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Horn Entrepreneurship

Aspire Interactive: A 360 Approach to Mentorship

AspireBlogIn a time where it can be easy to feel lost as a young business professional, UD alum Brad Bono’s Aspire Interactive shines as a mentorship-focused organization dedicated to guiding individuals through their lives and careers while facing the complexities of the digital age. Aspire Interactive is meant to be a beacon of wisdom and experience, designed to empower people in this rapidly evolving landscape. At the heart of Brad's approach is the profound significance of mentorship. Bono, a seasoned entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience starting and exiting businesses in the telecommunications industry, has seen the pitfalls and stressors of a professional life, and now wants to help the next generation tackle those challenges.

“I feel like this came out of me thinking, ‘boy I wish I had something like this’,” articulated Bono. “I wish I had somebody that could keep me on track and motivate me, give me the push on the back when I needed it, and help me have accountability to some degree.”

Brad's mentorship journey unfolds with a genuine concern for the obstacles faced by the younger generation.  Conceived amidst a break from his normal routine after moving on from one his former businesses, Bono inquired Horn Entrepreneurship Founding Director Dan Freeman about coming into the Venture Development Center to serve as a mentor for UD students with entrepreneurial pursuits. Sitting and guiding Horn students through their entrepreneurial problems every Friday in the VDC was an eye opening experience for him, awakening a deep desire to support young business professionals in their careers. 

“Really good entrepreneurs, they grow businesses and then they give back a ton. They want to see other people do it, to see other people have success. I'm entering that stage in my career now, where I no longer am so much the doer.” Bono continued, “I want to see the person that is where I was 30 years ago succeed, and share what knowledge I have or people that I know that can help because there were a whole lot of people that gave me a lot of breaks along the way.”

That desire to help people achieve goals for their careers led Bono to become more involved with Horn Entrepreneurship. Shortly after, he became a mentor for UD’s Blue Hen Proof of Concept (BPC) program, which helps research teams translate novel innovations into marketable products and viable ventures that will make a positive impact on the world. Additionally, Brad and his wife established the Brad & Jennifer Bono Award to recognize students who show entrepreneurial leadership and social impact through his/her work.

Now, Bono is making an impact through Aspire Interactive by giving young professionals that mentor to look out for their best interests and guide them. The business provides mentorship through Aspire Guides, who are day-to-day coaches that check in on a regular basis to keep you focused and measure your progress. As your goals and focuses change, Aspire Guides will bring in Aspire Legends, high-level mentors that will give you strategic advice and knowledge. Together, Aspire coaches help mentees set short, medium and long term goals, develop a plan to accomplish them, and hold you accountable until you complete those goals.

While financial success is acknowledged, Brad places equal importance on maintaining success in life outside of work. Success, in his view, extends beyond monetary gains, also encompassing happiness and social impact. Acknowledging that, Aspire Interactive strives to help people achieve their goals in each of their key principles: Health, relationships, purpose, time management, financial and achievement.

“I think there should be a 360 degree approach and that it's bigger than just how successful you are in one sliver of life,” shared Bono.

In a world characterized by ever-advancing technology, Brad Bono and Aspire Interactive offer more than guidance; they provide a compass for navigating the digital world we now live in. Brad's distinct perspective on the opportunities and challenges of the digital age is a wellspring of wisdom for all who engage with his mentorship platform. His journey underscores the enduring importance of mentorship in personal and professional growth, ensuring that individuals have the support they need to thrive in this digital epoch.

About Horn Entrepreneurship

 Horn Entrepreneurship serves as the creative engine for entrepreneurship education and advancement at the University of Delaware. Currently ranked among the best entrepreneurship programs in the US, Horn Entrepreneurship was built and is actively supported by successful entrepreneurs, empowering aspiring innovators as they pursue new ideas for a better world.

Topics: entrepreneurship, careers, alumni, leadership