Entrepreneurial opportunity is knocking. And, these days, it may be at very young doors, thanks to the plethora of easily accessible business information that sits at our fingertips.
But, even with so much free knowledge sitting in the cloud, can online how-tos ever fully replace the real-world business experiences and insights of people who have been there and done that?
At the Women Innovating Now (WIN) Lab®, we regularly tout the immense importance of mentorship and role models. But, just as vital to startup success is engagement from business experts who can offer advice and best practices in order to move entrepreneurs toward their goals more effectively.
In an effort to create this valuable network of knowledge-sharing, the WIN Lab accelerator implemented a newly developed mentor program called the Mastermind Group, unveiled with this year’s Boston and Miami cohorts. Eight Masterminds, armed with over 230 years of combined experience in Boston alone, donated their time and business prowess to the WIN Lab entrepreneurs (WINners) during five, half-day strategy meetings. There, two of these experts joined up to five founders to work with them on creating, implementing, and adjusting their strategic objectives over the course of the five-month program.
And, the pairings weren’t just beneficial for the entrepreneurs. Masterminds became invested in the founder’s journey and success, watching them climb over hurdles, develop innovative solutions to unique problems, and have a seat at the table when the entrepreneurs had the realization that their companies were going to take off.
“The way the WIN Lab paired its Mastermind Experts with the entrepreneurs gave us the opportunity to share our own experiences with the companies as they developed, and executed on, their strategic goals,” said Uli Becker, founder of Beckerei LLC. “My partner, Lizanne Kindler, and I were delighted to work with such talented entrepreneurs. Each of these founders own smart ideas and have the potential to leave their unique mark in the startup world.”
Along with Becker, this year’s masterminds included: Lizanne Kindler, CEO, Talbots; Geoff Chasin, president, NRX Logistic; Stephanie Crimmins, CEO, Volvo Car Mobility USA; Eliane Markoff, founder, Art In Giving; Vance Loiselle, CEO, Boston Logic; Kate Keough, COO, Pepperlane; and Smaiyra Million P’21, senior director of Strategic Initiatives, Babson College, and Founder, soaVentures LLC.
These eight experts have held impressive leadership positions in the C-Suite and on various boards, including global companies such as Reebok, Talbots, and PaintNite. Logging that kind of leadership experience puts them in a unique position to address the breadth of business challenges that founders encounter as they are building a business, sometimes for the very first time. Because when you don’t always know how you’re going to arrive at your final destination, who better to act as a guide than someone who has made the journey before?
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