Career exploration in entrepreneurship for mentors

Resources and activities are available for mentors if mentees are interested in entrepreneurship as a career.

Mentoring can be a rewarding and beneficial experience, not only for the youth or mentee, but also for the adult or mentor. The key to a gratifying mentoring relationship is finding ways to connect and grow together. When it comes to building and sustaining the mentoring relationship, one thing a mentor can learn about are the career interests of their mentee. Mentees may have an interest in becoming a doctor, lawyer, police officer, firefighter, engineer, athlete, entertainer or, as some youth may say, “a business person.” Mentors can ask some questions to find out if being a business person means entrepreneur. If your mentee means entrepreneur, how can you assist youth with their career aspirations of becoming an entrepreneur?

Where can I start?

First, Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development has entrepreneurship activities and resources that mentors can explore for match activities. Also, 4-H Mall has a curriculum available to teach youth about entrepreneurship called Be the E. There are different types of activities a mentor and mentee can participate in together to learn about entrepreneurship using this curriculum. These resources can be used for site-based and community-based mentoring programs.

How can I facilitate exploring this topic?

Along with using resources in entrepreneurship, mentors at site-based programs can invite different entrepreneurs from the community to talk to mentees about becoming an entrepreneur. (Remember, it is a best practice to get the approval of the site coordinator.) Not only will young people in the program learn from the speaker, there is a chance the experience could lead the speaker to become a mentor or tell others about the program. If you are a mentor involved in a community-based mentoring program, you can facilitate an activity by taking your mentee to a local entrepreneur to give them an opportunity to learn what it takes to own a business.

How do these types of activities help?

These activities can lead to increasing or enhancing awareness of entrepreneurship for your mentee. This can also lead to your mentee having their interest confirmed about starting a business as a career option. If this happens, be prepared to have further discussions about higher education, networking or ideas that the mentee may have for starting a business.

If entrepreneurship or owning and operating a business is a career interest for a mentee, take the time to explore the resources and activities that can assist them to learn about entrepreneurship.