What is mentoring

Reflecting on my own 20+ year career, there are various people who’ve had a profound impact on it and still do for that matter. In hindsight, I suppose they were mentors although we never called it that. They supported me, they championed me, they took chances on me, they made time for me, they listened, they gave me confidence, they inspired me. I’m eternally grateful. Some I’ve known for over 2 decades now, some a mere 10 years but I’m still in touch with all of them and seek out their company or work with them whenever I can.

I think everyone needs mentors, at some point at the very least, and they come in different shapes and sizes. None more so than now. From speed-mentoring sessions when you try to extract or give as much value as you can in 15 or 20 minutes, to long-term structured mentoring relationships and everything in-between. What I’ve learnt is that mentoring relationships can’t be forced. There has to be personal chemistry and a good match in terms of skills and experience. Timing is a factor also. Not quite like falling in love, but you get the idea.

At Entrepreneur Academe we aren’t trying to force anything. We want to give our female entrepreneurs access to a pool of of very experienced people with skills and knowledge relevant to any business: from technology to product development and law, from finance to HR and PR. They will be able to call on these people from time to time for advice, help or introductions. And If a longer-term relationship blossoms between entrepreneurs and mentors, then that’s fantastic.

Don’t forget the mentor

I hope that in my career I’ve rewarded those that have supported and invested in me by delivering for them. I never wanted to let them down. I’ve also tried to create opportunities for them in return.

Mentors are usually motivated by giving back. They want to share their knowledge and experience and enjoy the fresh perspective and exposure to innovation that working with startups can bring. But nobody should assume it’s a one way street. We’ll be encouraging our entrepreneurs to ask what they can give as well as take.

If you’re a female entrepreneur, based in London and looking for some free mentoring, please apply here by 28 March.

If you’d like to join the fantastic group mentors who’ve already signed up to help, please let us know here.