOES MENTORSHIP MATTER?

We see the influence of mentorship every day: in our own lives, in the lives of our friends and family, and in the media we consume. Many of the most influential politicians, businesspeople and cultural icons we admire have credited mentors as a key component on their path to success. Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey and many more have highlighted the critical role that mentors played in their lives. 1

However, individual anecdotes from larger-than-life personalities are not the only measure of success when it comes to the role of mentorship. Countless studies and surveys support the overwhelmingly positive impact of having a mentor guide you on your professional journey. For instance, one survey reported that 91% of mentees experienced competency improvement in one or more of the areas addressed in their mentoring relationship. 4 Another, which interviewed 3,000 professionals about their mentor-mentee relationships, found that those in a mentoring relationship were more satisfied and happy in their jobs than those without. 3

Other studies have shown more quantitative benefits. One study followed 1,000 employees over a five-year span and found that “employees who received mentoring were promoted five times more often than people who didn’t have mentors, and both mentors and mentees were approximately 20% more likely to get a raise than people who did not participate in the mentoring program.” It’s no wonder, then, that over 71% of Fortune 500 companies include some type of official mentorship program as a benefit of employment. 5 The effects of mentorship are not exclusive to the Fortune 500, though. Small business entrepreneurs benefit just as much, if not more, from access to mentorship. Going it alone, without leagues of coworkers at your side, necessitates the need for an experienced mentor who can help guide you along the way. Research has shown that small businesses that receive mentoring survive at double the rate of their non-mentored counterparts.  A study shared by Forbes in 2014 also found that over a set period of time, those who were mentored saw increased business revenues of almost eight times more than those who had not received mentoring. 2 While it’s evident that research supports the net positive effects of mentorship regardless of field, title, or occupation, the question remains, how can you personally benefit from a mentor-mentee relationship?

THE START, SCALE, SUCCEED MENTORSHIP PROGRAM

Despite the tremendous benefit that mentorship presents, very few people are in such relationships, often because they don’t know where to start. Perhaps that’s exactly how you’re feeling as you read this blog. If so, we have some good news: The West Virginia Women’s Business Center (WV WBC) recently launched the Start, Scale, Succeed Mentorship Program to connect mentees with mentors across West Virginia, and joining is easy. All you have to do is sign-up, and we’ll take care of the rest. Wondering what sets this program apart? There are a number of factors that distinguish this program, making it worthwhile and easy to use:

1. It’s flexible. The Start, Scale, Succeed Mentorship Program is entirely customized around you. Whether you prefer to meet virtually or in person is your decision. If you only want to meet once for an hour or once a week for a few months, the choice is yours. We’ve designed this program to work for you, not the other way around.

2. You’ll learn and grow. Whether you prefer to engage as a mentor or as a mentee, we promise that you’ll push past your comfort zone as you learn from one another and from the experience as a whole.

3. Your network will expand. You’ll have the opportunity to connect not only with your mentor or mentee, but also with other members of the program, as well as various business owners and resources around the state.

4. You’ll gain confidence. Mentorship relationships have the special ability to foster confidence and self-assurance in both mentee and mentor as you challenge each other in different ways. You’ll both learn about various resources that can help you take the next step as you grow your businesses.

5. It’ll be fun! With a strong and diverse group of mentors and mentees, we’re confident that this journey will be full of fun, collaboration, and new discoveries.

If this has sparked your interest, we encourage you to consider signing up today or reaching out to us at the WV WBC with any questions. Whether you’re just starting out, looking to scale your business, or are already well-established, this program is for you. Visit our mentorship page to learn more about the Start, Scale, Succeed Mentorship Program!

References

  1. Argent, C. (2020, September 28). Top 9 influential people who succeeded because of their mentors. In WiseUp Networks. Retrieved from https://wiseupnetworks.com/blog/top-9-influential-people-who-succeeded-because-of-the ir-mentors
  2. Patel, S. (2014, November 12). Why every entrepreneur needs a mentor. In Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/sujanpatel/2014/11/12/why-every-entrepreneur-needs-a-me ntor/?sh=143f79a07161 
  3. Comaford, C. (2019, July 3). 76% of people think mentors are Important, but only 37% have one. In Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/christinecomaford/2019/07/03/new-study-76-of-people-thin k-mentors-are-important-but-only-37-have-one/?sh=71225a643297
  4. Laura, F. (2021, July 7). Mentoring makes employees happy and productive. In MentorCliQ. Retrieved from https://www.mentorcliq.com/blog/mentoring-makes-employees-happy-and-productive  5. Baker, C. (2021). Facts and Statistics. In National Mentoring Day. Retrieved from https://nationalmentoringday.org/facts-and-statistics/
  5. Cronin, N. (2020, February 3). Mentoring Statistics: The Research You Need To Know. In Guider. Retrieved from https://www.guider-ai.com/blog/mentoring-statistics-the-research-you-need-to-know