Posted 14 April 2021

Emerging founder Charmaine Beneyto on the power of finding the right mentor

In our recent mentoring series, we highlighted a number of amazing initiatives offering feedback, advice and support to aspiring creatives. One of these is the brilliant Mentor Black Business, an initiative set up to help emerging Black founders. Here, we meet one of its mentees, Charmaine Beneyto, to hear how it’s impacted her journey as a budding business-owner.

What is Mentor Black Business?

Mentor Black Business was launched in September 2020 by Akil Benjamin, who also works as the strategy director of Comuzi, a design and technology studio he co-founded in 2013. The initiative has been created as a resource to help Black entrepreneurs and Black professionals thrive – giving them the foundation to unlock their own potential.

In that time, the platform has grown a community of thousands of business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs, who are then paired with mentors across a wide range of disciplines and experience. This includes specialists able to advise on everything from funding to marketing and attracting clients.

One of these members is Charmaine Beneyto, who, with input from her mentor Kate Bosomworth, has been able to dream bigger with a creative business focused on sales.

The Mentor Black Business website

Meet Charmaine Beneyto

Charmaine is the founder of Biddie, a modern apothecary and lifestyle brand that offers 100% plant-powered wellness. Having previously worked as a performance artist and director, she decided to take the plunge and launch the business just eight months ago.

Finding the right help
With no prior experience of running a business, finding support felt like a priority, but Charmaine reflects that she was initially unaware of the resources available to her. “I was a bit naive about my opportunities, or lack thereof, as a result of being Black and a woman,” she says.

Having scoured books on self-development and business advice, she found they all recommended the same thing: “Find a mentor.”

Biddie’s ‘Moon Tea’

And yet, tapping into the right network didn’t come easy; “I literally didn't know where to start… I found it difficult to find a community that suited my personality, age, background and business,” she shares. “However after BLM kicked off last year, I have been presented with a wealth of opportunities that made me realise that, yes, in the past I was very much over-looked.”

“I literally didn’t know where to start. I found it difficult to find a community that suited my personality, age, background and business.”

Finally discovering initiatives that felt like the right fit, Charmaine has been incredibly proactive in making the most of what’s available.

In that time she’s joined both Mentor Black Business and Babes on Waves, a female business club prioritising Black womxn and women of colour, and was also accepted onto the Diverse Founders Programme with Foundervine and WeWork. Now able to tap into “an amazing network of people and resources”, Charmaine’s confidence has come on in leads and bounds.

Starting the mentoring journey
But it was through mentoring that she’s seen some of the most tangible impact. Knowing that “you can only go so long talking to your friends and family about your business ideas,” Charmaine was knew she needed to surround herself with those who were further ahead in their business-owner journeys.

Through Mentor Black Business, Charmaine was matched with Kate Bosomworth – a fellow founder with over 20 years’ experience in the industry – who recently launched her own agency, Platform, after serving as CMO at M&C Saatchi.

Taking the time to identify Biddie’s potential, Kate reviewed the business model and provided a sounding board for Charmaine. “Just by having someone like Kate, I felt less alone and as though someone was there, making me feel accountable.”

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The Biddie website

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Opening up possibilities
Mentoring has provided a relationship and experience that have made Charmaine aware of the possibilities with her company, giving her the sense that, “What you envision has enormous amounts of potential.”

And with a renewed motivation and purpose, Charmaine has also developed greater self-belief. “This is fundamental to achieving success in business,” she says. “Kate treads the line between offering mental and emotional guidance, with practical tips to achieve tangible goals.”

“Kate treads the line between offering mental and emotional guidance, with practical tips to achieve tangible goals.”

So what’s coming up for Biddie? In Charmaine’s eyes, the next step is moving out of the research and development phase, into becoming “a company solely focused on sales.” As she works on evolving her packaging and additional products, the company will launch new products over the coming year.

Getting out of your comfort zone
And for anyone considering joining Mentor Black Business, Charmaine is clear in her advice: “Absolutely go for it. It feels awkward and somewhat scary to put yourself out there, but it’s great practice to apply and pitch for things.”

In her experience, it can be the things we find most unnatural or ‘awkward’ at first that reap the most reward; “Quite often you’ll be surprised at the opportunities that present themselves when you take steps out of your comfort zone.”


Find out more about Mentor Black Business here, and stay up-to-date on Charmaine’s progress with Biddie here.