Magazine article Black Enterprise

Paying off in the End

Magazine article Black Enterprise

Paying off in the End

Article excerpt

Mentoring--the new buzzword in the small business community

Mentoring begins with a vision. The business owner who envisions taking his company to the next level while improving his performance and that of his employees is what the mentoring process is all about.

Currently funded through the Tennessee Department of Transportation, the Chattanooga Housing Authority contracted with Setina Pouengue, owner of two mentoring companies, Success by Design, a $150,000 enterprise providing mentoring in the bustling construction industry in Chattanooga, and Accent Specialty Baskets, with revenues of $65,000 in 2000, which employs former mentees, to teach public housing residents the fundamentals of owning and running their own businesses.

"For the student, mentoring is a risk-free introduction to a [portion] of business that he or she may not have knowledge of. It is a way to gain confidence, sharpen or renew skills, and make lucrative contacts," says Pouengue. "Most people who love what they do look for outlets to share that information and in return receive invaluable business benefits."

Dr. Linda Phillips-Jones, co-founder of the nonprofit Coalition of Counseling Centers/The Mentoring Group (www.mentoring group.com), a national mentoring organization near Sacramento, California, shares Pouengue's opinions of the benefits, but she also understands that selling the mentor program to any size business can be challenging because the results are not going to be seen immediately.

"For the business owner mentoring pays off in the form of future business-to-business, business-to-consumer, and potential vendor opportunities through the mentee. …

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