• In spite of an impending recession, small business owners are still competing to find and keep talent.
  • In collaboration with Indeed, Insider developed a mentoring program as part of the Talent Insider series to assist five entrepreneurs.
  • Here are the mentees, the companies they founded, and the talent problems they aim to address.

Entrepreneurs are still engaged in a talent war.

Small business owners still have to compete with larger corporations that can afford to offer sizable signing bonuses and lucrative benefits in order to attract and keep talent. Experts predict a recession is coming, which will make it even harder to find and keep employees.

In collaboration with Indeed, Insider developed a mentorship program to assist five entrepreneurs in navigating the difficult job market. To assist them in addressing particular talent issues, such as stepping up DEI efforts, scaling up hiring, and creating comprehensive benefits packages, we paired them with five experts.

The five mentees, their businesses, and the talent problems they seek to address through mentoring are listed below.

Aisha Taylor Issah

Courtesy of Aisha Tayler Issah

Name: Aisha Taylor Issah

Title: CEO and founder –  Sistahs in Business Expo

Business Description: A small-business expo and community designed for entrepreneurial women of color. Participants receive an affordable and accessible platform where women of color can showcase their products and services while gaining valuable resources and information. A community and small-business expo created specifically for successful women of color. Participants receive a platform that is both affordable and accessible where they can promote their goods and services while also learning useful resources and information.

Founded: 2017 

Size: 15 employees

Headquarters: Remote

Age: 40 

The issue to Solve: Issah is proactive in considering how she can develop a benefits package that benefits both her employees and her company. Offering benefits is a crucial component of luring and keeping talent, which is something she knows she wants to achieve in the upcoming years. Issah knows firsthand the value of such offerings because she had to pay for fertility treatments out-of-pocket because she lacked coverage.

Mentor: Leslie Neitzel, Carrot Fertility

Deidre Mathis

Deidre Mathis
Courtesy of Deidre Mathis

Name: Deidre Mathis

Title: Founder  

Business: Wanderstay Hospitality Group

Business Description: A hostel in Houston, Texas. More than 11,000 people from almost 29 different countries have stayed at Wanderstay so far. The second location of the company, a boutique hotel, should open in a few weeks.

Founded: 2018 

Size: 5 employees

Headquarters: Houston, Texas

Age: 36 

Talent issue to solve: Mathis wants advice on how to hire people as she grows her business. Mathis is getting ready to hire more people because they are opening a second location. The most important problem she wants to solve is how to hire more people for leadership roles.

Mentor: Donna Harris, Builders and Backers

Hans Schrei

Hans Shrei stands with his arms crossed in an industrial kitchen
Hans Shrei 

Name: Hans Schrei

Title: Cofounder  

Business: Wunderkeks

Business Description: Direct-to-consumer startup that makes and sells cookies.

Founded: 2019 

Size: 8 employees

Headquarters: Austin, Texas

Age: 36 

Talent issue to solve: As Wunderkeks works to grow, it needs to hire a CFO, a content manager, a sales manager, and a head of e-commerce. Schrei has learned that execution is everything in e-commerce, so his main goal when hiring is to find the right mix of technical skills and cultural fit. He said that Wunderkeks is more than just a cookie brand; he wants to make people feel safe enough to share their stories. He hopes that this mentoring will help him figure out how Wunderkeks can stay true to its mission while it is going through a crucial growth period.

Mentor: Judy Nam, Indeed

Rachel Schneider

Rachel Schneider

Name: Rachel Schneider

Title: Founder  

Business: Canary

Business Description: Canary works with businesses and organizations of all sizes to make sure that employees can get emergency cash when they need it. 

Founded: 2021 

Size: 8 full-time employees, one part-time worker, and several contractors. 

Headquarters: Remote

Age: 51 

Talent issue to solve: Schneider is concerned with what happens to employees after they are hired. She has a team with people from different backgrounds, but she wants to set up rules and ways to talk so that everyone feels included and can do their best work.

Mentor: Rhonda Moret, Elevated Diversity

Zhe Scott

Zhe Scott

Name: Zhe Scott

Title: Founder  

Business: The SEO Queen

Business Description: The goal of The SEO Queen is to help businesses get more customers and money without having to spend money on advertising. 

Founded: 2017 

Size: 6 full-time employees and one part-time worker

Headquarters: Long Beach, California

Age: 44 

Talent issue to solve: Scott wants to hire more people so she can give tasks to them and do less work herself. She is the person in charge of sales, customer service, and fulfillment right now. She wants to grow her business and reach certain milestones, but she knows that to do so, she needs to take off some of the many hats she’s wearing. 

Mentor: Bernard Coleman III, Gusto