The Might of Mentors

MFS, our Mentoring for Scale experiment is now 8 sessions old and working really well. 10 mentors and 10 scaling companies, 2 hours in total, 3 one-on-one sessions each. All fueled by coffee and our now infamous breakfast scones.

Inspired by Joe Hogan, MFS became a fast favorite at the office from the moment it started last May. It connects Dublin’s best emerging startups with Dublin’s most accomplished serial entrepreneurs. It fills a gap in the ecosystem and oozes value for money without costing a cent.

MFS is a monthly mentoring event, full of great, helpful and inspiring people, but we’re only just scratching the surface.

At the close of our December session, serial entrepreneur Brendan McDonagh asked how many of the 10 CEOs in the room had an actual mentor for their businesses. Not one person raised their hand.

The term “mentor” gets bandied about relentlessly these days, but for startups, a mentor relationship is actually something very specific.

Your mentor is not your customer, your advisor or your investor. They’re an experienced entrepreneur who has walked in your shoes before you and is willing to share the experience. Mentor relationships build over years, sometimes decades, and like dating before marriage, the best ones start pro bono, with no conditions attached. The mentor simply likes you and your company and sees the opportunity to give back.

Your mentor is like your best friend but in business. There during good times and bad, they allow you to hear yourself talk and come up with the answers. They also get to know you well enough to distinguish emotion from fact, always holding you accountable.

Since Brendan raised the topic a month ago three startups have come to me looking for mentors. Thanks to Dublin’s strong community spirit and our decades-long pedigree as a tech center, there’s no shortage of people who easily and eagerly fit the bill.

We’re developing a mentor program right now and will announce it in the coming weeks.

Are you in search of a long and fruitful mentor relationship? Dublin’s the place, so watch this space.

Niamh Bushnell

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