Jay Pateakos (on the right) has been deeply involved with EforAll. He’s mentored ten businesses, read countless applications, and interviewed many aspiring entrepreneurs for EforAll Cape Cod and EforAll South Coast. With his experience working for Mass Development, an organization that provides financing and grants for small businesses, and having had his own business in the past, Jay helps entrepreneurs with valuable insights and guidance. 

What made you want to become a mentor?

 I owned a business years ago, but I didn’t really have a mentor to help me with the problems, so I had to forge my own path. I always thought it would have been great if I had someone to share ideas with and learn from. 

It’s a huge thing to open a business. I’m always amazed at the entrepreneurs and their twist of fate. I thought I could use my experience through owning a business, working as a reporter, and for a chamber, to help them. I’ve had a lot of small business experience that I hope to convey to a new entrepreneur. 

Can you give us some examples of the businesses you’ve been a mentor for?

I mentored a lot of female-driven businesses, which was awesome because I learned so much.  From a Nail Salon, a Woman Empowerment Center, and a Bridal Salon to a banana nut bread maker who was only 18 years old.  I’ve had many different experiences, and the best part is you learn a lot with your entrepreneur, how you can help, and where your strengths are to help them out. 

Is there a specific mentoring experience that you are most proud of?

Sometimes when you are assigned to a business or industry that you’re unfamiliar with, it takes you out of your comfort zone. When I was assigned to the Bridal Salon, I thought: How am I going to help her?!  How is my experience going to help her in the bridal industry?! I ended up helping her with press releases or presentations, among other things. She turned out to be a huge success. 

What is your favorite part about being a mentor? 

The best part is seeing the before and after, seeing how green the entrepreneurs sometimes are at the beginning and how they propel to stardom towards the end of the program. They’re really coming into their own, and it’s amazing to see it.  It’s amazing to see the changes and how they answer their questions at the end, where you know they really needed us to help. Seeing that transformation is the most rewarding thing. 

What advice would you have for entrepreneurs? 

You’ve got to believe in your business, and you’ve got to show passion! You have to believe in your business because if it’s something you don’t think will succeed, people can see it. You want to believe in yourself so others will believe in you too! That’s the beginning of securing success, securing finances, and other things to get your business started. 

Interested in becoming a mentor? Learn more here.