Mentoring is a relationship in which a person with more experience and knowledge in a particular field passes it on to another person with less experience in that same field, in order to support his or her personal and/or professional development and growth. For mentoring to take place, it is necessary for the mentor and the mentee to meet from time to time over a certain period of time.
Particularly for entrepreneurs this learning circle is very relevant and nourishing as it allows them to learn from the experience of others, ask for advice and apply the new tools and strategies transmitted by their mentor.
The winners of the Luksic Foundation’s Impulso Chileno contest receive this type of accompaniment, as well as financing for their businesses and classes with the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, since the objective of the program is to provide comprehensive support: economic and academic.
In the case of Impulso Chileno, the mentoring has different stages. First, entrepreneurs are interviewed to find out what they expect from this mentoring, what is the weakness of the business and its needs, and at the same time, the same process is carried out with potential mentors to find out in which areas they have greater expertise, among other factors.
Based on this information, the most suitable mentor is selected and assigned an entrepreneur to work together for about six months on the weaknesses of the business and strengthen them through different strategies.
Once the mentor meets with the business owner, a diagnosis is made, where they analyze what is currently happening with the business. Then the critical points are identified, which can be sales, financial, process or other issues. Finally, an action plan is established according to the deficiencies found and the entrepreneur’s objectives.
“The questions asked by the mentor are very important, because many times the entrepreneur says that he/she needs to sell more, but the real problem may be that the value proposition needs to be strengthened or the profit is not well known. That is why this initial stage is fundamental, and the fact that it is personalized helps to make a very accurate diagnosis”, explains Alejandra Iacobelli, head of the Entrepreneurship Area of the Simon de Cyrene Corporation, an entity that works in alliance with the Luksic Foundation for the Impulso Chileno program.
For mentoring to be successful, it is essential that the entrepreneur is willing and motivated to receive this support without fear of change, to apply new tools and update if necessary to scale in the market and in their field.
“Creating a company is difficult and having someone who has experience and who can accompany you in this process is essential to increase the chances of success of any business. Our entrepreneurs have noticed this: the vast majority of them have declared the relevance of the mentoring they received in the development of their businesses,” says Cristián Schalper, director of the Luksic Foundation’s Entrepreneurship programs.
The mentors who accompany the winners of Impulso Chileno are top executives with experience in different areas of business management, such as human resources, finance and sales, among others.
“Factors such as empathy and willingness are important, and the time that the mentor can dedicate is very important for good mentoring. The ideal profile is marketing, sales and strategies to respond to the requirements of entrepreneurs, which are usually precisely strategies, generating new sales and growth channels,” says Alejandra Iacobelli.