Mentors: Don’t White-Knuckle-It Alone

“Mentors help spark new ideas, offer different perspectives and lend meaningful first-hand advice to other entrepreneurs,” said Victoria Lennox, Co-Founder and CEO of Startup Canada. That’s why the Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) and Startup Canada chose to shine a national spotlight on mentoring with a campaign to mentor 10,000 entrepreneurs during Global Entrepreneurship Week.

So, as part of this campaign, we decided to ask three of the Spark Centre’s entrepreneurs currently being mentored by one, or several of our Volunteer Mentor Network, just why they thought it so important.

Our mentees are Danilo Malanczyj from They Innovate, and a top-secret team of software developers still in the prototyping phase. We’ll call them Mystery Man 1 & 2!

1) Why did you decide you needed to get mentored?

DM: “Almost everything with a start-up means doing things for the first time, and you typically make a lot of mistakes along the way. I’ve sought out mentors so that I can minimize my own mistakes by learning from others who have already been there.”

MM1: “Entrepreneurial ventures are inherently risky, so we do everything in our power to increase our chances of success. We knew that surrounding ourselves with good mentors and advisors would go a long way toward building the kind of solid, sustainable company we are striving for”.

MM2: “We are very aware of the stories of individuals failing in their first three years, so we wanted to avoid that. Once we found out about Spark and the services they offered, we felt it would be a perfect fit for our startup venture. [Mentoring] will give us the opportunity to meet the right people, learn from more experienced individuals, and increase our chances for success”.

2) What’s been the best thing about your experience so far?

DM: “Whenever I come across something that I just don’t know where to start, I always have someone that I can call”.

MM1: “It has been great to have experienced minds in our corner as we build the business. Sometimes we get confirmation that we are heading in the right direction. Sometimes the feedback makes us aware of our blind spots and the many things we didn’t consider.  Either way, it is always amazingly helpful”.

MM2: “The best thing about our experience so far has been the opportunity to sit down and discuss our idea with individuals we may have never met if not for Spark. The feedback we have gained, and the relationships we have made in such a short period of time will be very useful as we take this journey”.

If you would like to become a mentor or be mentored, contact Kristina Svana, the Spark Centre’s Volunteer Mentor Network coordinator.

[photo: Spark’s Speed Mentoring event in September, 2013.]

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