Meet the Mentors: Patrick Lawless


By Norris Krueger, PhD

Photos by Kimberlee Miller

One doesn’t really meet Pat Lawless, all of a sudden you notice he’s there, helping out and offering good ideas and amping the positive vibe. Who is this guy?

Some people see whether a tech works, some understand whether there’s demand, but Pat adds the rarer skill of seeing if there’s actually a business. That’s a gift.

What I love about Pat is that he’s always around to help. When you want to start something, he’s there, often without being asked. Doesn’t suffer fools yet relentlessly optimistic. My kind of guy! His advice to me has always been spot on. Well worth getting to know!

What makes a good mentor? A bad mentor?

“I was most effective when the client and I were matched via a formal support organization and for specific expertise. I mentored formally with the Irish Enterprise Ireland (EI), responsible for developing and growing Irish enterprises globally with a formalized process for matching and supporting mentors who get specialized training and extensive resources. EI’s program provides good guidance and shares ideas and best practices. Why not here?”

What should I know/ask/do to see if a mentor is good for me?

“Successful entrepreneurs understand the areas where they need supplemental support and surround themselves with experts in those areas. If you are not strong with raising funding or sales or manufacturing processes etc., look for experts in those areas. Ask them how they can help support your quest.”

What do mentees really need to know (and do)?

“Entrepreneurs need to understand their weaknesses. Don’t be afraid to discuss these needs. First time entrepreneurs should do their homework. Really do their homework.”

How to grow good mentoring in Boise/Idaho?

“The Enterprise Ireland model is a good starting point. If we can recruit and train mentors the match them to the right situations, we’ll save some aggravation and heartache. If all we do is screen out the selfish mentors, we’re ahead of the game. For too many it’s more ego and being seen as A Great Mentor.”

What is one thing that each of us can do to grow the entrepreneur ecosystem?

“Boise has no shortage of entrepreneurial focused groups who have formed or opened chapters here. Why don’t these organizations do a better job of joining forces to share what works? We all share similar reasons for furthering ideas and shaping innovation. We’d be well served to share our best and brightest instead of trying to just better our own organizations.”

I believe it is incumbent upon all stakeholders to surround ourselves with like minded entrepreneurs and constantly share ideas and best practices.

What would YOU like to do & how can we help you?

I am very interested in working with all entrepreneur support groups to figure out how we can better formalize our offerings and share ideas and practices across those organizations. No group has all of the best ideas and members… If we all work more closely, we will better serve the entrepreneur and the support community.


Patrick Lawless: