One Tuesday in Atlanta
I don’t take many days out of the office anymore. But on Tuesday, I flew to Atlanta for an opportunity I wasn’t going to miss. BIG is a new accelerator serving black and latina female founders, launched by Kathryn Finney and her band of happy warriors at digitalundivided. They were having their “Mentor Madness Week” and they had invited me down for 1x1 mentoring sessions with each of their 7 entrepreneurs. For the first time, I was wearing two hats – one, as an angel investor and the other, as the founder of BroadMic.
Mentoring is one of the very best things about angel investing. Next to the financial upside, it’s what makes the crazy world of startup investing worthwhile. Yes, I am “giving back” but I am also getting so much in return. With every entrepreneur I meet, I get to hear her tell me about some big problem that exists (that I probably wasn’t aware of) and her creative *BIG* solution.
What we’ve learned from BroadMic listeners is that access to mentors and networks ranks at the top of their list of concerns. As such, it has become a recurring theme that we address on the show. Here are 2 of my favorite responses to this issue from our guests and 1 from a brand new report on black women entrepreneurs:
- Don’t always look ‘up’ to find your mentors. Peers and colleagues can be some of the best mentors. Susan Lyne, (Ep. #11) drove this point home when talking about some of the best mentors she’d had in her career.
- Go broad. When it comes to networking, get outside of your comfort zone. Alicia Thomas (Season 3) warns against limiting your network to people who look and sound like you. Note: all this talk about diversity applies to how we build our networks too.
- Self-mentor. Find examples of successful role models. This is where BroadMic comes in – we are providing you with some of the best examples out there!
Aileen Gemma Smith recognized opportunity as she watched her community recover in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. She believed in her business idea so strongly that she sold her house in order to fund it. Smith is co-founder and CEO of Vizalytics, and creator of Mind My Business, an app now helping over 3,000 local business owners get critical data specific to their geo-location. Host, Kelly Hoey, and Smith discuss the unique challenges of developing a product for SMB’s, the important role trust plays in building a strong team, and how she got her first 100 customers.
What is Inspiring Us This Week
Upcoming Guests & Events
- 10/13 – Fran Seegull, Executive Director, U.S. Impact Investing Alliance