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International Mentoring Association Annual Conference – Gainesville, Florida
March 11 - March 13
Mentoring for Solopreneurs – a workshop with Dr. Virginia McGowan
Solopreneurs, sole proprietors of small businesses, are recognized as the backbone of the economy and comprise one of the fastest growing sectors. They are recognized as a special, unique type of entrepreneur, differing from other entrepreneurs in their mindset (aspirations, attitude) as well as business practices.
Yet few mentoring programs exist that address the solopreneur’s cogent need for support.
With this in mind, a provincial business association undertook a pilot project to research and create an evidence- and community-based business mentorship program for women entrepreneurs in Prince Edward Island, an island province on Canada’s east coast with a population of 150,000. Most participants were in business by themselves and faced challenges common to solopreneurs, compounded by the Island context. As a pilot, the project included data collection in the form of pre- and post-program measures.
This session describes the community consultations and research that led to the development of the mentoring program model, the lessons learned from its implementation, and the significant outcomes that were obtained for individuals, communities, and the sponsoring organization.