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Mentors: A Key Factor To The Success Of Startups?

Being advised by an experienced business leader might be an opportunity the founder of a startup should consider. Mentors have already experienced the stages of creation, development and takeover of a business and their advice can help a new entrepreneur save time as well as money. We interviewed Rachel Gaessler, Manager of the BusinessMentoring program. She tells us more about the purpose of the program and how to make the most of mentoring relationships.

What is the BusinessMentoring program?

BusinessMentoring is a free support program dedicated to business leaders in the early-stage phase of a startup, in the development phase of their business or in the transfer phase. The program matches a young leader – the mentee – with an experienced business leader who has already been through the entrepreneurial adventure – the mentor. The duration of the program is for 12 or 18 months. The program is centered around monthly meetings between the mentor and mentee and involves various networking events, such as themed breakfasts, company visits and workshops.

Who are the mentors?

The mentors are mostly business leaders from all business areas (IT, trade, finance, etc.) with at least 10 to 15 years of experience as a director. They have experienced all the stages of a business including creation, development and takeover, and have faced all aspects of corporate management such as fundraising, recruitment, management, etc. So they themselves have lived through the experience, seen the good and the bad, and have lots of wisdom to pass on to “young” entrepreneurs. Mentors assist the entrepreneurs on a voluntary basis for about 4 hours per month and follow the ethics of mentoring i.e. no conflicts of interest or financial interests. All of the mentors in the network are regularly trained to help better assist their mentees.

What are the benefits for a startup founder?

Mentoring often proves to be a winning strategic alliance for the mentee. Throughout the course of their meetings, a mentee develops a relationship with her trusted mentor which allows the mentee entrepreneur to step back from her activity, validate strategic choices, develop a global vision of her business and accelerate decision making. I often say that the experience of a mentorship cannot be bought. It’s a really beneficial opportunity and includes increasing the chances of startup success. To date, more than 80 business leaders have benefited from this support and 92% of the mentees’ businesses are still operational.

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