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SKY'S THE LIMIT - Advisor & Mentor Orientation

  1. is the digital platform of Youth Business USA, a 501c3 nonprofit based in Oakland, CA
  2. Welcome and Thank You! To start with, we know how hard it is to build a business, and that it takes a village. We thank you for offering your time and talents to support our young entrepreneurs. We couldn’t do this work without you. Your participation makes our communities stronger. Helping young people know that they aren’t in this alone makes a big difference - thanks for joining us!
  3. Overview 1. About Us 2. Entrepreneurial Mindset 3. Pathway to Business Ownership 4. Guide to Advising & Mentoring 5. Community Guidelines We hope this orientation helps you better understand who we are, what we do, and how you can succeed on our platform!
  4. About Us
  5. Our vision is that underserved young entrepreneurs nationwide will have the support they need to achieve their business dreams. The Vision Our mission is to empower underserved young adult entrepreneurs nationwide by providing them with the right support, from the right people, at the right time in their journey. The Mission
  6. The youth unemployment crisis in United States… • Nearly 45% of young adults aren’t employed full-time. • 18 to 29 year olds have the highest underemployment rate since World War II. • As a result, roughly 19 million are low-income. -AP, US Census The Problem …takes a devastating toll on society. “America’s unemployed youth will cost an estimated $4.7 trillion over their lifetimes in lost revenue, welfare, crime and health care expenditures.” - White House Council And it’s getting worse.
  7. The Opportunity… Over young adults in the United States want to start a business, but lack the support and resources to do so. 1 11 million 1. Kauffman/Young Invincibles report, US Census. Over professionals want to volunteer their skills to help others succeed. 10 million …to connect.
  8. Advisors & mentors create a profile on our web app at They have access to training and ongoing support from our team. We use a machine learning algorithm on our digital platform to recommend the right young entrepreneurs to match your skills and preferences. Advisors & mentors help our entrepreneurs learn, build and achieve their business dreams. How it works JOIN Young entrepreneurs can request support through the platform. We intelligently recommend the right entrepreneurs to our advisors & mentors - however, you are ultimately able to select the entrepreneurs you match with! Schedule your first meeting and get started! MATCH You work together with young entrepreneurs to prepare, launch and grow their businesses. You help them build their new products and services, get skills and chase their dreams. You’ll be exposed to other great people & ideas, build your own skills, and be part of a young entrepreneur’s story. BUILD
  9. PREPARING TO LAUNCH THE BUSINESS GROWING THE BUSINESS Business Modeling Customer Development Branding STARTING THE BUSINESS Product/Service Development Website Development & Technology Funding Marketing & Sales Bookkeeping, Accounting & Financials Legal & Regulatory SUSTAINING THE BUSINESS Building the Team Business Soft Skills Operations & Strategy Pathway to Business Ownership Our entrepreneurs receive support from our advisors & mentors in the following areas:
  10. Impact from Pilot Program low-income young entrepreneurs trained700+ businesses created or grown40+ jobs created60+ Since launch of Youth Business USA in summer of 2014 completed actionable business plans400+
  11. • Ages 18 to 29 • Low-income (HUD) • 80%+ are people of color • Nearly 2/3 female • Also immigrants, formerly incarcerated or in foster care, LGBTQ, & other underrepresented groups • Passionate, motivated • Small businesses (e.g. many different kinds of services, food, clothing, etc.) • Mostly in “Prepare” and “Launch” stages of business Our Young Entrepreneurs Our Advisors & Mentors • Professionals & subject-matter experts, ranging from local firms to global corporations (Accenture, Bank of America, Google, Blockchain, Intuit, Lyft, etc.) • Small business owners, tech, encore careers • Motivated by having a meaningful experience & giving back • Give time on an as-available, as- needed basis Profiles of our Members
  12. Tyrone and Tiffany, Co-Founders of Circle Up Education At a young age, Tyrone Botelho was placed in Oakland’s foster care system. He was rotated through 13 different group homes before he aged out of the system. In high school, he was exposed to the principles of Restorative Justice, a conflict resolution and community-building practice. Tyrone went on to work his way through college in low-wage jobs. Years later, he decided to launch a business to help other people experience the transformative effects of Restorative Justice. Tyrone and his co-founder Tiffany Hoang, approached Youth Business USA to support them in building Circle Up Education, an educational consultancy that helps organizations implement Restorative Justice practices. Through YBUSA, they received coaching in business modeling and planning to help them launch their business. Then they were connected with a YBUSA mentor, Robin Nasatir, who is the former CEO of a management consulting firm and a lifelong community volunteer. Robin has provided expert, invaluable guidance to Tyrone and Tiffany as they have built their company over the past 18 months. Circle Up Education has secured over $250,000 in contracts and now employs 5 people. Their clients include the City of Oakland and the Hayward Unified School District. “Youth Business USA helped make our business dreams become a profitable reality. We don’t know where we would be without them.” -Tyrone, Co-Founder CircleUp Education Y O U T H B U S I N E S S U S A S U C C E S S S T O R Y
  13. Nicolas Cary: Co-Founder and Chairman Nicolas leads the strategy of Youth Business USA’s platform development at, our Board of Directors, and strategic partnerships. He is also the co-founder of Blockchain, a financial technology company with over 10 million users of its digital platform. As CEO of Blockchain, he raised $30.5 million in Series A funding, and was named “European Digital Leader of the Year” in 2015. The World Economic Forum recognized Blockchain as a 2016 Technology Pioneer - previous awardees include Google & AirBnB. Bo Ghirardelli: Co-Founder and CEO Bo knows that talent is everywhere, but opportunity isn’t. He leads operations, partnerships, outreach, program design, and fundraising for Youth Business USA. His focus is to meet the needs of our young entrepreneurs. Bo also founded and built a successful business accelerator for low-income young adults in Morocco during the Arab Spring, serving over 1,500 entrepreneurs nationally. Our Founders
  14. Other Initiatives Our Funders In partnership with the City of Oakland Mayor’s Office, we began a multi-sector collaboration in 2016 to prepare, launch, and grow 100 underrepresented young adult entrepreneurs in Oakland each year. *plus over 200 individual donors THE OAKLAND FUND
  15. Our Entrepreneurial Mindset
  16. Our Approach to Entrepreneurship Entrepreneurship is chaotic, messy and uncertain - we’ve found the following mindset to be effective in building a business. We know that people’s most basic abilities - and their businesses - can be developed through dedication, learning, and hard work. Advisors, mentors and young entrepreneurs should share this mindset. We believe that the best way to launch a business is to test the business idea quickly, reliably and repeatedly, using resources you already have or can easily get. You can’t buy success in entrepreneurship. Check out the Lean Startup and Bootstrapping concepts for more info. Growth Mindset Lean and Scrappy Time is precious. We encourage early-stage entrepreneurs to spend 40% of their time making their product or service better, 40% of their time trying to sell their product or service, and 20% of their time learning, “building the business,” and dreaming! This is a corollary to the 80/20 Rule. 40/40/20 Rule Focus, focus, focus. Disciplined focus on their business greatly helps entrepreneurs achieve their goals. You can’t do everything. The challenge is to be doing what matters most when working on your business and avoiding distractions. Finding product- market fit is a vital early step! Focus
  17. Pathway to Business Ownership
  18. PREPARING TO LAUNCH THE BUSINESS GROWING THE BUSINESS Business Modeling Customer Development Branding STARTING THE BUSINESS Product/Service Development Website Development & Technology Funding Marketing & Sales Bookkeeping, Accounting & Financials Legal & Regulatory SUSTAINING THE BUSINESS Building the Team Business Soft Skills Operations & Strategy Pathway to Business Ownership Our entrepreneurs receive support from our advisors & mentors in the following areas:
  19. BUSINESS PLANNING I need guidance on where to start with my business idea. I need to create a basic design and plan for how my business works and how it can make money. -Simone, Partner at Mamacitas Cafe
  20. CUSTOMER DEVELOPMENT I need to better understand my customers: their problems & desires, the differences between my types of customers, how to reach them, what they think is valuable, etc. -Tyrone and Tiffany, Co-founders of Circle Up Education
  21. BRANDING I need to name my business, create a logo, design how the business looks (i.e. colors, style, designs, etc.), and figure out how to talk about my business to other people. -Afiba, Founder of Twisted Roots Project
  22. PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT I need to design my products to fit my customers’ needs, and figure out what materials & equipment I need for them, which manufacturer I should choose, how best to get my products delivered, what price I should charge, etc. -Victor, Founder of Run The World Clothing
  23. SERVICE DEVELOPMENT I need to design my services to fit my customers’ needs, and figure out what services I offer (and what I don’t offer…), how much I charge, how I deliver my services, etc. -Daisy, Founder of Resilient Wellness
  24. WEBSITE & TECHNOLOGY I need to design and build a website for my business, and grow my online presence. I need to create and use social media and the right apps for my business. -Morgan, Founder of Cakes by Morgan
  25. MARKETING & SALES I need to get the word out about my business and promote it. I need to get paying customers, and figure out the best ways to sell and market my products and services. -Yodassa, Founder of Yoda Will Styling
  26. ACCOUNTING & FINANCIALS I need to figure out how to manage my business’ money. I need to figure out which taxes I need to pay for my business. I need to create a budget and financials for my business. -Brittini, Owner of Prodigious Soles
  27. FUNDING I need to figure out the best ways to get funding for my business - whether it is loans, grants, investors, crowdfunding, pre-selling my products or services, or just starting my business with what I have saved. -Andrew, Founder of Helping
  28. LEGAL & REGULATORY I want to figure out the legal stuff, like licenses, permits, getting insurance, etc. I want to create the right business structure, whether it is a sole proprietorship, LLC, cooperative, etc. I want to know what regulations I have to follow for my business. -Acacia, Founder of Ethnic Ties
  29. BUILDING A TEAM I need to build a team for my business, and figure out how to handle recruiting and hiring (or getting volunteers), creating roles for each job position, motivating people, creating incentives, training and managing employees. -Bri, Owner of Wyred Up Bartending
  30. OPERATIONS I need to create business processes & systems to help me get organized. I want to be more efficient and grow the business. I want to find new ways to manage the business, cut business costs, etc. -Lindsay, Founder of Brown Sugar Baking
  31. STRATEGY I need to create a strategy for my business so that I can accomplish my goals. I need a more detailed & organized plan that describes what I do and how I grow my business. I want to identify what the risks and opportunities are for my business over the next few years. -Brianna, Owner of Catrina’s Popcorn
  32. BUSINESS SOFT SKILLS I need someone who can be there for me along the way as I build my business, someone who can make introductions, help me learn and grow my skills, avoid mistakes, push past obstacles, and get to my goals. -Ajmal, Founder of MyRise
  33. Quick Guide to Advisors & Mentors
  34. Provide short-term support for a young entrepreneur in a specific area of their business. All advisors and mentors on should have: exceptional interpersonal & listening skills, multiple years of direct business experience, and the aptitude for developing skills in our young entrepreneurs. Advisors Mentors Volunteer Role Background Minimum Commitment Intended Commitment Location of Meetings Impact Matching Have subject matter expertise (e.g. sales, legal, branding, finance, marketing, etc.) and are aligned with our social mission. One meeting (approx. 1 hour) Two to four meetings over approx. one month, with an option to continue ad hoc as you have time/availability. Provide long-term, “generalist” support for a young entrepreneur across their business and life. 1st meeting: Phone call Other meetings: Virtual or in- person, if possible Advisors teach, guide, counsel and work one-on-one with young entrepreneurs. Ideally have entrepreneurship and/or business management experience, and are aligned with our social mission. One meeting (approx. 1 hour) 4 hours a month for 12 months, with an option to continue 1st meeting: Phone call Other meetings: Preferably in- person, or virtual Mentors teach, guide, counsel, make connections, and work one- on-one with young entrepreneurs. Advisors can match with many different young entrepreneurs, and young entrepreneurs can work with many advisors. Mentors work with one young entrepreneur at a time, and young entrepreneurs work with one mentor at a time.
  35. Quick Tips for Getting Started
  36. PREP FOR THE FIRST MEETING AT THE FIRST MEETING AT ONGOING MEETINGS • READ the entrepreneur’s business plan and their personal story. • THINK especially about the young entrepreneur’s motivations for starting the business, their goals and what success looks like for them. • BUILD TRUST: Just like with meeting anyone new for the first time, trust is earned. Focusing on building rapport and a connection with a young entrepreneur is the most important part of your first meeting. A few tips: • Let them know you care about them as an individual and their overall success in life, not just in getting their business up and running. • Ask questions before you offer advice • Learn their story - what is their current life situation, their background, hurdles they face? • Modeling is better than telling - let entrepreneurs hear how you would think about, frame and tackle a business problem so they learn from your thought process. • Let them get to know you and practice mutuality in your relationship with an entrepreneur. • OPERATE WITH EMPATHY: You may be working with a young person who hasn’t yet built the professional habits and skills (e.g. communications) you’ve accumulated over your career. Patiently helping them gain these vital skills will take them far in business & in life! • Proactively reach out to them as they may feel uncomfortable asking for your time, or unaccustomed to setting up meetings. • FOCUS ON BUILDING SKILLS: Not everything is about getting things done, helping young entrepreneurs learn your skills will pay off big for them in the long run!
  37. General Guide to Advising & Mentoring
  38. Meet them where they’re at Making a meaningful impact as a business advisor or mentor on starts with understanding the individual you’re working with. Gaining confidence in themselves Our young entrepreneurs’ dynamic needs often include: Soft and hard business skills Roadmap and plan for achieving their business goals Ability to remain financially stable while starting a business Trustworthy, knowledgeable, reliable, culturally competent, and emotionally intelligent support Relevant connections to people in their industry Healing from trauma and discrimination Access to flexible and individualized training Access to potential customers for their products and services
  39. What advising & mentoring is Advisors and mentors provide some combination of these four kinds of support based on what a young entrepreneur needs. TEACH GUIDE COUNSEL DO Advisors & mentors are confidants, partners in problem-solving, encouraging, curious, inspiring, and challenging while supportive. TEACH: Teach entrepreneurs skills (both soft skills and Pathway-related skills), habits, and mindsets. GUIDE: Ask probing questions, instill focus, and hold problem-solving discussions with entrepreneurs supporting them through their journey. COUNSEL: Provide specific advice on different areas of business, such as how to create a budget, a brand strategy, or develop a proposal. DO: Helping entrepreneurs actually build parts of their business, making relevant introductions in your own network, etc.
  40. What advising & mentoring is NOT Direct “sponsorship” Focused on the advisor’s or mentor’s business interests Doing everything for the young entrepreneur Too task-focused A conflict of interest Getting stuck in the details
  41. Potential challenges Inadequate definition of roles and expectations Conflicting values or a mismatch in personality compatibility Meetings are repeatedly re-scheduled (or missed) Relationship difficulties (broken promises, prejudices, etc.) and a lack of commitment Wanting to give up Unreasonable demands for help and support Relationships are complicated. Being aware of potential challenges can help you prevent or prepare for inevitable obstacles.
  42. • Respect: Volunteers and young entrepreneurs are considerate of one another and treat people in the manner in which they themselves expect to be treated. • Trust and “Fit”: Business volunteers and young entrepreneurs recognize the importance of first building trust with each other and making sure they are a good “fit” before committing to an extended mentoring relationship. • Motivations: The primary purpose of participating is to support young entrepreneurs in achieving their business goals. • Mutuality and Equality: Young entrepreneurs and volunteers are equals, and it is the responsibility of both sides to make sure that they are collaborating in a way that works for all. • Commitment and Follow Through: Doing what you say you’ll do is the best way to demonstrate your commitment. • Curiosity and Openness to Feedback: Be curious, not judgmental. Ask lots of questions to understand the full picture before you jump to conclusions or provide advice. • Use Time Effectively: Respect one another’s time by being prepared and on-time to meetings. Focus on progress, not perfection. • Active Participation: Maintain communication and openness to collaborating together. • High Expectations: Have - and maintain - high expectations for yourself and your mentee while accepting that no one is perfect. • Use Available Resources: Make use of all resources available - from our Pathway to Business Ownership to information available on the internet, from our shared community, and from your own network. • Speak Up: If you have any problems or concerns, be open and honest with each other - if needed, contact our Program Managers! General Tips for Success
  43. Other Resources
  44. JOIN OUR FACEBOOK GROUP FOR ADVISORS & MENTORS UPDATE YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE 1. If you update your LinkedIn profile, you can turn on “Notify your network” so that your network will know about your work supporting young entrepreneurs. 2. On your LinkedIn profile, go to “Volunteering Experience & Causes” and “Add a volunteer experience”. For Organization, choose Your Role can be Business Advisor or Business Advisor and Mentor. For Cause, choose Economic Empowerment. For Description, see a possible one below: I provide advice and guidance to a young entrepreneur as he/she works to plan, launch, and grow a new business. The entrepreneur I am working with is starting (briefly describe the business here). During our regular meetings, I help the entrepreneur I work with problem solve, develop skills, and plan ahead. I provide encouragement and high-level guidance, as well as connect them to my network to help them grow. SKY’S THE LIMIT is a not-for-profit program that connects young adult entrepreneurs with experienced business advisors & mentors. Our mission is to prepare, launch and grow highly motivated young entrepreneurs who face barriers to business ownership. ONLINE MARKETPLACES FOR YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS If a young entrepreneur needs help getting $ or customers, check out Additional info:
  45. Community Guidelines
  47. RESPECT I agree to treat all members of this community with respect, and that I will build and maintain the trust placed in me by other members of this community.
  48. PURPOSE Entrepreneurs agree that their purpose in joining this community is generally to build their business, make new connections and learn new skills. Advisors & Mentors agree that one of the key purposes of their interactions with entrepreneurs in this program will be to support them in achieving their own business goals.
  49. FOLLOW THROUGH If I commit to a match, I agree to follow through on my commitments to that person. I understand that if I schedule a meeting and miss that meeting (without re-scheduling in advance), I can have my membership suspended.
  50. CONFIDENTIALITY I agree to treat the private information disclosed to me through this program as confidential. If you have a question about what is confidential, just ask the person who told you the information.
  51. NON-SOLICITATION I do not intend to use this program just to promote my own products or services to other members of our community.
  52. NO CONFLICTS OF INTEREST I do not intend to use this program to find a business to invest in, an idea to market myself, or to create any other conflicts of interest with members of this community.
  53. NOTIFICATION I agree that I will keep this community’s Program Managers informed of any change that could materially affect my participation in this program. This includes but is not limited to: 1.) if you no longer have the available time to meet regularly with your mentoring partner, or; 2.) if your mentoring partner becomes unresponsive. I also agree to provide periodic updates to improve the quality of the program.
  54. Email: Websites: | Donate Watch our Video Thank you! Youth Business USA, a 501c3 public charity EIN # 27-4333255