Written by Jo Gray, Director of Programme Delivery (former Head of Mentoring), Youth Business International
Young people are and always will be a critical resource. However, with 71 million young people currently unemployed globally, this big potential is not realised and in a rapidly evolving economic environment the very future of work appears to be changing. Supporting young people to become entrepreneurs, think entrepreneurially and acquire entrepreneurial skills is a powerful way to respond to these challenges. As YBI launches its third annual Global Mentoring Masterclass in London with support from Accenture, it is the perfect time to reflect on why and how mentoring can support young entrepreneurs to reach their potential.
“If you ask any successful person, they will always have had a great mentor at some point along the road.” - Sir Richard Branson
Entrepreneurs face many unique challenges:
Mentoring helps entrepreneurs to tackle these challenges. YBI is working on a research project with Middlesex University (The Impact of Volunteer Business Mentoring on Young Entrepreneurs) which has shown that mentoring support improves interpersonal communication, business management, confidence and self-esteem. We also know that entrepreneurs desire mentors to help them to strengthen their businesses. Sage, who surveyed more than 11,000 small and medium-sized businesses in 17 countries across the world, have found that 93% of owners of small and medium sized businesses agree that mentoring can improve their chances of success.
Mentoring is so effective because it provides entrepreneurs with:
Having a mentor is a significant advantage and it can often make the difference between an entrepreneur giving up and them reaching their full potential.
Over the past 9 years, YBI has supported 41 member organisations around the world to start, build or strengthen their mentoring programmes for young entrepreneurs. YBI’s community of mentoring practitioners is sector-leading, with over 14,000 volunteer business mentors who inspire and empower the young entrepreneurs they support to reach their personal and professional potential. The third Global Mentoring Masterclass supported by Accenture, taking place in London from the 9th to the 13th of October, will mirror YBI’s approach to mentoring:
The Mentoring Masterclass week will be a celebration of the breadth of diversity in YBI’s network, with 34 mentoring Programme Managers attending from across the YBI network: Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, Latin America and North America. As mentoring practitioners, we know about the potential for learning through our differences. This will represent an invaluable opportunity for us to embrace this diversity, reflect how far we have come as a network, and plan for the exciting future ahead. It is a privilege to host this event and be a part of such a dynamic community whose mission is aligned in providing crucial support to young entrepreneurs.