Businesses mentored through MicroMentor have an 82 percent survival rate, vs. the national rate of 69 percent, and half create a new job within a year.
By Samantha Albery, Director, MicroMentor
What do Donald Trump and Sandra Ekland, owner of Yappy to Be Home, have in common? They were both mentored by passionate business professionals who wanted to give back to the business community.
The Donald credits his father while Ekland thanks her MicroMentor, whom she calls the “Goddess of Marketing,” for offering her skills pro bono. Indeed, skills-based business mentoring is a game changer for driving entrepreneurship forward, whether it’s building a string of hotels or keeping four-legged friends happy in Seattle.
According to the Association for Enterprise Opportunity’s “Power of One in Three” assessment, if one in three small businesses hired a single worker, the U.S. could achieve full employment. So, imagine if we rallied business professionals and corporate America together as one strong, skills-based volunteer force to help small business owners fuel their dreams?
The movement is happening. Now.
Accelerating Entrepreneurial Success
MicroMentor, Mercy Corps' proprietary online mentoring platform that helps entrepreneurs work with experienced professionals to build their businesses, has issued a national call to create 1,500 more mentor/mentee relationships by National Small Business Week 2014, May 12-16. The effort aims to unite companies, consumers and entrepreneurs to accelerate entrepreneurial growth and economic opportunities across the U.S. and even around the globe.
This call is also part of a larger goal by MicroMentor to reach another 5,000 relationships by January 2015. And the movement is already receiving support from organizations and corporations, including The Sam’s Club Giving Program and Ashoka Changemakers. We already have 80 mentors from HP LIFE (Learning Initiative for Entrepreneurs) signed up on MicroMentor, pushing us toward our mentoring milestone. HP LIFE is helping small businesses globally with expert advice and resources.
Our mentees seek a range of expertise and experience, from business planning to marketing strategy, finance and website programming and design. Our mentors commit to providing at least three months of individualized feedback and direct support around entrepreneurs’ pressing business issues.
As we connect more entrepreneurs with mentors, we will strengthen economies and help business professionals thrive by providing ways for them to give back via their skills and business expertise.
A Collaborative Economy
Skills-based volunteerism certainly has dual benefits for the volunteer: Employees enhance skills such as teaching and coaching, while reaping the rewards of helping others achieve success. What’s more, volunteers and their employers can impact economic development, thereby supporting small business growth and stimulating economies.
For example, Ricardo Bullock, the founder and owner of ARCEBE Consulting Group, has mentored five small business owners through MicroMentor. “I want to give back and help people reach their goals,” Bullock says. One of Bullock’s mentees doubled his customer base after working with him for a year.
Another MicroMentor, Margo Wendorf, calls mentoring a “no-brainer” method of giving back to her community, because “there isn’t much preparation to do. It's really just listening and pulling from past experience.”
While there are many programs that match volunteers with causes, MicroMentor uses an intelligent matching engine that ties mentors with entrepreneurs based on industry, expertise and location. Through our proprietary system, we ensure mentors can service their mentees’ important needs.
And, it's working.
What the Data Says
Our free online platform has already facilitated thousands of relationships by connecting underserved entrepreneurs with mentors. In 2012 alone, entrepreneurs who connected with a mentor averaged 106 percent revenue growth. In fact, businesses mentored through MicroMentor have an 82 percent survival rate, vs. the national rate of 69 percent, and half create a new job within a year.
Further, about half (49 percent) of pre-launch businesses that received mentoring started their business. Entrepreneurs who work with our mentors hire 44 percent more full-time employees. An incredible 84 percent are in business one to two years later.
So, how can you join this movement?
- Sign up today at www.micromentor.org as a volunteer mentor.
- Encourage your company to offer skills-based volunteer opportunities for small business owners.
- Tell local small business owners in your community they can receive free guidance on their most pressing needs via MicroMentor’s online platform.
I leverage my passion for entrepreneurship, partnership development and adult education every day to support the growth of small business communities across the U.S. I work with a talented team of professionals who collectively believe small business is the backbone of the U.S. economy and that coaching from business professionals accelerates entrepreneurial success. That’s why we need every employee and professional we can find to join our movement and advance the U.S. economy.
Are you in?
About the Author:
Samantha Albery is the Director of MicroMentor, an online community that helps entrepreneurs and experienced professionals work together to build small businesses.