Meet Our Mentors is a series showcasing and introducing members of the BUILD mentorship community.
Meet Jay Japra. Jay is an entrepreneur who has been working with BUILD since Fall of 2017. As a young entrepreneur himself, Jay found an immediate connection to BUILD’s mission. Not only did he find a setting familiar to him and his own experiences, he also found BUILD to be a new perspective on entrepreneurship.
“It gave me a chance to give away what I was learning as an entrepreneur and try to react to people in the same boat, seeing as I was going through a similar experience.” he explained, “In reverse, I thought I could also learn a lot not from just what BUILD was trying to teach but also trying to teach young entrepreneurs myself.”
This unique context provided Jay with an environment he hadn’t been expecting but found to be an interesting challenge, particularly that of interacting and growing with other members of the BUILD community.
“In the experience of relating to other people, sometimes you get stuck in the same boat. I think the context is a little different in the BUILD program and trying to relate to that and the people in the program, specifically the youth, has been an interesting challenge in trying to gain those relationships but also trying to impart knowledge.” he said.
Jay also spoke to the authenticity that the BUILD mentorship programs offers and how it goes beyond mere mutual inspiration.
“Real is a great way to put it. There’s definitely inspiration there but I think the challenges found here are the ones I’ve also seen in entrepreneurship and it’s just been real.” he said.
Aside from the practical lessons learned through mentorship, Jay said how the best thing about being a mentor is being a part of the students’ journey and getting to engage with young entrepreneurs.
“The best thing about being a mentor is just having fun with some of these guys. As much as you’re trying to learn with them and teach them, you get to see them go from beginning to end and transform. That’s the best thing, seeing that transformation.”
To the future and potential mentors of BUILD, Jay encouraged them to invest and dedicate the hours needed for the full experience.
“If you’re thinking about signing up to mentor with BUILD, know what you’re getting yourself into. Make sure you can dedicate those hours because it’s not just about what the youth gets out of it but what you get out of it.”