BCF, Partner of the Successful EntrepreneurDecember 4th, 2015
Our professionals also act as mentors.
Right after BCF partner François Lefebvre started his law career twenty years ago, he became involved in Entrepreneuriat Laval, making presentations on business start-up to students of Laval University.
“What I do is draw their attention to factors that must absolutely be considered when starting up a business,” says our partner. “All these presentations have been an extraordinary learning experience for me, because they have helped me gain a better understanding of young entrepreneurs’ needs.”
Over time, many of the students François mentored have succeeded in making their mark in the business world. Moreover, Entrepreneuriat Laval was recently ranked the world’s #1 university business accelerator by UBI Global, an international organization that specializes in analyzing and providing services for start-up incubators.
“Apart from the pro bono aspect, we must not forget that mentoring also has a business development aspect,” points out François. “Some of the entrepreneurs I incorporated in the late 1990s are still my clients today.”
BCF partner Serge LeBel finds that mentoring is also an excellent way to stay on the lookout for promising business opportunities. “It’s strategic," he explains. “When entrepreneurs start to look at growth opportunities, that is frequently when they’re looking for mentors. Most often, the mentors act as growth accelerators."
To Serge, the entrepreneurial culture is also a family story. After seeing his father work in the business community, it was quite natural for Serge to mentor entrepreneurs for over thirty years and be involved in the Entrepreneurship Foundation since 2005.
Now an “Administrateur de sociétés certifié” (certified corporate director), Serge is convinced that mentoring and corporate governance go hand in hand. “Before diving in, investors look at the human structure of the organization,” he says. “To have access to more capital, entrepreneurs would be well advised to surround themselves with good people.”
Whether it’s drafting a shareholder agreement or registering a trademark, the multiple legal challenges of a business start-up can seem daunting. BCF partner and trademark agent Johanne Auger routinely mentors entrepreneurs on employment matters and trademark registration, both in Canada and abroad.
“Because of my involvement in mentoring, I’ve come to the conclusion that by offering advice upstream, you can help entrepreneurs avoid some of the pitfalls that can turn out to be quite costly,” says Johanne. “It is therefore to everyone’s advantage to connect with them as soon as possible.”
One of the organizations Johanne is involved with is École d’Entrepreneurship de Beauce(EEB), an educational institution that helps entrepreneurs throughout Quebec improve their knowledge and develop their business savvy so they can make their company grow.
“You can never offer too much mentoring and guidance,” adds Johanne. “Moreover, BCF is a valuable reference when it comes to business law and support for new ventures.”