The Importance of Mentorship and the Role iNvictus Office Center Serves for Entrepreneurs.
By Charles Iyon Mitchell
Entrepreneurship continues to light the path for professional fulfillment in the United States and throughout the globe. In minority communities, there
is currently a shift in the growth of entrepreneurs of color. Forbes Magazine reported in their February edition that black females were the fastest
growing group of entrepreneurs in the country. Female owned businesses grew by 74% from 1997 to 2015. Black female ventures grew an astonishingly 377%
during the same period.
With the continued growth of entrepreneurship, it is essential for new ventures to lay a firm foundation during the inception phase. To meet the need,
Invictus Office Center developed an entrepreneurship curriculum to assist all businesses. We at Invictus, strongly feel that our entrepreneurship curriculum
can assist any entrepreneur, whether at the start-up phase or those entities that have been in existence for a while. Design to be completed in eight
stages, the curriculum allows creators the opportunity to discover their passion, pitch to investors, and license and certify their business as minority
owned as needed.
One of the key features of the curriculum is the mentorship provided throughout the journey. Upon enrollment in the curriculum, our clients are paired
with an expert in their field. Participants are then guided through the process by an action-oriented individual that possesses the experience needed
to be successful. Mentors comprise community and global leaders with extensive management experience.
Throughout history, mentorship has proven to assist and supplement new practioners with firm foundations in their craft. From the middle ages when young
people participated in apprenticeships to the internship-based curriculums in higher education of the 21st, honing your craft under guidance
has remained an important task. Thousands of years ago, the Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians all made references to the older generation
teaching the younger one. Thus, history has produced numerous examples of mentorship. Socrates mentored Plato. Plato mentored Aristotle. Thomas Scott
mentored Andrew Carnegie and Norman Rockerfeller. Benjamin Mayes mentored Martin Luther King, Jr. Andy Grove mentored Steve Jobs.
Despite the proven tactics of mentorships, many entrepreneurs continue to navigate their course individually. Various reasons exist why entrepreneurs go
at it alone, but I feel there are four main reasons entrepreneurs shy away from seeking a mentor.
The I can do it myself spirit. Often entrepreneurs have a mindset that they can conquer the world. Unfortunately, many attempt to conquer
it alone. Every man or woman that has attempted to take over the world had help. Whether the advice was good or bad, counsel was often available.
Fear. Many entrepreneurs are wrought with fear throughout their entire journey. As a result questions arise. Will my product be good
enough? Will enough people support me? What if I share my idea with some and they use it for their gain?
Lack of Knowledge. Some entrepreneurs may not fully understand the benefits of having a mentor. It is essential that all business owners
have someone they can share ideas with that will provide them with sound advice.
No one really wants to help me. After launching an idea, and exhausting one’s personal network, entrepreneurs may feel as if no one wants
to help. Despite this misconception, many successful entrepreneurs are willing to help groom future entrepreneurs.
Our program is designed so that aspiring and seasoned entrepreneurs learn from successful business owners and executives about how to refine their business
ideas, how to raise money, how to pitch to investors and overall how to start or run a successful business.
Mentors assist entrepreneurs by supporting them in multiple facets. Often minorities work in underserved communities and mentors are needed that have crossed
similar hurdles to success. In addition, minority entrepreneurs overwhelmingly face issues with access to capital and lack the extensive networks needed
to showcase their products. As a result, mentor based entrepreneurship is beneficial to most startups.
Mentors open doors for entrepreneurs that many new ventures may not be aware of. The mentors of Invictus help their mentees troubleshoot some of the issues
that stall entrepreneurship and eventually lead to business closure. Moreover, the mentors of Invictus provide startups with experience and savvy that
many lack upon startup.
Secondly, our mentors and their mentees experience a reciprocal relationship. Throughout the curriculum entrepreneurs and their mentors form a unique bond.
Entrepreneurs are able to learn from experienced experts, while mentors are able to lead and guide professionals at multiple stages of the learning
Lastly, the mentors of Invictus coach the entrepreneurs through the process. Entrepreneurship is hard, and sometimes all that is needed encouragement,
for the venture to succeed. Through accountability, our mentors help startups set and obtain their business goals.
Entrepreneurship continues to be a viable component of the global economy. As older sectors of enterprise fade away, starting a business remains an innovative
avenue for answering many of the problems of the 21st Century. The mentor-based curriculum provides entrepreneurs with tools for upward
mobility and the ability to redevelop their communities.
Charles Iyon Mitchell is the Executive Director of Invictus Forward Outreach and Curriculum Manager for Invictus Office Center. With teaching being his
passion, Charles has been an educator since 2005, currently serving as an instructor at North Carolina Central University. Additionally, Mr. Mitchell
is actively connected to the community by coaching and mentoring with the Durham H.A.W.K.S. (Helping All Willing Kids Succeed) organization and serving
at World Overcomers Christian Church. A native of Goldsboro, NC, Charles is married to his best friend, Rashaunte Hinnant. They are blessed with two
children, Kyle and Khloe.