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Mentoring the next wave of entrepreneurs

Written By: Lauren Marinigh, Social Media & ContentCreation Coordinator, Futurpreneur Canada

Benefiting from having great mentors throughout his career, Futurpreneur Canada mentor and CFIB member, Stacy Richter, believed that every entrepreneur deserved the help of others who had already been there before. This belief is what led Stacy to become a mentor himself through Futurpreneur Canada’s mentorship program, where they pair young entrepreneurs aged 18-39 with an experienced business mentor to help them along their entrepreneurial journey.

Stacy’s mentee, Jessica McCarrel of Kaffeeklatsch, a coffee shop located in Calgary, Alberta attributes the successes of her business largely to Stacy’s continual dedication to push her one step outside of her comfort zone and his encouragement and optimism. “He continually tells me to chase the vision I have for Kaffeeklatsch,” she said.

Jessica explained that with Stacy’s expertise he’s taught her to adopt a positive mental attitude and everything that she once saw as failure, he taught her to turn it into a positive. “He pushes me to try things that I might have otherwise shielded away from, helps me overcome self-doubt, procrastination, and encourages me to be the best that I can be in all professional and personal situations.”

Stacy shared that Jessica and him work on many mini-projects together, including deciding if she should grow the size of the space her business is in. The pair worked to map out a strategy together that would give Jessica the highest probability of success for the shift in Kaffeeklatsch. “Without mentorship, this type of business decision is more than just intimidating, it can lead to major losses,” he described.

Entrepreneurs often have this false misconception that they can do it all on their own, but in reality, 70% of small businesses that have mentors survive for five years or more, that’s double the rate compared with non-mentored entrepreneurs. Having someone that is in your court, and has a wealth of business expertise can make entrepreneurship feel less like a one person sport. Even Stacy admitted that most of the mistakes he made in his career only happened when he didn’t have a mentor or coach (or didn’t listen to them).

For Jessica, she felt that when starting her business she was receiving an overwhelming amount of advice from people, and most of it was unsolicited or ridiculous. “It was both distracting and exhausting trying to listen to everyone,” she said. “I’m thankful to have access to someone who is experienced to give me feedback and that I can count on to offer support.”

But on top of the wealth of expertise that Jessica is gaining from her mentoring relationship, she isn’t the only one that is learning. Stacy said he had learned the importance of wearing a lot of different hats. With every week’s mentoring meeting being different, he never knows if he’ll need to pull out his marketer hat, financial hat, or something different. Being a jack-of-all-trades is reminding Stacy what it was like when he started his business and he explains it as being a great lesson in how to wear all of those hats again.

Mentoring can be a great opportunity to give back to the business community and work with the next generation of young entrepreneurs. It can also be a way for you to rediscover and learn new things too. So get involved, and become a mentor with Futurpreneur Canada today! Hey, you never know what you’ll learn.

To become a mentor with Futurpreneur Canada, click here.