Last week the MentorshipBC website launched, a province-wide central database spurred by the the province of British Columbia and the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training. The site connects small business owners all over BC with those who have been there before.
MentorshipBC project manager Dawn Wood told BetaKit that the site was the result of a four month consultation period in which the province engaged in talks with over 35,000 small business owners, which helped shape the “B.C. Small Business Accord”. Today small business owners can access the site and find a central database of business-mentoring programs. It allows entrepreneurs to easily find and access programs that meet their specific needs, as well as different resources that can help them.
“One of the key needs that was identified was to receive business guidance from seasoned and experienced business people themselves, and also a way to find them and access them,” said Wood. “So there’s a number of great mentor programs across the province but it was difficult getting ahold of all of them. MentorshipBC serves as a central place for small business owners to find the advice they need.”
The amount of momentum that a mentorship relationship can provide to a startup or small business owner is a no-brainer, and some interesting stats back that up. Small Business Profile 2013, a provincially-developed report on the status of small business in BC, found that 75 percent of those who have undergone mentorships were still running strong after five years (compared to 34 percent of those who weren’t mentored). Meanwhile 45 percent of those who have undergone mentorships were proven to hire at least one additional employee.
“When you talk to small business owners, they didn’t just grow their small business, they grew themselves professionally as a stronger business person and they grew personally,” Wood told BetaKit. “One very compelling statement that we heard time and again is that they have someone who’s been there before. Being a small business owner can be very stressful, risky, and with some sleepless nights, and when you’re getting feedback from someone who knows how stressful and risky it can be, it’s a comfort.”
Wood added that mentorship programs can often simply give people the confidence and motivation to move forward once they’ve found someone they can talk to.
The B.C. government provided funding to the BC Innovation Council to develop the MentorshipBC portal. Some other interesting stats on small business in the province were also provided, such as:
- B.C.’s small business community contributes 26 percent of the province’s gross domestic product.
- B.C. has the most small businesses per capita in Canada, at 83.5 per 1,000 people.
- About 385,900 small businesses were operating in the province in 2012, 82 percent of which had fewer than five employees.
- Small businesses employed more than one million people in the province in 2012.
- Small business provides about 55 percent of all private-sector jobs in B.C., the second-highest rate in Canada.
- Small businesses account for 85 percent of all exporters in B.C.
- B.C.’s small businesses shipped approximately $12.2 billion worth of merchandise to international destinations in 2011, which accounts for 42 percent of all the goods exported from the province.