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Meg Sanders is the CEO of Canna Provisions, a western Massachusetts-based dispensary with three regional locations.  She’s been a mentor since 2022 after learning more about the business accelerator from Tessa Murphy-Romboletti, EforAll Pioneer Valley’s Executive Director. 

 

What made you want to become a mentor?

Being a mentor for entrepreneurs who are thinking about opening a business or already have one sounded like a great opportunity to get to know the community better and understand their needs better. It felt like a really cool way to give back.

Can you give us some examples of the kinds of startups you have mentored with us?

One was a gluten-free powerhouse healthy snacks business that had a great product and was a great mentee. The other was a graphic designer who worked with music and was trying to get that business to be a full-time gig for him. Most recently, I mentored an apparel business where the entrepreneur did some cool, fun t-shirts and hats.  He was a perfect example of somebody who’s been in business and was looking for extra support.

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

They were all so different, in different phases of their business, so they brought all unique things, so it’s hard to choose a favorite. I would say that the baker and the mentor group we had was pretty special. I’m really lucky that I got to participate in that group.

What is your favorite part of being an EforAll mentor?

My favorite thing is providing a different point of view and being there as a sounding board. I think it’s important to listen to the unique challenges and questions, whatever and wherever they are in that particular moment. It’s a pretty incredible opportunity to be able to give back and just be there for somebody. 

What do you think makes EforAll special?

EforAll allows people to channel their passion and gives them the courage to take the next step in their business. I love seeing that and the camaraderie they get with the other entrepreneurs with similar challenges or questions. A lot of good friendships come out of that.

What are the biggest challenges that women entrepreneurs face?

Access to capital is a big one, and finding support within the community can be very challenging. I feel that, besides EforAll, they don’t really have a clearing house they can go to for basic questions. 

What advice would you have for entrepreneurs?

Based on my experience with EforAll, many entrepreneurs don’t start with a healthy and thought-through budget. Finances come last and should come first because you have to figure out how many products you have to sell to support yourself and pay your bills, and people don’t have any idea how much it costs to run their business. Even more importantly, they’re not paying themselves yet or paying themselves too much and not enough back to the business. Finances are often the weakest part, and it would be good if you could just flip that script and start with a healthy proforma of knowing more about their finances and having a thoughtful business plan.

Interested in becoming a mentor? Learn more here.