As we wrap up our pilot mentorship program, E@D Connect, we would like to thank our mentors for taking the time to provide insight in their areas of expertise—which includes but is not limited to operational realities of a new company, the business planning process, and entrepreneurial leadership. Mentors like those from E@D Connect are committed to helping students navigate the complex and dynamic world of entrepreneurship. We believe that their guidance can make all the difference.
Read what our mentors have to say on mentorship and advice for aspiring student entrepreneurs:
What does mentorship mean to you and what do you personally get out of mentoring students?
“1. Most business is 5% inspiration and 95% perspiration. Mentorship gives me a way to increase the amount of inspiration in my life.
2. Knowing that you have helped someone and that your efforts are appreciated is personally satisfying.” – Robert Blinken Jr., Founder, Lead R&D of Vecterra Technologies, L.L.C.
“It’s a mutual learning experience. We take for granted what we know, and also are not always aware of what we don’t know. We both learn therefore from the process. It’s a wonderful and welcome surprise to discover or remember something that might be of help to others – a nice who knew I knew moment can be reassuring and as a bonus, one remembers things that might be of use to whatever is our own endeavor.. a reminder that this is not a one way street.
It’s also fascinating to learn about a process of what another entrepreneur is doing and going through. It’s fun way to learn about another field. Finally, being helpful can begin with small bits of advice, what you may think is not significant might fill a real knowledge gap for another person.” – Carol Rattray, Co-founder of Zoomdojo
“Mentorship is not hearing myself speak…it’s giving the mentee the tools he/she needs to get to the next level. It gives me pleasure to make a difference. It makes me feel young and involved. I love putting relationships and people together.” – Pam Silverstein, Entrepreneur
What are the 3 pieces of advice you would give to aspiring student entrepreneurs, and why are they important?
“1. An entrepreneur is someone whose product or service is repeatedly purchased by the same customer or one where the acquisition of new customers can be reliably repeated. Make sure your product or service sale is repeatable.
2. Your biggest competitor is the company “good enough”. Make sure that there is nothing pre-existing that does what you propose to do that is “good enough”.
3. Your initial market or product/service solution may not pan out. Make sure you are always exploring how the generic capabilities of your offering can be applied to other uses or markets.” – Robert Blinken Jr., Founder, Lead R&D of Vecterra Technologies, L.L.C.
“1. Be Disciplined. The process takes time so be prepared to spend the time, energy, the details that require complete focus and attention.
2. Don’t be afraid. T acknowledge inexperience or to fail – ask questions, say you don’t know it’s okay. You’re not supposed to know it all. If you fail, it’s fine, you learn what doesn’t work.
3. Be humble. Be confident but also be humble at the same time. You’ll gain more (knowledge, support)” – Carol Rattray, Co-founder of Zoomdojo
“The first and most important piece of advice is whether they have the guts to do it. Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. Second, is not to be afraid of the word NO. The last is to not be afraid of failure. Success is just not giving up. If you are lucky enough to succeed…remember it is your responsibility to give back by helping the new entrepreneurs.” – Pam Silverstein, Entrepreneur