The Founders of global mentoring platform, Mentorloop, envisioned that their business could be both successful and profitable while also being ethical and sustainable. That led them to seek B Corp certification from day one.
COO and Co-Founder, Heidi Holmes, shares that journey and what being a B Corp means to them, their customers, their team, and to the business’ future.
The ‘Aha’ Moment
From day one, our ambition for Mentorloop was for it to become the number one global mentoring platform, with the vision to make mentoring more accessible to more people. My Co-Founder, Lucy, and I have both experienced breakdowns in our professional networks and those periods of isolation made us think: ‘there has to be a better way’. So, we set about building a platform that made connection more accessible.
No one should have to feel that they have to go it alone.
The problem of isolation is often felt and experienced on an individual level, so if we were going to try to solve this and provide mentoring via a consumer app, there were going to be challenges.
How could we monetise it when we philosophically believe it shouldn’t involve financial incentives? How could we mentor those who might not normally have access to similar opportunities?
It was through our community that we learned about the B Corp movement and it immediately resonated with us. It spoke to our desire to build a great business that did something meaningful and valuable for people. While we both had the passion and conviction to create a meaningful business, B Corp gave us the framework to apply some rigour to our vision.
We saw becoming a B Corp as a simple and effective way to hold ourselves accountable in our desire to use Mentorloop as a tool for positive change.
Building Mentorloop As A B Corp From Day One
Going through B Corp certification as an early stage startup was a great exercise for us. When you are bootstrapping and just starting out, there are lots of distractions – you’re trying to build a product, you’re trying to sell that product, and you’re trying to build a business for the future. There’s that feeling that ‘everything could be an opportunity’ and you are learning on your feet how to navigate this new world.
No two days were the same, and the B Corp certification process provided some structure not only for our vision for the business but also for our daily work.
The process was thorough, structured, and challenging. But doing it almost from inception, allowed us to choose a better path from the outset, rather than correct missteps as our business matured.
Growing As A B Corp
In the beginning, a lot of our early customers had no idea what working with a Certified B Corporation meant. But we’ve watched as B Lab Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand have grown the movement, and we can see it’s really gaining momentum across the corporate landscape.
We’ve gone from seeing B Corp as an internal business certification to an external validation that we are a force for good.
Over the years we’ve gotten better about talking the talk – backing up what we say we stand for. An example is our Community Support Program, launched in 2021 to make mentoring accessible for all. Since the beginning, we’ve built our business model to ensure that we can work with all types of organisations – from corporates to government to community organisations. We want to make sure that if someone is doing good work in the community through mentoring, we can be there to support them. And because we’ve built a profitable sustainable business model over the last five years, we have been able to contribute over $80,000 in revenue back into the community in the last 12 months alone.
Seeing our offering making a difference in people’s lives and hearing mentors and mentees stories about the power of our peer-to-peer model makes it all so worth it.
What This Means To Our Team
One place we’ve witnessed being a B Corp making a real difference is in the hiring process. During this so-called ‘Great Resignation’, many people have questioned their current career path and sought alternatives that provide them with a sense of meaning and purpose in their day to day work. With this shortage of talent, employees are realising that they can take their pick – they can apply their craft in a company that pursues purpose over profit and aligns with their values.
Being a Certified B Corporation has definitely given us an edge in a competitive recruiting environment, with some of our current team members applying to Mentorloop specifically because we are a B Corp.
It’s also meaningful for our team because of how it translates into our everyday work. We’ve made a conscious effort to become more transparent internally across all our teams and calling out customer feedback be it positive or negative. We also reinforce Mentorloop as a force for good by celebrating the positive impact our work has by sharing participants mentoring stories on Slack.
Our Future as a B Corp
We’ve recently partnered with B Lab Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand to help power a community mentoring program across the local B Corp community (sign up here), and it’s been great to see even some of our team sign up to the program of their own volition. It’s a quiet validation that they believe in, not only mentoring, but in the partnership and commitment we have to being a proud B Corp.
Of course, we still have work to do but keeping ourselves accountable and humble ensures we continue to drive towards our vision from day one to build the number one global mentoring platform and make mentoring more accessible to more people – all with our values intact.
Thank you to Heidi Holmes and Mentorloop for this insightful piece, published as part of B Corp Month 2022 as we invite you #BehindTheB to uncover what makes a B Corp a better business. Learn more about Mentorloop’s work or find out more about the B Impact Assessment and how your business can get on the path to purpose from day one.