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How to Build a Mentoring Relationship

Start a Mentoring Relationship

There are a few options on how to locate an entrepreneur in need of business advice:

  • Entrepreneurs can contact you directly through mentor requests or private messages, depending on your account preferences.
  • You may also respond to a mentor request by searching open mentor requests or the suggested mentor requests emailed to you.

Respond to a Mentor Request

When contacted directly by an entrepreneur, we recommend that you respond within 5 business days, whenever possible. If you determine that the request does not match your business knowledge or expertise, please let the entrepreneur know so that s/he can reach out to another possible mentor. If you search through the open mentor requests to make a mentor offer, the entrepreneur will have 20 days to respond to your offer — remember, in many instances, these entrepreneurs do not have regular Internet access and may take some time to respond.

If you feel that you are in a position to offer advice to a mentee, we suggest that your initial message include an introduction of yourself, your business background and knowledge and also asks questions to better get to know the entrepreneur and his/her business challenge or opportunity.

Manage Your Relationship

Establish your relationship by being open and trusting, asking questions and encouraging your mentee to do the same so that you are able to get to know each other and to better understand the problems and challenges. Remember to be patient, courteous and professional throughout your mentoring relationship, responding to messages in a timely manner and listening carefully. Discuss with your mentee how you can best work together — for example, what form of communication you will both use, how often you might connect. You may find it easiest or most comfortable to communicate through ImagineNations Network private messaging — or you may be able to establish other means of communication, based on your comfort level and access to technology.

As in most relationships, an e-mentoring relationship will take some time, patience and management to establish the proper level of trust. Not everything you say in English may be understood in the same way, and it is helpful to be aware of cultural differences and to be sensitive to any possible miscommunication that sometimes arises when working with electronic messaging.

Develop Goals and Objectives

Once you have established a relationship and set expectations, you will want to develop appropriate mentoring goals and business objectives with your mentee. This step will likely take some time as you ask questions about your mentee’s business, career and future to help you focus on the challenges and opportunities facing him/her.

Establish an End to Your Relationship

When developing your goals and objectives for your mentoring relationship and business, set a clear end date or goal that you will work toward. By having a clear goal in mind, you will both be working toward this date together and be able to evaluate your relationship and objectives.

Get Support from INN

If you have any questions or concerns in your mentoring relationship, please email [email protected].

For additional information on setting expectations for your mentoring relationship, please visit here.

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ImagineNations Network is built on a growing web of partners who are committed to addressing the challenge of global youth employment. is committed to serving the needs of its partners and helping them realize their full potential is central to that mission. believes its advantage shines through the success of its partners.
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A Platform for the E-Mentor Corps

E-Mentor Corps
E-Mentor Corps is an initiative from the Global Entrepreneurship Program at the U.S. Department of State, connecting mentors with aspiring entrepreneurs around the world.
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