10 Best Places For Young Entrepreneurs To Find Mentors

A mentor can help you avoid making crucial early business mistakes

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All new business owners or entrepreneurs should find a mentor to guide them in their business journey. A mentor is invaluable for budding entrepreneurs, because such a savvy guide can help them avoid making crucial early mistakes. To find out how successful entrepreneurs were building solid relationships with mentors, the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) asked a group of its members the following question:

Where can young entrepreneurs (who may not have big networks yet) find mentors?

At Volunteer Events

“Any community is bound to have startup organizations devoted to helping entrepreneurs. Call those people up and volunteer to do logistics, take tickets at events or any other menial task. It’s a great way to get to shake hands with the movers and shakers in the area, and over time, you can build a relationship with them.”

Erik Severinghaus
Simple Relevance

In the Local Business Scene

“Having a big network for finding a mentor isn’t helpful. After all, it’s highly unlikely that you can spend time getting feedback from a lot of different mentors. It’s also unlikely that a lot of different mentors have time to give you feedback. So scour your local business scene, and take as many coffee meetings until you find one or two people with whom you connect. Then keep learning from them.”

Wade Foster
Zapier

In College Towns

“The towns and cities surrounding universities are full of startups with young founders who might have recently graduated college. They are an amazing resource to tap into because they know that they would not be where they are without the help they received, and they are very willing to give back.”

Bryan Silverman
InStall Media

Outside of Your Circles

“Many young entrepreneurs think that they have to know their mentors personally. But if you want someone to become your mentor, all you have to do is ask — even if you don’t know them. You never know if you don’t ask. Many seasoned professionals want to help aspiring young entrepreneurs, but most are afraid to ask. You may be surprised, so aim high!”

Louis Lautman
Supreme Outsourcing

Incubators, Accelerators and Colocation Facilities

“Anywhere you can be surrounded by other entrepreneurs (both new and experienced) is a great place to find mentors. Joining an incubator, accelerator or co-working location automatically makes you a member of a successful entrepreneur community. Within this ecosystem, you are sure to find great mentors and experts in your industry who are willing to provide helpful guidance and insight.”

David Ehrenberg
Early Growth Financial Services

Local Chamber of Commerce

“Check in with your local Chamber of Commerce because you might find a great mentor there — even if you don’t have an existing relationship. There are plenty of successful business owners out there who are willing to give back. Just be sure to offer something in return as you build the relationship.”

Andrew Schrage
Money Crashers Personal Finance

In Your Industry

“Use your available resources such as social media and mutual contacts to find experienced entrepreneurs in your industry. Make a list, and find ways to reach out to these contacts with personalized messages. Ask them if they’d be willing to meet with you for an informational interview. If they say yes, then prepare lots of questions and learn as much as you can from the meeting.”

Heather Huhman
Come Recommended

Networking Events

“People are often in “do not disturb” mode, and networking events are an exception to these moments. You can meet a lot of interesting people in a very short amount of time. Often, more established professionals will be eager to meet young, fresh entrepreneurs seeking guidance. “

Henry Glucroft
Henry’s / Airdrop

Startup Events

“Start by building up your network of founders at startup events. Founders love helping other founders, especially ones who are new to the game. Explain that you’re looking for good mentors or advisers, and ask them if any smart people in their networks might like what you’re doing. By getting a handful of intros to vetted mentors, you’ll avoid wasting time on meetings with poor-quality mentors.”

Heidi Allstop
Spill

Meetings, Conferences and Local Organizations

“The universe of potential mentors is enormous, so entrepreneurs who are doing interesting things simply need to be visible in order to find them. Present at meetups, attend conferences, join local organizations, and don’t be shy about sharing your ideas. The mentors will gravitate toward you.”

Robert J. Moore
RJMetrics


The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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