Fellow founders offer ideas for plenty of ways you can use your experience to help others succeed. By Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC)
Q. I've had support from great mentors/advisors. What is one creative way I can pay it forward and give back to the startup community?
1. Reach Out to a Local Incubator
Reach out to a local incubator and become a mentor yourself! There are tons of incubators that are looking for knowledgable entrepreneurs and founders who can help guide those who are just starting out on their startup journey. I find it very rewarding to share my knowledge with other young entrepreneurs, and they sincerely appreciate it too.
2. Reach Out to the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration has small business development centers in many cities, many of them focused on female entrepreneurs. These organizations are short on funding and resources, and yet thousands of women pour in every year looking for help on the basics of launching a new venture. Time and advice from an experienced founder would be very welcome!
3. Create a Mastermind Group
Bring together a group of brilliant thought leaders, mentors and advisers to create a mastermind group aimed at helping entrepreneurs grow their business. I believe you can learn by being a mentor and a mentee. A mastermind group creates an environment that ignites conversation, awareness and inspires new ideas. It's supportive and allows you to give back and teach what you've learned along the way.
4. Create an Interview Series for Young/Aspiring Entrepreneurs
Reach out to the mentors/advisors who have served you well and do a quick video interview with them. Seek out their tips for aspiring entrepreneurs, offeryour own, and release the content as an interview series. Target young entrepreneurs and share the amazing tips and tricks you've learned along the way. This is a great way to build your personal brand and pay it back to the future generations.
5. Tell Your Story
We all remember what it was like to be in the grind of launching a startup. It's a big mountain to climb. Sharing your story is a great way to help others stay inspired to move forward. One catch: share the real version. Be open and honest about the challenges you faced and the mistakes you made. Then, share how you overcame them and created success. That's a valuable conversation.
6. Share PR Opportunities
I keep a running list of young female entrepreneurs, so whenever I can’t participate in a speaking or press opportunity, I can offer them to take my place. This is helpful for all parties involved: the requesting organization gets a new contact, I can contribute in a meaningful way, and the entrepreneur gets credibility in the community.
The best way to support your fellow founders is to join them on the entrepreneurial journey. If you have the means, consider becoming an angel investor and backing startups you feel passionate about, especially those in your local community. Not only will you be giving back financially, you'll be able to share the invaluable entrepreneurial knowledge you earned through experience.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.