Why women-owned startups are desperate for female mentors

With 10.6 million women-owned businesses in America, there should be plenty of women mentors, right? No, there is a drought of female mentors in the United States. A survey by LinkedIn shows that only one out of five women has a mentor.

The impact of women mentors

  • Business Growth & Longevity. If there were more women mentors, new women-owned businesses would thrive. “Business owners who use mentors are more likely to experience growth in their businesses than those who don’t use mentors” and “70 percent of business owners who use mentors, [businesses] survive twice as long as those who don’t.” (HerBusinessMentor.com)
  • Cut Unfair Pay Gaps. With more women-owned companies comes fair wages for both genders. Women at the helm of their businesses dictate their company’s wage policies.
  • Reduce Poverty. “When you empower women to create income, then poverty starts to disappear,” said Wendy Diamond, entrepreneur and founder of Women Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
  • Higher GDP. There is a strong correlation between gender equality and national competitiveness. According to an article by the Harvard Business Review, “Even in the most developed economies, gross domestic product could be increased by as much as 16 percent if the gender gap were closed.”

What’s the problem?

Finding Time

Time management seems to be key for most women. We are moms, wives, sisters, daughters and then businesswomen. Family comes first. “It is not as easy for women to just meet for drinks after work as it is for men,” said Mansi Singhal, 33-year-old mother with a toddler and an entrepreneur in the financial services industry. “It becomes particularly hard for working, professional women to find the time to give advice even though they very much want to do so.”

Know that you don’t have to mentor while working. Use FaceTime, Skype or Google Hangouts after work or when it’s convenient. Have a regularly scheduled time each month to meet, and in between meetings, stay in contact via private messages and emails.

Waiting to Be Asked

According to the survey, 67 percent of women said they are not a mentor to another woman because “no one ever asked.”

Don’t wait to be asked. Take the initiative and sign up with a mentoring program online. In addition, you can ask people you know, “Do you know of anyone who might need a mentor?” Then take it a step further and post your request on social media.

Too Many Coaches, Not Enough Mentors

When Janice Omadeke, an entrepreneur who has a company mentoring young women in Washington, D.C., wanted a mentor to assist her with her business, she discovered that many women were willing to “coach” her instead of mentor. She went to various websites seeking a female mentor.

“[There were] pages and pages of 50-to-60-plus-year-old men,” Omadeke said. “The women who were on the site were actually life coaches who wanted me to buy their books, attend their speaking events and then get a consultation with them.”

It’s great to make money as a coach but too many coaches start businesses who have never mentored anyone. Start your coaching company by mentoring a female-owned business and let her testimonial launch your coaching business into the stratosphere.

What Must Be Done?

We have to give back and reach back to help. Mentor a female entrepreneur. She could be the next Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, or the new Tory Burch, a fashion designer who now helps women entrepreneurs with her non-profit organization, The Tory Burch Foundation. Anyone young or old who has business experience can mentor a woman-owned startup business.

Janice Celeste is the founder of the Encore Entrepreneur Institute, an advocacy organization for entrepreneurs ages 50+. You can follow her on Twitter and on her Blab.im live stream show, ENCORE @EncoreInstitute. 

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/company/7577992
Twitter – https://twitter.com/EncoreInstitute
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/EncoreEntrepreneurs
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLKP8rMymD96P6THbAupvoA

7 Creative Ways to Find Female Mentors

  1. Join a professional women’s group
  2. Start a small Mastermind group
  3. Start a female mentoring Meetup.com group
  4. Organize an event targeting women entrepreneurs
  5. Reach out to board of director’s female executives
  6. Private message a female business owner from social media
  7. Join a mentoring organization online like org, MicroMentor.org, or the EncoreEntrepreneurInstitute.org.Mentoring-Infographic-1500