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Let’s settle the debate once and for all. Mentors, when thoughtfully chosen, can be immensely valuable to anyone! Whether you’re a seasoned individual in your career, a beginner embarking on a new sport or pastime, or a Startup trying to grow fast in a crowded market.
Mentors act as a resource fountain where they can offer impartial advice to fast-moving entrepreneurs looking to explore ideas that they would not have time to develop alone, open new doors with introductions to key business partners and help accelerate development in key areas such as sales and marketing, finance, hiring and technology.
At the same time, if we’re honest, there are some well-intentioned mentors who don’t always give the best advice. They give the practice a bad name. In the Startup world, they’re known as seagulls, and I think you can guess why. They swoop in, leave a mess and fly off without cleaning up.
At HaTCH, we know people. A lot of people. Thanks to the 18-year track record of our parent company Ambition, we are able to draw on a little black book of who’s who across the region. So when it came to building a mentor programme we were able to be selective, develop a list of experts in their chosen field and check that our proposed mentors were interested, motivated and available.
We wanted leaders in their fields, innovators, outside of the box thinkers and those with proven abilities in a range of different industries, in a variety of disciplines and with experience in companies big and small. International experience helps add a fresh perspective on the role and some of our mentors are based overseas; mentoring sessions do not need to be face to face to be effective.
Having built our list of experts, we are now actively matching them with startups for three-month engagements; by sitting down over coffee for 2 hours a month. We offer all our clients the opportunity to select a mentor and we share our list with them to see which appeals in terms of skill set and experience. We also share with our mentors a list of Startups we are working with to see if they would like to proactively approach any of them.
It’s critical that both parties are open to starting the relationship and have a very clear idea about what they both need and can provide. We find the best mentors help in the areas that they see Startups need the most attention and help with. This could be sealing a deal with a large client, new market penetration, branding, or even how to improve their pitch.
In some cases, the founder is looking for a confidant they can share problems with outside of working meetings, to add perspective and opinion.
It sounds simple, but mentorship is crucial. We want to match great mentors with amazing Startups to help support Hong Kong’s rapidly growing and vibrant startup scene. The reality is, we are just beginning and, if the initial response is anything to go by, this is important work that many people want to be involved in.
Watch this space as we will be posting more on this topic of how both mentors and startups can get the most out of the relationship as well as advice on developing a successful relationship.
If you want to learn more about the programme or be involved with an exciting, growing Startup, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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