Why Mentoring Matters
The story of entrepreneurship is the story of mentorship.
Today’s greatest entrepreneurs like Oprah Winfrey, Tony Hsieh and Elon Musk owe their success to an unbroken chain of wisdom-and experience-sharing that dates back to Benjamin Franklin.
BEN continues that chain.
Mentorship is how practical experience is passed from one generation to the next and why no one who starts a business has to go at it alone. For up-and-coming entrepreneurs, mentors act as an example to follow, a benchmark to strive for and a valuable resource for information and motivation. For successful entrepreneurs, it’s an opportunity to pay their success forward, as their mentors did for them.
The History of Mentoring
The idea of the experienced guiding the inexperienced is a fundamental human narrative.
One of its first references in western literature is in Homer’s The Odyssey, where the body of a character called Mentor (an older man) is taken over by Athena, the goddess of wisdom and inspiration. In his body, she encourages the hero Telemachus to take action.
Over time, mentors have been given names like gurus, elders, Jedi masters and countless others — but the central concept has remained the same: someone who knows, sharing their wisdom with someone who doesn’t know, so they too become someone who knows and can then pass it on to someone else.
The Roots of Modern Entrepreneurial Mentorship
While pre-1970’s business leaders all had mentors, there weren’t too many leaders around. That changed in late ‘70s and early ‘80s with the rise of modern venture capital, spurred by microchip. It was the most disruptive technology in global business since the Industrial Revolution because it gave anyone with an idea the opportunity to bring it to life.
It was into this environment that people like Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen entered. They chose PC founder Ed Roberts as their mentor and praised him for his patience and inspiration up to and after he died in 2010.
Modern Entrepreneurship and Mentorship in the Technology Era
Entrepreneurs like Gates & Allen, Michael Dell, Steve Jobs and others in their generation all felt a responsibility to keep the technological revolution going, and took on protegés of their own. Steve Jobs, for example, is famous for mentoring Marc Benioff who created Salesforce.com in a rented apartment and is now worth $3.5 Billion.
The contributions from the first wave of tech giants led to a powerful second wave that had the benefit of mobile and social platforms. Dreamers like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, supported by mentors of their own, built empires.
At the same time, entrepreneurs became society’s new heroes: the bravest among us who took a chance on themselves. Programs like the popular U.S. TV show, Shark Tank celebrated it. Initiatives like Small Business Week encouraged it. And technology provided fertile ground for it to thrive.
Welcome to the Third Wave
After the Great Recession of 2008, the corporate world lost its credibility. More people came to embrace what entrepreneurs have always known: the only way to achieve professional security is to create it for yourself. Today, 63% of 20-somethings are or want to be entrepreneurs. It’s a staggering number.
What’s more, after three decades of modern entrepreneurship, the world is full of success stories ready to pass on what they know and help you build your business.
Enter BEN: The Global Mentorship Platform.
Our mission is to create an engaged community of credible entrepreneurs at all levels of success, all helping each other get to where they want to go.
We leverage the latest in learning technology to help more successful entrepreneurs mentor more up-and-comers, and teach hungry innovators how to think like their heroes.