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You get to work on a variety of projects in the social sector. What makes Start:ME unique?
"I deeply believe in the power of community and economic development"
There are not a lot of volunteer opportunities where you get to roll up your sleeves and really bring your full-self into work that truely aligns with your values and interests. Start:ME is one of the few. I deeply believe in the power of community and economic development, with social entrepreneurship as a powerful tool for the vibrancy of both. Start:ME provides the basic tools for entrepreneurs to succeed in building their businesses in communities that need and value their services. And I can�t discount my opportunity to learn. Being relatively new to the Atlanta area, I wanted to learn about my new home. Through Start:ME, I have learned about the entrepreneurs, the local neighborhoods, and the issues unique to both. And you get to build friendships with people that you may not otherwise meet.
You really like seeing passion in an entrepreneur. What are you looking for specifically?
"I want entrepreneurs who want to follow their passion and immerse themselves in their talents as a way of making a living"
I want to see entrepreneurs who have a vision, who want to be successful in a business and to bring services to their communities. I want entrepreneurs who want to follow their passion and immerse themselves in their talents as a way of making a living. What they may need is to build business skills and get guidance in the implementation of those skills - Start:ME has that part of it. And I want to see their fierce commitment to learning what they need to and to putting in the work to be successful.
What do you think is the most important thing for a Start:ME mentor to keep in mind as they coach an entrepreneur?
"You have to get to know people and see where the obstacles might be."
I think that the mentors I have worked with are incredibly talented and committed. I think though we all try to be as involved in supporting the entrepreneurs as much as we can, at times I forget that they have other part of their lives at play as well - they usually work full time, they have families, they have issues. Sometimes we can just get involved in the sessions and not always realize the fuller �story" of the individual we are working with. I think it is important to know that issues that may seem easy (e.g., public speaking, asking for funding and support, believing you will be successful) may not be for everyone. You have to get to know people and see where the obstacles might be. These entrepreneurs who work so hard deserve that and it is unbelievably fulfilling to see their success.
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