How Mintor is Changing Small Business Networking


Despite being more connected than ever by social media, meaningful relationships tend to get lost in the code. Kasra Khalili and Scott Knight recognized the rift between connections and relationships and developed Mintor to fill the gap. Mintor helps entrepreneurs build a core group of people who can support you and your startup’s growth.

Khalili’s family emigrated from Iran when he was five. His parents were serial business owners, so running a business has been a constant in his life. But as he explored his own interests in college, Khalili discovered that meaningful business connections can be hard to come by. “You go to networking events but leave each one carrying a stack of business cards and feeling disappointed,” he says.

As a first-generation college student, Knight experienced the same lack of connection. “I had to learn how to connect with people and build that community around myself,” he says. Knight and Khalili both became president of their respective fraternities and were tasked with connecting people on a much larger scale. They set out to solve the networking problem, and Mintor was born.

Here’s how they are changing networking for small businesses.

Making Networking Achievable

Traditional networking opportunities can be limited by geographic or financial barriers. Many startups are prevented from finding the right communities and mentors because they can’t afford to travel to conferences or other in-person networking venues. And even those who do muster up the funds to travel can’t always pinpoint the person who would provide the best support for their growth.

Mintor aims to bypass these difficulties by bringing the right network directly to an entrepreneur’s smartphone. “We’re trying to create an environment where entrepreneurs can connect with people in a deeper, more meaningful way,” Knight says. “We want to help people build those communities around themselves.” Khalili and Knight are hoping to fill a niche need in social media and help entrepreneurs identify the support they need to turn their dreams into reality.

Fostering Meaningful Connections

Currently, most social media algorithms connect people based on superficial categories like people you may know or shared educational or work backgrounds. The goal is often to build large interconnected networks, but these goals and tactics don’t necessarily facilitate deeper connections. Mintor’s intention isn’t to build really large networks but to create smaller networks built on deeper relationships.

“Mintor is a community of entrepreneurs who are stating, ‘Here are the things I can give, and here are the things that I need’,” Khalili says. “And using those combined with personality and a variety of other data points, we funnel and direct them to the people that will provide the most value in their current journey, business and relationships.” Mintor’s connections are based on stages in the entrepreneurial journey and the give-and-take community members can offer each other, resulting in stronger, more foundational relationships.

Creating Opportunities Through Community

Many entrepreneurs have excellent ideas, but lack the contacts and resources they need to put those ideas into action. This is especially true for women and people of color, who may have a more difficult time reaching out to contacts who are largely older, white and male. “Our goal is to raise the potential for entrepreneurship and job creation through enabling people to take action on their ideas,” Khalili says.

Community is at the heart of making that happen. “With Mintor we’re looking forward to revolutionizing the way that people are connecting with each other and sharing insights,” Knight says. “It all starts with fostering that genuine human connection.”

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