In business, as in life, the presence of a mentor can prove an exceptionally significant feature. Luke Skywalker had Obi-Wan Kenobi, Dr. Phil had Oprah Winfrey and now – perhaps more than ever before – help is available for budding billionaires in the form of mutually beneficial start-up funds. Launched by well-established names looking to help out and kick-start other efficacious ventures, the latest addition to this hearty supply is a fund opened by high-profile entrepreneur, and former Apprentice candidate, Raj Dhonota.
Having moved seamlessly from the famed finger of Lord ‘You’re Fired’ Sugar, to considerable entrepreneurial success, Dhonota’s focus is now firmly on progressing other fledgling coorporations, and helping them to maximise their profit potential. Unveiling a new £1m start-up fund to help finance a potential two businesses a week in 2014, Dhonota believes his own experiences of success (and failure, having been declared personally bankrupt in the early stages of his career) on the corporate ladder have given him a unique insight into his new assistive role.
Speaking exclusively to Elite Business, Dhonota explained: “I never really had a mentor, and I think if I had I would probably be ten steps further on from where I am today, so I certainly know and appreciate the value of that. When you look at the statistics around business failures, actually a lot of those can be reduced with the right mentor because a lot of the mistakes are due to inexperience not because the idea is not right.”
It seems then that all it takes to impress is a good idea and the will or determination to follow it through and make it successful. The serial investor explained that in the current blossoming entrepreneurial landscape, the provision of resources, contacts and funds can prove incredibly beneficial to all sectors and ages; perhaps a viable reason why there are no limitations in terms of age or area in his newest scheme.
When asked about the potential successful applicants in his upcoming scheme, Dhonota surmised: “Traditionally, the ventures I’ve been involved with have been technology-based because my background has been in that but it’s not just for tech based businesses.
“It would be great if we find the next Twitter or Facebook, but that’s not the aim. The aim is to help people make the transition and grow their business”
The importance of a broad social reach cannot be overstated by Dhonota, who is a fierce advocate of equal opportunities for all ages and sectors. He firmly believes that there is much profitability to be enjoyed by “equalling the playing field”.
“I come across so many mature entrepreneurs who are just as able, just as capable in their business choices and decisions and therefore slightly more viable than some of the younger guns.”
One thing is sure of Dhonota’s latest venture: the force, or funds, are strong.