This year marks New Ventures BC’s 20th anniversary of supporting tech innovation in BC! We are celebrating our 20 years of impact by interviewing those who made the past two decades so special.
Since 1995, Caroline Lewko has been in the mobile and tech sector helping develop ground breaking tech and nurturing community connection and innovation. A Competition judge and a mentor for the Venture Acceleration Program, Caroline knows a thing or two about successful startups and the pivotal role mentoring has in ensuring new ventures take flight. Here’s a little from our conversation about her time with NVBC:
How long have you worked with NVBC and in what roles?
How long has NVBC been around?! I was there from the start, reviewing early presentations, doing 1:1 mentoring and as part of the startup program that ran for awhile.
What has been your most memorable mentoring experience?
Probably during the wrap up event at Venue on Granville Street a few years ago. I had not been an active mentor for a few years due to extensive travel, but I showed up to the NVBC event to see what was happening. I was surprised to see such a grand turnout! I think it shows what a treasure NVBC had been and still is to our community.
How does it feel to watch your advice implemented by entrepreneurs?
It is always really exciting to see new businesses. I really like mentoring a lot and I think fondly of the mentors I have had over the years and still keep in touch with many of them. It’s heartening to know my experience can be useful to someone else.
What have your mentees taught you?
My mentees have taught me to stay open to possibilities and opportunities — there is always lots to learn!
How can mentees get the best mentoring experience?
Mentoring is really a great gift best enjoyed with an open heart and an open mind. Everybody has different experience, whether from school or from different work they’ve done, but everyone comes to the mentorship table with something to offer. To get the most out of the mentor experience, it is important to realize this and to listen really carefully.
If you are given advice that you feel doesn’t work for you, ask about it, rather than quickly writing it off. I understand that sometimes mentees get too much information. Write it down, think about it, and come back to it. It is good practice to ask for some concrete examples and how best to implement advice into your business.
Most importantly, have fun with it! Take moments to be present and enjoy what you’ve created and being an entrepreneur.
How can a mentor best help their mentees?
When mentors work with companies with new ideas, it is important for the mentor not to have preconceived notions about the company or what they should do to be successful. Certainly, there are a number of principles that we probably all know about running a successful business, but until you really start to walk individual companies’ experiences it is hard to know how to effectively apply these principles.
It is important to remember that no-one can know everything! Being able to listen, on both sides, and understand what someone is saying and asking is really important.
What do you think NVBC’s impact has been on you and the tech community over the last 20 years?
NVBC has been a pivotal organization from the start. A stable organization for years supporting up-and-coming businesses, NVBC has helped show how impactful startups can be, and that it takes a whole tech community to work together to nurture these ventures and help them grow.
Share your #2020nvbcimpact story
This year marks our 20th anniversary of supporting tech innovation in BC! We are inviting NVBC Competition alumni, mentors, volunteers, accelerator participants, and ISI grant recipients to share your impact story by completing a short form on how you feel NVBC supported you and sparked innovation in the tech sector.
Submit your story