Village Launch is raring to assist a brand new group of entrepreneurs flip enterprise desires into enterprise realities and facet hustles into life- and community-changing firms
The group, based mostly in Greenville’s West Finish, provides a 10-week entrepreneur academy, workshops, pop-up markets and extra. However considered one of its most precious companies is creating mentoring relationships.
Rhonda Rawlings, Neighborhood Engagement Director at Village Launch, explains that the group’s not too long ago launched mentor program pairs one mentor with one entrepreneur.
“The mentor actually simply opens up a unique world for the entrepreneur – a world of networking that won’t have been there for them earlier than, a listening ear,” Rawlings mentioned, including that the mentors sit in on the entrepreneur academy courses with their mentees.
“It is a relationship that I have been advised by mentors advantages them in addition to the entrepreneur in many alternative methods. We have now so many success tales.”
One instance is LaShonn Edmunds, founding father of Cairs Sneakers, a graduate of the entrepreneurship program and the winner of Village Launch’s “Placed on a Pitch” competitors. Rawlings mentioned Edmunds has a situation known as lymphedema, which may trigger swelling of the ankles and ft. She designed footwear for herself that supplied consolation with out sacrificing trend — then she determined to make a enterprise out of it.
A Village Lauch mentor helped. Rawlings says the mentor “had a reference to a really massive shoe firm, and that shoe firm is now trying to develop the shoe line for LaShonn.”
It’s only one instance of the alternatives this system creates.
Jeanette Brewster, Program Director at Village Launch, says having a mentor can enhance entry to social capital and assist new enterprise homeowners community in ways in which may not be doable in any other case.
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And whereas there are a lot of advantages to these being mentored, it isn’t a one-way avenue. Brewster says mentors could make an enduring contribution to their neighborhood.
“The mentors are additionally constructing their very own private community as effectively, by means of the method of serving to others,” Brewster says. “A number of them inform me that seeing different individuals’s passions sparked that creativity inside themselves.”
A lot of the entrepreneurs within the Village Launch program are ladies, Brewster says. And although all mentors are wanted and welcome, there’s a particular push to recruit ladies to mentor different ladies.
“It helps them not solely acquire confidence in their very own enterprise by seeing different ladies doing what they’re doing, but additionally gaining confidence in realizing they may give again and supply the identical kind of help to another person,” she mentioned.
“I believe ladies are the final word multitaskers,” Rawlings says. “Generally it appears actually like too massive of a hurdle to start out one thing else or to possibly embark on a ardour or a dream or a enterprise that you’ve got, however once you see different mentors and ladies mentors which have carried out it, it simply offers you extra of the impetus to say, ‘I can do it, as effectively.’”
Rawlings encourages contributors with a quote that she attributes to Oprah Winfrey: A mentor helps you discover the hope inside your self.
“I at all times take into consideration that once I take into consideration when our mentors and entrepreneurs have superb concepts,” she says. “Generally they only want a bit bit extra of a push or somebody to say, ‘Have you ever ever considered this?’ to spark a unique degree of creativity inside them.”
A brand new class of entrepreneurs will start the academy in August. Be taught extra about beginning a enterprise or changing into a mentor at villagelaunch.org.