How can I find a mentor?

How can I find a mentor?


I am starting up a business and would like to get the assistance of a mentor. However, it seems that every programme I investigate simply costs a fortune. While I understand the need to charge for services (since this is the business I am in) it becomes very difficult to fund a start-up AND pay a mentorship fee. Please assist?

Good question and a real conundrum. In South Africa in particular, great strides have been made in start-up and small business support – at least from an activity perspective.

There are a wide range of service providers currently offering a variety of support services to start-up and existing small enterprises. One proviso in this regard however, is that given South Africa’s apartheid legacy, the majority of this support is geared toward black-owned enterprises.

Given your expressed frustration, though, I can only assume that this is not the case for you and your business.

In this instance, I would instead advise you to take a careful look around your social and business networks, where you are sure to know someone who runs their own business. One thing I do know about small business owners, having been one myself, is that they love to share from their experiences, and tell their stories. In fact, most of the time small business owners don’t even need an invitation to do so. Ask anyone married to one!

My advice would be to plug your own networks in search of a mentor or free ‘over a cup of coffee’ advice on a monthly basis.

Mentorship providers

In case you’re still stuck, consider the following four service providers for mentorship support to business owners.

Business Partners.

Business finance, property finance & mentorship, tel +27 11 713 6600 or email For more information visit Business Partners.


Incubator, mentorship, financing and investment, business support, tel+27 11 5 662 000 or email For more information visit Raizcorp.


Incubator, business enterprise support (mentorship), tel +27 (0)11 447 5575 or email or Visit Aurik for more information.

The Hope Factory.

Mentorship and training of potential black entrepreneurs, tel +27 (0)11 479 0608 or email or visit The Hope Factory.

Sean Krige
Sean Krige - Johannesburg programme manager for The Hope Factory. Sean’s priorities include overseeing the mentorship and associated support services available to the Jhb entrepreneurs, including measuring and reporting on the impact on the entrepreneurs. His responsibility, together with that of the executive mentor, also includes the ongoing training, development and performance management of all the business mentors. Krige has five years of experience running his own enterprise development business, which had as its focus the development of formal businesses in townships. His academic qualifications include a Bcom and honours in economics. He is passionate about seeing South Africa transformed through the growth and strategic development of local businesses and their owners.